Why be in Toastmasters? (Profile Post #1)

This is the first in a series of River Speakers Profile Posts answering the question, “Can you name two skills that Toastmasters helped you enhance, discover, or strengthen — and how that helped you in your professional life?” We’re starting with Toastmaster Robin O’Neill ACB CL: 

What did you say? Toastmasters has helped me fine-tune my listening skills to hear the words, the energy, and the intent behind someone’s message. My ability to be present,  look for the nuances in what people say, restate what I have heard, and communicate back that message has improved my leadership and communication skills.

Can I give you some feedback? Toastmasters has improved my ability to give positive, constructive, and concise feedback/evaluations. This is a very valuable skill professionally and personally. We’ve had to answer the question, “What do you think?” — Toastmaster’s teaches specific feedback techniques that give value to both the evaluator and the speaker in a non-threatening and positive way.

What is TLI?

Twice a year you’ll hear your Presiding Officer talk about how “TLI is coming up!” What is TLI and why should you be interested?

“TLI” stands for Toastmasters Leadership Institute and it’s a half-day workshop with your peers in the area. Or “division” — to be more precise. With us, that’s the greater Treasure Valley and all the way over to Ontario — about 25 clubs in all.

Sessions include training for officers — but always also include an invigorating keynote speech as well as break-out sessions on relevant topics that will help grow your understanding and experience as a Toastmaster — a communicator and leader.

It’s also a wonderful opportunity to get “out of the rut” and meet Toastmasters from other clubs and learn how they approach the goals we’re all working towards.

Consider signing up. It’s free, and it’s just 4 hours on a Saturday. This time it’ll be held just down the road at Albertsons Corporate offices, 250 E. Park Blvd. here in Boise.

See you there!

Free snacks, great line-up: it’s OPEN HOUSE

Thursday, Nov. 10, is an OPEN HOUSE meeting. This is a great chance:

  • to see what’s available for you in Toastmasters (if you’ve not ever visited)
  • to invite friends and colleagues (if you’re a member)

Take this opportunity to be our guests. We promise you’ll feel welcome, and we hope you’ll find that River Speakers Toastmasters Club is a great environment in which to grow. You’ll surprise yourself!

Here’s the event on Facebook.

NOTE: We’re not meeting at our usual spot. Instead, within Washington Group Plaza, go to the east end (Plaza IV) and the conference room at the very end. (Signs will be posted.) Contact us if you have questions.

Ah-Grammarian Monster!

One of many things that we work on together at our River Speakers Toastmasters meetings is noticing our choice of words — both good choices (rich, image-evoking words) and “filler” words.

“Filler” words are words or sounds we’ve gotten in the habit of using to fill space while we’re trying to think of what to say next. We don’t need them. We learn that it’s good to have the “effective pause” and that by being more confident, and by being more aware of our speech (which we gain through peer evaluation time), we communicate better and with more authority.

Recently, one of our members, past board member Leah Parsons, presented our club with this wonderful “Ah-Grammarian Monster”. (The Ah-Grammarian is the meeting evaluator who helps us by noting the use of both rich words and filler words.)


Contests: from club to district … and beyond!

Twice each year Toastmasters clubs conduct contests — giving members a chance to stretch their skills, either as contestants or in a supporting role. 

On August 25 we congratulated Cathy V. for winning first place in our River Speakers Club Table Topics contest for fall 2016. ** hurray!! confetti!! **

But did you know that’s just the start? All Toastmasters clubs are participating and this culminates in a final contest with winners from all regions around the world

Back here in Idaho, we have the opportunity to provide support by attending or filling a role in our local contests. See if you can attend:

Area A3/A5 Speech Contests – Thurs., Sept. 15 (6:30 p.m.)*
Foothills Christian Church, 9655 W. State St., Garden City ID

Division A Speech Contest – Sat., Oct. 8 (9:30 a.m.)*
Boise Bible College, 8695 W. Marigold St., Boise ID

District 15 Speech Contests – Sat., Oct 22
On the last day of the District 15 Conference

*Contestants should arrive at least half an hour early for briefing.

We’re celebrating our 1st anniversary!

Please join us for a regular meeting PLUS a pot luck variety of snacks (canapés, banana bread, deserts, and more).

That’s THIS THURSDAY — AUGUST 11, 2016 at noon. Directions are here or contact us if you have any questions.

Take this opportunity to learn what goes on it a Toastmasters meeting. It’s all about learning and becoming more adept as a business professional — and it helps grow our own personal skills as well.

We hope you stop by! And follow us on Facebook!

FREE Ice Cream!

What’s rich and rewarding and sweet? You might be thinking “ice cream”, but actually — I was thinking of a River Speakers Toastmasters Club meeting.

We meet weekly at noon on Thursdays to support each other and practice practice practice those skills we’re learning so that we can be more effective communicators and leaders. It fills you up like a cold creamy dish of ice cream on a hot day.

The weather’s been a bit off-the-mark lately, but that doesn’t lessen the appeal of our JULY BRING-A-GUEST promotion. As this flier will inform you, there are multiple opportunities to win a $10 gift card to Cold Stone Creamery (truly the creme d’la creme).

  • For every member who brings a guest (who then joins), you and your guest receive entries into our drawing. We’ll choose the winner the first meeting in August.

Have any questions? Contact Sherry, our VP of Education.

President’s Distinguished Club: River Speakers

This Thursday, June 23, 2016, River Speakers Toastmasters Club will be having our usual meeting. But instead of a second speaker, we’ll be celebrating a rare achievement with our Area A3 Director, our A3 Assistant Director, and the District 15 Club Growth Director.

You River Speakers members have something to be proud of. Because of your dedication and interest in growing your own skills and supporting your fellow members in a positive way to become more empowered — by doing those things mentioned on our Values page — our club has earned a “President’s Distinguished Club” award: a very unusual thing for a club that chartered just this fiscal year (Aug. 11, 2015).

This is a trend we want to continue, of course. Toastmasters is a wonderful organization in that every member knows that we’re all continually learning and we never stop; there are always new mountains to climb! Thank you to each and every member of our club; you strengthen and enrich River Speakers  with your unique perspectives, gifts, and insights.

If you’d like, we’d love to hear from you. Comments are open on this post (though they will be moderated, so don’t mind if your message takes a day to show up) — and thanks for stopping by!