Morningstar Moments: Leveling Up Communication Skills in the Checkout Lane

Toastmasters Level Up Communication Skills Morningstars

For some, it is nailing the number 10 speech from the Competant Communicator. For others, it is taking the stage at the World Championship of Pubic Speaking. And many are just looking to further their day to day communication skills for workplace advancement.

When I first joined Morningstars Toastmasters, the VP of Membership asked me why I was joining. I didn’t have lofty aspirations. I didn’t see myself taking part in contests or holding workshops.

My goal or Toastmaster “why” was a simple one — connect with people.

Continue reading “Morningstar Moments: Leveling Up Communication Skills in the Checkout Lane”

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Get Social This Summer: Blogs, Facebook & Beyond

Get Social with Morningstars Toastmasters BCWritten by Weegee S.

“Keys? Check. Wallet? Accounted for. Sunglasses? On my face.” Well, something is missing this fine Wednesday morning . . . .

Is any one else out there going through Morningstar Toastmaster withdrawals? I know. I’ve only been a Morningstar for a few months, but the first skipped Wednesday threw mid-week a bit off balance. Where’s my TableTopics? What about the word of the day? Am I over my time limit?

While it may not be the same as listening to speeches while sipping coffee, I do have something to help bridge the connection gap between meetings: Toastmasters is getting social!

For those of you with Facebook and Twitter accounts, feel free to post, share or tweet to your hearts content. If you don’t have an account, you can still reap the benefits by visiting the pages, clicking on the links of shared content.

Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/MorningstarsToastmastersBC

Twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/MorningstarsTM

Want to help admin one of the social pages? Let me know! The more the merrier!

Get Your Morningstars Toastmasters FixPICTURES
Pictures are worth a thousand and three words. As we launch our new social media campaign and continue our blogging efforts, we are going to try and convey how much fun Toastmasters really is via images. If you are a bit camera shy or don’t want your mug posted on the blog or one of the social media channels, shoot me an email (weegoki@gmail.com).

But that doesn’t mean I will just post your likeness willy nilly. If I use a photo of you, not in a crowd, I will specifically email/call/connect/ with you prior to hitting “post.”

Thank you! Have a great week . . . . and see you next week at 7am for the Wildrose Poetry Society , graciously hosted by Patricia.

Forward Motion

Written by Shannon, one of our newest members.

April 29 was yet another example of how “forward moving” this club is! I’ve only just joined and I feel its energy every meeting “propelling” (word of the day) our group members along with our individual goals.

Patricia as Grammarian encouraged us this week to pick words that are “alive and give us energy”, and I’d say this club lives by that ideal! Guests again this week, and next week is our open house. We are going to need a bigger room soon.

Lots of “1st timers” took on roles…Margo as Quizmaster and Ria as Timer. (…and yes, I’ve survived my 4 minute table topics ramble awaiting the red light!)   Next week is my own “1st time timer” and I will find out for myself how hard this role can be. Everyone keeps saying it requires extra focus… so forging on with courage.

William’s inspiration fit our club particularly well with this flavour of both very new and very long standing members, encouraging us to “look for someone to inspire us to positive progress” as we move forward towards our dreams and passions.

Sheila’s speech, her final one for reaching her Competent Communicator goal, took this message further as she moved us through a compelling journey of finding connection by reaching out to others with our deepest values. Johanna’s evaluation called it a “full circle journey” for us all.

Cathie’s “Supermarket Slimming by Design” was an intriguing speech title that sat us right up with a fresh start. As Kay’s evaluation referenced, it really “kicked up the game” for all of us.

Larry’s joke about Dr Young and Dr Geezer produced some hearty chuckles throughout the telling.

Patricia and Kate wrapped up our morning with the Grammarian’s and General Evaluator’s reports. They gave us all final encouragement and sent us out to the day with fresh awareness of how planting specific words into our speeches (and I’d add our lives) can push our messages and intentions. Both their evaluations pushed us further into the words of our speakers this morning and we all went out with the “forward motion” of this club “propelling” us into our day.

Have You Ever Been Misunderstood?

“Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” goes the 60’s song by the Animals.  Our theme for the day Have You Ever Been Misunderstood was very similar.

Who hasn’t been misunderstood? Today stories emerged. Smiles and nods of recognition followed.

One of the pillars of Toastmasters is to strengthen our messages and be understood by others. Well, let’s take understanding on as a theme then!

Structuring our speeches with a strong opening, interesting content to support our topic, and a powerful closing is a way to present our thoughts logically, yes. But more than that, it creates an emotional connection with the listener who really wants to understand us.

