The Details of Life and District Conference Recap

Written by Sheila C

The Details of Life was the theme for today.

We had two fantastic speeches today. Patricia (who achieved DTM last year) gave us an experienced Icebreaker with an organized, entertaining speech that included visual aids. Sharon gave us a look at an important historical figure as she completed her 10th speech in her Competent Communicator manual. Way to go, Sharon!

Table Topics provided us a unique view into Cathie’s fridge, the sound surrounding Katherine, how Judy packs to ride the ferry, and the details that fill Loretta’s morning routine.

I found myself completely absorbed with the minutiae of the meeting in my role as General Evaluator. Time passed quickly and I was thrilled to check another box in my Competent Leadership manual.

Putting myself out there and trying (scary and layered as it may be) is making a difference. I encourage everyone to sign up for new roles. Some are easier than others and some are harder than they appear. I appreciate the balance of skills that Toastmasters offers us in our steps toward growth.

And now, here’s a re-cap of the recent District 96 Conference:

District 96 Fall/2014 Conference

I was fortunate to represent Morningstars at the District conference in Port Moody on October 24 and 25. This was the first ever conference for this brand new district, since all of British Columbia Toastmasters clubs (formerly District 21) have now been split into two districts (21 and 96).

I attended nearly all of the events–keynote speakers, educational sessions, business meeting, awards ceremony, contests, and meals. Here are some notes that might be beneficial to my fellow Toastmasters and anyone interested in Toastmasters.

Keynote from Angus Reid, Football Player

Have a dream, build your team, then make it happen. Sounds easy, right? What if you’re too short, don’t have the wingspan, and your health knocks you down? Have a dream (the dream is everything, and goals are not dreams), build your team (your support network, the people who know your dream and support it), and make it happen (find out what you need to do and do it, set goals and accomplish them).

From Ryan Avery, 2012 World Champion Public Speaker

Recommended reading: Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln, by James Humes.

  1. Remove the words “just” and “only” from your speaking vocabulary.
  2. Enter with energy.
  3. Exit with energy, power, strength.
  4. You are judged by how you enter, and remembered for how you leave.
  5. Laughing builds likability.
  6. Sharing your failures builds relate-ability.
  7. Acronym for a good speech. S.M.I.L.E. Simple story, Mistake made, Imitate, Laugh, Energy
  8. Stop multi-tasking. Focus.
  9. Pick the “right” team, don’t just fill the position. (I might never forget the funny story that went with this. You can ask me about it in person.)
  10. The only competition is yourself. Now raise your right hand as high as you can in the air. Ok? Now raise it two more inches. Everyone’s potential is enormous. Are you reaching yours?

From Marti MacEwan: The Stage Fright Cure and the Rapid Relief Process,

Stagefright is a perceived threat.

1. Get objective. Tune in. Observe self and situations (present and past/childhood).

2. Create safety. Practise, practise, practise. Wear comfortable clothing. Try out the stage ahead of time. Breathe from diaphragm. Swing your arms around to bring blood back to extremities.

3. Use Rapid Relief Process (contact Marti for how to do that–she did give examples but too many to describe here) to clear the negativity that is creating the illusion of fear, and to charge up the positive emotions.

From Dai Manuel: Fitness Town

Dai is a healthy fit guy who was an obese child. He is now promoting healthy habits in the workplace and developing strategies for getting active. Informative and interesting.

Other News for District 96

The Yukon Territories will be joining District 96. There are two clubs in Whitehorse. It is being considered for them to join an “Area” in the city of Vancouver to make travel/flights more feasible.

The next District 96 conference is in early May, 2015 in Prince George, BC. Gene Vickers, District Governor, is arranging a Party Bus to get members to and from the event. The fall/2015 conference location will be voted on at the spring conference (Sunshine Coast, anyone?). The spring, 2016 conference will be in Burnaby, BC.

Theme, Tone and Inspiration: Made Alive

Made Alive was the theme.

Laughter and fun was the tone.

Growing and risking was the inspiration. Thanks, Larry.

Our last minute chair, Sandy, didn’t look at all unprepared as she stepped in to replace the designated chair who was  called away at the last minute. She handled last minute changes in the agenda with humour and grace and carried on like a pro.

Sheila did a repeat of her Tall Tale in preparation for the Division contest this Sat. Well done, Sheila.

Frank, who recently became a Distinguished Toastmaster, began the whole cycle over again by doing his Icebreaker speech, the very first speech that all of us give when we join.

Three of our guests from last week returned and are taking the plunge into the world of Toastmasters. Welcome to the fun, Jolanda, Loretta and Judy Lynn.

Our General Evaluator, PJ, stepped back and observed the overall meeting with a ‘soft focus’ and gave us a really unusual and insightful perspective, including thoughts on the significance of the club banners and how people shake hands when coming to the lectern.

So many of the things we do in a meeting are only noticeable when they don’t happen. Otherwise, it’s just a beautiful flow of passing the ‘authority’ to each individual as they stand or come to the front for their speech or role. That is such an essential part of Toastmasters. Great observations PJ.

For anyone wanting some more inspiration for ‘growing and risking’, here are some quick videos from former World Champion, Darren La Croix.

1) Storytelling: What is an “inciting incident” and why do speakers need one? (3:55 min)

2) What is the difference between gestures and body language? (3:36 min)

All A-Buzz

After all the excitement recently with the club and area contests, today’s meeting was back to the usual routine.

bricolageWell maybe not routine because….

Johanna, our Toastmaster, got the fun started with her high energy, jokes, and her spring colours.

Judyth and Doug were sworn in as new members. 

Judyth gave her Icebreaker speech, the first project in the Competent Communication manual. She painted beautiful pictures with her words and we could all see them! She also received a pin honouring the occasion.

And speaking of  pins, Katherine received two pins for completing her Competent Communication and Competent Leadership Manuals.

Erica had us laughing with her speech on Why the English Language is Inadequate. We learned about words like bricolage and schadenfreude. Entertaining and informative and she sure made a point. Hands up those who think Erica should enter the Humorous Speech Competition?

Morningstars now has a new state-of-the-art timing device which has been dubbed Ethel by Bill, our club pres. Welcome to Morningstars, Ethel!

Frank, our jokemaster, elevated the lowly pun to new heights with his routine about the Tesco horse meat story….
I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.
Anyone want a hamburger? Say yay or neigh.
I had some hamburger from Tesco and still have a bit in my mouth.
A woman was taking to the hospital after eating hamburger. Her condition is stable.

Alan inspired us to toast to the title of Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken. Which kind of reminds me of a Yogi Berra joke…when you come to a fork in the road, take it!

And Katherine, our grammarian of the day, explained her role with a poem:

I’m the grammarian, a sort of librarian. 
My job is to listen for language that glistens.
I’d like words that have power for the next hour.
I catalogue phrases, anything that amazes.
I choose a word of the day for people to say. 
Whenever they speak, the word I will seek.
The unusual alerts me, never disconcerts me.
And you’ll hear from me again, just before meeting’s end.

So yes, just another routine meeting at Morningstars Toastmasters Club!

One final note: several members of our club will be travelling to North Vancouver this Sat for the Division International Speech and Evaluation Competitions. Should be fun.