Category Archives: toastmasters

Toastmasters

Good to be back in Toastmasters. For the table topics game, I asked
people to tell me what they liked the most about Toronto. Everyone had
fun talking about Toronto, and I added a few new items to my list of
things to do or see while I’m here. It turned out that one of the
guests was also new to the city. Great timing!

I’ve volunteered to do my eighth speech next week. I’ll be talking
about Secret Happiness. The eight speech project is about using visual
aids effectively, and I’m sure my wonderful socks will be an excellent
visual aid. ;) Secret Happiness!

We had an executive meeting, too. Must get the hang of organizing my
notes for the minutes. Will write up the minutes tomorrow and send it
to exec.

Oh! I did the secret geek handshake today. One of the guests mentioned
conferences – “cons”, in geek lingo. Gaming conferences, in
particular. First half of the geek handshake. I responded by telling
him that in terms of computer gaming, I’m weird – I’m into Nethack. If
you could’ve seen him just light up… Secret geek handshake indeed!

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Toastmasters

I gave speech #8 at our Toastmasters
meeting earlier. I talked about secret happiness: colored socks for
sunshine, dangling earrings for the laughter of seas, and a star for
love. =) Everyone loved the speech!

I’m doing “Evaluate to Motivate” next week. I have plenty of stories
to tell them about my family and my friends! =)

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Finished my tenth speech!

I’m now eligible for the Competent Toastmaster (CTM) award! Hooray,
hooray! My tenth speech was named “Cook or Die”, and I talked about
how cooking means happiness, comfort and love. =) It was good practice
for the upcoming club competition.

The club gave me a CTM pin and a very interesting book entitled “48
Laws of Power”. They also signed a card… Awww! =)

Happy, happy, joy, joy!

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Toastmasters

If I give the universe a chance, it does its best to be absolutely
wonderful. =)

I had misgivings about the Toastmasters speech
contest held Thursday, but when I gave myself permission to just go
ahead and do it, I had tons of fun. I gave a speech entitled “I Will
Learn How To Cook… Or Die Trying”. Frequent readers of my blog (none
of which were among the audience) would recognize some of the
misadventures I’ve had. =) I’ll post the MP3 one of these days. (I
really should start an infrequent little podcast…)

My contest performance was only the second time I’d run through that
particular version of the speech. Still, I had no problems connecting
to the audience, treating them as friends, and making them laugh. I
missed a few jokes I had wanted to make, but it flowed together well.
I’m still having problems ending on the strong note everyone expects,
probably because I pour a lot of energy into the beginning and middle
as well.

Even though I threw the revised speech together as hastily as a
stir-fry on a starving Saturday night, I won second place. =) The man
who won first was a really cool Toastmaster, and his speaking skills
are far beyond mine. Lots of things to learn!

Mrs. Castillo would be thrilled to hear that people liked my use of
props. I can think of no other cause for this but the drama in
education program we had in grade school. =) My father and my sister
must share the credit for anything I might know about humor and
storytelling. My mom’s encouraging note earlier this morning was the
source of my energy during the speech. And oh, so many people who keep
me going and make me laugh… If I spread sunshine in people’s lives,
it is because I get so much from others!

I need to work on speech organization a bit more, and endings are
still one of my weak points. I have plenty of things to learn, and I
love that. I don’t want to be a good speaker. I want to become a
brilliant speaker so that I can inspire people not only to adopt the
ideas I want them to consider but also to improve their own
communication skills. =)

Very good day.

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Random Japanese sentence: 彼女はその猫に牛乳をやった。 She fed milk to the cat.

Helping people find their voice

One of my friends scoffs at Toastmasters, but moments like this make
it definitely worthwhile.

Today one of the members brought his girlfriend to listen to his first
speech. The girl was painfully shy and clearly terrified of public
speaking, even during the Table Topics and guest comments section.

She approached me afterwards, though. And oh, the stories I could see
inside her… CN Tower Stair Climb T-shirt, colored bands around her
wrists: these are the marks of someone who cares deeply about some
things. I listened to her fears and shared my own experience learning
how to speak – at first starting out because I couldn’t stop talking
about technology and I wanted to get into conferences for free, and
then realizing how much fun it was to help people learn. I told her
that the real trick to speaking in front of an audience – or at least
in front of Toastmasters – is to speak to them one person at a time,
treating them as your friends.

Most of all, I looked into her eyes and told her in many different
ways that she had stories worth telling.

When I felt her tentatively reaching out, I closed the loop and we
hugged. The hug was one of the best I’ve ever had, and her thank you
one of the sweetest.

This is what I live for: that deep connection, that chance to help
people find their voice.

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Random Japanese sentence: 猫がソファーでねむっている。 The cat is sleeping on the sofa.

Toastmasters

We had another executive meeting for Toast I.T. Toastmasters. I’m really glad to have this opportunity to serve the club as the secretary / treasurer, and I’m starting to get the hang of things. I’m planning to run for either VP education or VP membership in the upcoming elections. I know the position of vice president of education involves a lot of work – keeping track of people’s progress, thinking of ways to help them improve their speaking skills – but that’s exactly the kind of coaching I want to do. =) The VP of membership, on the other hand, is in charge of keeping in touch with members old and new, and reaching out to guests too. Either will really help me grow! =)

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