an international organisation, teaching and promoting public speaking
skills to the general public, with clubs in most countries around
the world. And if it wasn’t for Toastmasters, I don’t
think I’d be travelling around the world today. It was my Toastmasters
training over 7 years which gave me the skills and confidence to write
my books and perform my speeches and my play all over the world.
So I decided to
visit several Toastmasters Clubs in Kitchener so I could see how they
operated, share my experiences and give a speech at each one. The
response to my offer was very encouraging, with 3 Toastmasters Clubs
agreeing to give me a Guest Speaker’s spot on their agenda.
Wray, Concordia TM Club President.
was the first club I visited. I’d met the Club President, Gordon
Wray, a few weeks earlier, and he seemed keen on the idea of having
me speak at his club. I was the last speaker for the night, and I
performed my Demosthenes monologue, from The Glory Of Athens. I chose
this part because it was probably the best ‘speech’ to
give to a Toastmasters club because Demosthenes was an ancient Greek
public speaker, so it was appropriate. And it was also very humorous,
usually being voted by my audiences as the play’s most popular
members loved it and seemed keen on having me visit again.
A couple of great
ideas I picked up from this meeting were:
Success Goals Chart – Clearly displayed on the wall at
the front of the meeting room was a chart listing all the goals
which the club was aiming to achieve for the year. And each goal
achieved had a coloured star placed beside it. So, at a glance,
all the members could see how the club was performing and maybe
get motivated to help the club achieve more of its goals.
Cards – Each member and guest had a large name card (made
from a full sized sheet of paper folded lengthways) placed on the
table in front of them. The members’ names had been printed
in large type by a computer, and the guests’ names were hand
written as they entered. As a guest, I found it very helpful to
address everyone by name, which created a much friendlier atmosphere.
Forms – Each member was given several Evaluation Forms
to write their own personal evaluations for the speeches given.
These were then given to the speakers at the end of the night for
added encouragement and support. I felt this was a great way to
get members to develop their evaluation skills and give speakers
After the meeting,
a few of us went for drinks at Eastside Mario’s American Italian
Restaurant. And, boy, what a mess! There were thousands of broken
peanut shells all over the floor. And soon I realized why. Along with
our drinks we were given a free bowl of shelled peanuts. And we did
what everyone else was doing. We broke the shells, ate the peanuts
and threw the peanut shells on the floor.
With the Grand
River TM Club President and my Bright Spark award.
My visit to Grand River Toastmasters
was equally enjoyable. I’d met Gary Jones at one of my LETS
presentations in January, so he was able to successfully introduce
me to his club. Again I gave my Demosthenes speech and again I noticed
the club had similar practices as Concordia TM.
But I also noticed
an improvement on one of Concordia TMs ideas.
Cards (improvement) – This club had names printed on both
sides of the card, so the people sitting in the same row could still
read the names on the reverse side. A very simple but clever addition.
But there were
no drinks afterwards, so it was a shorter night.
The last club I visited was KW Toastmasters.
I’d met Trish Robinson at the Concordia TM Club where she was
also a guest speaker. In fact, I was chosen to evaluate her speech
as well. So after seeing my Demosthenes speech, she was keen to have
me perform it at her club as well.
went very well yet again.
of us went to the Duke Of Wellington Irish Pub for drinks. This was
a much younger group of members, most of whom worked for RIM (Research
In Motion), which is where the club met. And they were a little crazy,
but in a fun way.
We ordered meals
with our drinks, and I soon found myself eating coloured tacos. This
was first time I’d seen red, blue, green and yellow tacos on
a plate. The guys had lots of questions to ask me about my play, The
Glory Of Athens. So when I mentioned that I’d designed a web
site for it at www.TheGloryOfAthens.com
Tom quickly got his Blackberry palm computer out and found it for
me on the internet, complete with photos. I was amazed! I’d
never seen anything like it. But that’s the business RIM is
in, and all of these guys were packing a Blackberry.
Mike had just
had a serving of chicken wings in suicide sauce. And when Tom asked
if it was too hot for him, Mike just said casually that it wasn’t
half as hot as he’d expected. Mike, seeing a fun opportunity
opening up, then challenged Mike to drink a shot of suicide sauce
for a toony, which is a slang term for a $2 coin (a loony is a $1
coin). Mike, feeling a little pressure, accepted the challenge. I
was surprised that the waitress accepted the ‘shot of suicide
sauce’ order, though I’m not sure she actually charged
Mike (or Tom) for it. But when the shot arrived, Mike just stared
at it apprehensively.
make it 2 toonies”, Tom said, slamming $4 on the table in front
of Mike, and hoping he wouldn’t back out.
And within seconds
Mike had sculled the red-hot suicide sauce, staring back at Tom as
if he hadn’t been affected at all. But as the night went on,
I noticed a glaze in Mike’s eyes and some regular sipping from
his glass of cold water. Yes, Mike was being cool about it, even though
he must’ve been boiling up inside.
article is taken from the ebook,
400-Day LETS Odyssey
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