Toastmasters

A green thought bubbleToday I went to Club #521’s meeting. I was scheduled to speak but didn’t realize it. They had plenty of things for people to do so it was ok. The vice president education emailed me and encouraged me to come even if I didn’t have a speech.

One of the long time members is leaving to N. California on a mission trip for two years. We’re going to miss him. I believe he belongs to several Fort Wayne clubs.

In a few weeks my club is going to celebrate it’s 70th anniversary. We’re having a dinner to celebrate. I haven’t found anyone to join me at the celebration.

I was on speech team in high school, so toastmaster’s not really much of a stretch for me…. as far as the part about getting in front of a group of people. Doing ok with vocal variety and my level of voice are big challenges for me. I’ve very soft spoken and quiet.

I also struggle with getting presentations done in time to adequately practice them. I wait until the last moment usually.

I turned in my Competent Communicator manual today so I’ll get my first CC award. Last time I was there I didn’t realize that I’d been a member for two years. I’m going to get the two advanced manuals Speaking to Inform and Technical Presentations.

Go to http://www.toastmasters.org to find a club in your area to join!

Toastmasters International Speech Contest

I went to the Fort Wayne Toastmasters International Speech contest today. It was nice. I met a bunch of new people and also saw a bunch of people from my home club.

There weren’t a lot of contestants, but they were all really interesting.

A friend came with me. Maybe he’ll join soon? He had to leave early.

I was a little off-put at the beginning because it seemed like everyone else was wearing a suit and I just had dark pants and a tan shirt. Next time I’ll dress up more. After I was there for a little while I saw that not all of the men were in suits so I felt a little better after that.

April 16 is the next level of the contest. I hope to be there as well. I might even be able to be a judge….

My next speech is the 24th. I’m probably going to share something about Tao Te Ching, the Quran, the Baha’i Writings or other sacred writings. My club tends to be pretty Christian-oriented, so it’ll be nice to give a different perspective. The club is Anthony Wayne Toastmasters #521 if you want to come visit.

I lose an hour tonight, so I’m going to bed early. I’ve got all of my clocks adjusted. (The phone and computers will take care of themselves.)

The Baha’is talk about a process of the old order being torn down and a new one built up to take its place. Hopefully we don’t have to burn to the ground before we can start rebuilding. I’d rather be part of a spring hyacinth than part of a phoenix.

Meet up at Toastmasters

I recently joined meetup.com I found out about a drop-in every Thursday at TekVenture http://tekventure.org in Fort Wayne. When I was at tekventure there were a couple of other people who found out about the drop-in the same way. I went once, but it conflicts with Toastmasters so I won’t go much. However, I got an event schedule at TekVenture and found there’s a workshop tomorrow morning that I’m going to.

Our district of Toastmasters has a meetup.com group also. I get notified of all of the different Toastmaster group meetings that are coming up. I’m looking forward to going to some other groups in the area this coming week.

The club that I belong to, Anthony Wayne Toastmasters, was chartered in 1947. I was toastmaster last night and introduced the speakers, general evaluator and the topic master. (The general evaluator organizes the feedback parts of the meeting. The topic master has impromptu topics to ask so that everyone gets a chance to participate.) The group is really supportive and wants me to succeed (like everyone else).

Last week I gave a speech about Open Source Hardware. It was lots of fun. The PowerPoint came out well. I had fun using gimp to put together the images.

Toastmasters

I’ve been looking for a new social group to belong to. I’ve thought of writing clubs and chess clubs but I haven’t got very far beyond that. I found some writing clubs in Auburn, but they meet on Tuesdays and I’d rather go to an event in Fort Wayne Tuesday evenings.

A friend suggested looking into toastmasters. I had heard of them several years ago, but never went searching for a group.

After the second prompting, I went online and learned a little bit about it. There’s a group that meets Thursdays in Fort Wayne that fits with my schedule really well. They practice public speaking and leadership skills.

The meeting was fun. People were a little bit more formal than I’m used to, but after a little bit it didn’t seem out of place.

We had three people speak as well as some table topics where people give impromptu one minute speeches. The person giving the topics asked if I wanted to answer a question which I did.

The topic I chose was about vanity and how often does one look at oneself in the mirror. I said that that has been a problem because sometimes I leave the house not composed well. I don’t look in the mirror as much as I should have. A couple of times that’s been embarrassing for example, by buttoning my shirt wrong for example. I then did a little non-sequitur and talked about how I look in the mirror a lot when I’m driving.

The one comment the evaluator made was that I said “um” a few times. I asked how to improve that and they suggested to just pause when I don’t know what to say. That sounds like something I can practice.

The toastmaster that evening was dressed really sharply in a white suit and black tie. He was really funny. One topic he shared through the evening was trivia about the movie Casablanca. Since I hadn’t watched it before, his suggestion was to rent it, so I’ve got it by my DVD player waiting to watch.

I’m planning to go back next week and bring an application form. Since they meet every week, I’ll be able to add it to my routine and learn some new skills.