MorningSTARS Shine at Public Event

Morningstars Toastmasters SEWN Business Fair 2016Contributed by Neil B.

Fellow Toastmasters, I would like to share with you a experience I had this past Saturday (Oct. 1, 2016). I attended the SEWN (Self-Employed Women’s Network) Business Fair held at the Seaside Center in Sechelt to show support for my fellow Toastmasters.

The event itself was well attended and our booth looked very professional. The acoustics of the room were not ideal for public speaking but our coastal Toastmasters rose to the challenge.

Members from two clubs took center stage at the event, and I was impressed with all of them, but of course focused on the two MorningSTARS as they shined in their public speaking glory.

Sheila C. spoke first in a kind of testimonial/workshop format that blew me away with its interactive nature. Up next was Weegee S., who stayed with the testimonial format that almost had us in tears with her personal story highlighting the reasons why anyone can benefit from Toastmasters, not just business owners.

SEWN Fall Business Fair Toastmasters for Business and LifeI really wish we could all have been there to see this performance. The effect of these two presentations was exactly what we need to bring in new members — and remember why we are Toastmasters.

I left the event inspired by these two women and proud to be associated with them.

Perhaps we can ask for a repeat performance.

Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Sheila C. for sharing her table at the event and organizing the presentation. Mad props to the Toastmasters who helped with brainstorming and solidifying our message. Thank you for our “test audience members” (Katherine S., Maureen M. and Michael S.). Special holler out to the presenters (Loreen D., Baile, Haida and Sheila C.) And much love to the Toastmasters who showed up to “support” or assist those of us at the SEWN Event, including: George, Johanna, Neil, Maureen, Paula. It takes a village.

Toastmasters: More Than Just Speeches

A guest at this week’s Toastmasters shared a revelation that coincided with this week’s theme of “Contrary to Popular Beliefs.” He admitted that he thought joining Toastmasters was going to be about him. About him making speeches. About him learning how to be a better communicator.

What he didn’t know was that Toastmasters is really about hearing other people’s stories. Connecting with others. It’s about . . . others.

When I used to dragon boat, there were three stages of paddler awareness. The first stage was beginner. This is the awkward stage where you are focused on what you are doing and whether you are doing it right. Your awareness was only for the bench you were on.

DragonBoats.JPGThe second stage of awareness developed over time. Eventually, the paddler realized that if they moved in sync with the bench in front of them and behind them, the paddles didn’t bang together as much. The awareness circle widens just a bit to the benches around them.

The third stage was when the paddler realized that their bench, their pod was part of the entire effort. All ten benches working together is what gives the boat lift and glides it through the water.

When we join Toastmasters, it is easy to see what it is we want to do. What we need help doing. Our focus is on our personal challenges or limits.

It’s only after a few meetings and a few experiences in the meeting roles that we start to realize how our presence helps to “lift” the meetings and “guide” others. It’s more than just our speeches — it’s listening, supporting and assisting others.

When we bring others into the mix, we care about the larger community. The boat. The club.

It is through the speeches, or stories we tell, that we are able to engage with the “boat.” People start to see the true person standing at the lectern. They see beyond our perceived short comings to the powerful person in each of us. Our teammate.

Contrary to popular belief, Toastmasters isn’t just about speeches. It’s about teamwork. It’s about others.

A few other highlights from this week’s meeting:

  • Sandy W. delivered a persuasive speech on the Power of Punishment and how poverty of spirit, hope and finances has impacted our prison system.
  • Michael W. shared his personal story of grief from the death of his dog with a beautiful poem. His realization that we never know what may happen was expressed in a self-composed song that he performed for us.
  • Ria Q. took center stage for her first role as Toastmaster. Hats off to a job well done.
  • Sheila C. offered us a laugh break with a joke she got from her children. It was her first time as Jokemaster and she knocked it out of the park like DiMaggio.

Note: Please sign up for roles for next week’s meeting. The theme is Say It With a Song!

Give the Best Speech YOU (and only YOU) Can Give

Seattle Seahawks defensive back Dion Bailey (37) looks up from the field with his helmet off during a preseason NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Friday, August 21, 2015 in Kansas City. The Chiefs won the game 14-13. (Paul Jasienski via AP)
(Paul Jasienski via AP, courtesy

This past weekend was the kickoff for the NFL season . . . and a dream come true for one undrafted player. His story offers a lesson to Toastmasters, seasoned and just starting.

Within the Seattle Seahawk’s organization there is a powerful group of defensive players nicknamed the LEGION OF BOOM. The current LOB (as they are lovingly called) members are cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Cary Williams and safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas III.

However, a week before their first game, safety Kam Chancellor failed to report in due to a hold out over contract negotiations.

“He’s not here right now, so he’s not playing,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said when asked about Chancellor, according to an article on “That’s it.”

And that is when the stars aligned for one lucky former USC student.

Safety Dion Bailey went undrafted in 2014 (wasn’t selected by one of the teams during the big draft event) and spent most of last season filling out the Seattle practice squad. Now, his NFL debut is to replace one of the top, if not the best, safeties in the league.

No pressure.

Nerves? First game jitters? Worried about filling another person’s shoes? The positive young athlete spoke volumes about his mindset going into the game with this one comment:

“For the first time in my life going into a big game, I don’t feel any pressure,” he said. “I’m not here to fill Kam’s shoes, I’m here to be the best Dion Bailey I can, and the best Dion Bailey has done me well so far for the first 23 years of my life, so I like my chances on Sunday.” (Courtesy:

We’ve all been in a position where we are trying to fill someone’s position, shoes. Where we feel, in the least, we need to match their strengths, at the expense of overlooking what we do best.

When others deliver their speech at a Toastmasters meeting, it is easy for us to wonder how we can be polished, enunciate or create emotion like the person at the lectern. How we can adapt our style to take on the strengths of another.

The takeaway lesson here is that no matter which speech you are on or what manual you have reached, the goal is for you to be the best YOU can be. Give the speech you were meant to give. Utilize your unique talents, delivery, style to be the best YOU that you can be.

Sure, look for ways to develop your ability . . . but don’t overlook what you do best. Your strengths.

Your authentic voice will speak volumes to the audience.


— Contributed by Weegee Sachtjen

Resources & Courtesies:

Toastmasters: Much More Than Just Public Speaking

“I have a friend who did Toastmasters.”

“I was once a member years ago.”

“Well, I don’t do a whole lot of public speaking.”

A lot of people think they know Toastmasters. The non-profit has been around for decades and is known for its longtime mission to help members step up and become a bit more proficient (and a bit less panicky) when it comes to public speaking. But there is more to the organization than boosting one’s confidence in speakingPublic Speaking Leadership Skills Toastmasters BC. In fact, it has expanded its training materials to include leadership skills.

It’s these one-on-one skills that has companies and managers wanting their employees to sign up for Toastmasters . . . and why those who are a member may have a leg up on their career, according to a recent FORTUNE article.

So, why does Toastmasters and workplace leadership go hand in hand. Like companies, Toastmasters offers a place for members to fine tune their speaking skills while helping others by lending their expertise. If you think of the qualities that make a great leader, like supportive environment, teamwork, goals, motivation and contributions, Toastmasters has that and so much more.

To read the article in full, please visit