Greater clarity in our message is achieved through supporting evidence in the body of our speech. Examples, short stories, and statistics can be used to illustrate our point of view and ‘grab the ears’ of the audience. Who could not relate to ‘madness is the fuel for our brilliance’? Or the phrases ‘whispering hands’ or ‘verbal tap dancing’?

And who jumped out of their seat at the beginning of Sandy’s speech when a long silence was followed by SQUAAAAAWK, an imitation of a steller jay? The sound effects and choice of words along with a well paced speech flow had us mesmerized by her story.

As Table Topics Evaluator this morning, William used a familiar metaphor – “wrapping up our speeches with a bow”, referring to the skill of bringing your audience full circle by using your conclusion to remind them of your opening statement. This provides a gift wrapped in a bow for the audience  to understand.

Strengthening the delivery of our messages strengthens the message itself. Asking ourselves if we were understood after a speech or role motivates us to be intentional with our preparation.

And so we continue our Toastmasters journey.

Noteworthy:

Special breakfast meeting May 6, Harmony Hall, 7 am.
Everyone welcome, and bring a friend.

Piercing the Darkness

Written by Johanna R, VP of PR

beam of lightMorningstars Toastmaster’s Club ”elucidates” (word of the day) two ideals of Toastmasters – mentorship and learning together.

This week we heard speeches from our youngest member, and our oldest member, an illustration that learning never ends.

Liam, a recent new member, gave his Icebreaker speech with eloquence and engaged with his audience…us. He reminded us that activities are aplenty on the Coast, and that people’s participation gives us our sense of community.

Larry gave his advanced promotional speech to us informing us about the Gibson’s Legion and its outreach into the community. Larry’s speech called us to action so we’re going to meet up at the Gibsons Legion Friday Mar. 6th for a Club dinner. An evening meeting of minds for food and fun.

Well…hmmmm….so..uh..and so forth! We all still need to work on removing these filler words that we all use to fill the silence while we’re thinking. According to Frank, our Grammarian, it’s apparently better if all your sentences start with one of them rather than having them sneak up mid thought. Many thanks to Frank for pointing this out today. However, we all strive to remove them completely.

Evaluation is a form of mentorship, and is one of the backbones of Toastmasters. You will never find people who are kinder in their evaluations of each other; kind and constructive. What do we look for?

  • We look for speeches to have a point.
  • We look for supportive, descriptive, colourful language to make our point clear.
  • We look for a clear beginning and an effective ending.
  • We look for something memorable.

A tall order? Yes! Preparation becomes imperative as we craft and practise our ideas. We “pierce the darkness” and bring the light of insight, as our theme and Toastmaster Chair, Sandy, reinforced.

Even when telling a joke or responding to a table topic subject, the structure and word choices used are important to us. Greg delivered a fabulous joke playing with the word, “commontater” It was about a conversation among potatoes.

In Table Topics, Kay told a story about getting lost in Hawaii. Alicia about relating her experience to a historical event. Jolanda shed light (elucidated) on how what we focus on becomes what we perceive as important in the moment.

Noteworthy:

Morningstars Toastmasters has been asked to do a presentation skills workshop for the Gibsons Chamber of Commerce. Find out more here.

In addition, several members of Morningstars will be taking turns writing a monthly column on Communication for The Local Weekly. The first article appeared in the Feb 26th, 2015 issue. Watch for more articles in future issues.

Capture the Wind

Written by William, member of Morningstars and current Area 73 Governor.

The theme for the day was “Capture the Wind” and the meeting was ably chaired by Cathie, our Toastmaster for the day.

Word of the Day: Evocative

I always feel welcome walking into the Toastmasters meeting as our Sgt. At Arms, John greets me, shaking my hand and smiling.

Our new member, Judy Lynn carried out the Timer role for first time and while she said she felt challenged, she did an excellent job for her first role, ably assisted by her mentor Sandy.

We had a guest, Bonnie, who was invited by Johanna.

The Inspiration was given by Sheila, who quoted Mark Twain “It takes me a about 3 weeks to prepare an impromptu speech”.   Also, “20 years from now you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the things you did. Cast off the bowlines.” Sheila’s toast was “to our next 20 years”.

There were 3 speeches.

Johanna presented a speech from the Storytelling Advanced Manual and told a story about a trip she took to Murdochville, Quebec.  She demonstrated great facial expressions and vocal variety and inserted wonderful humour. She easily transported us into her story and put us in her pocket for the journey.

The 2nd speaker was Frank who spoke of our creative drives. It was his no. 2 speech in the Competent Communicator manual. Frank is colour blind and took up painting as a hobby, much inspired by an art teacher when he was young. He took us through the journey of his art education and what he terms “his scribbling”.

The 3rd Speaker was Sharon who presented a project from the Successful Club Series and provided insight into the DCP, the Distinguished Club Program. She explained the 10 areas of the program and presented it in a very expressive and enthusiastic style, finishing up with a challenge to the members “what part are YOU going to play in this program”? She emphasized that the program is very much a team effort that takes place each toastmaster year from July 1st to June 30th.

Excellent evaluations were given from Toastmasters Kate, Ben and William.

Kay provided the meeting with a joke that made the meeting erupt in laughter. She and Larry are vying for the title of “best joke teller” in the club.

Larry as General Evaluator provided feedback on the full meeting and provided his unique insights into the meeting and the roles with his usual good humour.

There was a lot of enthusiasm and “good cheer” in the meeting with a continuing sense of fun.   Another great Morningstars meeting.

What a great way to start the day.

Dec 10 we are having a special open house… with treats! All are welcome.

The Power of Letting Go

Darren LaCroix is a World Champion Toastmaster. In a recently article he describes what it takes to be a champ, and it might not be what you think. (Watch a clip from this years winner, Dananjaya Hettiarachchi)

Wisdom from the New Champ
By Darren LaCroix

This weekend, while playing disc golf with Steve Pavlina, author of Self Development for Smart People, we started talking about the longevity of our speaking careers. He said that when he started, he treated speaking as a presentation or a performance, which put up a wall between himself and the audience. He often felt that he had to impress them, to build rapport, and to win them over. At that time, Steve said, he focused on content and delivery, his primary tools for engaging with a room full of strangers. Great insight.

In contrast, Steve noted, “These days, I regard speaking as a conversation. Now my focus is on the audience. I treat them as my best friends, so there’s never any ice to break.”

Read more….

It’s All Relative

Written by Katherine Scott

It’s All Relative was our theme of the day. When we compare ourselves to ourselves, we notice how we are growing. What seemed impossible at one point in our lives becomes possible as we become more and more self empowered. It’s all relative!

Natty was the word of the day. Do you know what it means? Sharp and chic! Elegant and stylish! Dressed to the nines! Like (some) Morningstars members.

Speeches were the order of the day and we had three. One on the five elements of Reiki, one on appreciating the small things in life, and one on non-violent communication. Three speeches meant no table topics. Ah, next time.

Fun was, as usual, the tone of the day. It wouldn’t be a Morningstars meeting without lots of fun and laughter.

Timing was the challenge of the day. Too much, too little, or just right? Though we had all of those, we began and ended the meeting right on schedule.

Learning was the mood of the day, for today’s meeting and every meeting. It wouldn’t be Toastmasters without it.

Evaluation will be the theme of the day for next week’s meeting as we have an evaluation workshop presented by Patricia Hetherington, Distinguished Toastmaster. See  you then.

It's All Relative

Written by Katherine Scott

It’s All Relative was our theme of the day. When we compare ourselves to ourselves, we notice how we are growing. What seemed impossible at one point in our lives becomes possible as we become more and more self empowered. It’s all relative!

Natty was the word of the day. Do you know what it means? Sharp and chic! Elegant and stylish! Dressed to the nines! Like (some) Morningstars members.

Speeches were the order of the day and we had three. One on the five elements of Reiki, one on appreciating the small things in life, and one on non-violent communication. Three speeches meant no table topics. Ah, next time.

Fun was, as usual, the tone of the day. It wouldn’t be a Morningstars meeting without lots of fun and laughter.

Timing was the challenge of the day. Too much, too little, or just right? Though we had all of those, we began and ended the meeting right on schedule.

Learning was the mood of the day, for today’s meeting and every meeting. It wouldn’t be Toastmasters without it.

Evaluation will be the theme of the day for next week’s meeting as we have an evaluation workshop presented by Patricia Hetherington, Distinguished Toastmaster. See  you then.

International Speech Contest

Written by Bill Baker, President

On April 3rd we had the International Speech Contest and wow, was it amazing. We had a lineup of great contestants and engaging topics.

In order to enter the contest the participants must have completed at least 6 formal speeches from the Communications and Leadership Manual – the basic manual that all Toastmasters begin with. We had a lively group of speakers and some wonderful topics. Our members still have the ability to surprise us with their wonderful stories.

The judges, once again, had a challenging job of selecting the winning speeches and we finally got the results.  The winners were:

1st Place: Katherine Scott
2nd Place: PJ Reece
3rd Place: Greg Lewis

Morningstars has an excellent group of Toastmasters going on to the Area Contest which is being held at Harmony Hall on Saturday April 13th at 2 pm. Winners from both the Evaluation Contest and the Speech Contest will be participating.

Drop in and see some of the best speakers on the Sunshine Coast compete for the honour of representing our Area at the Division Contest on April 20 in Vancouver.

Bill Baker, President