Run On Both Legs

At least one of our board members is a runner and she’s run in several marathons. This takes determination, patience, perseverance, an eye on the goal, and an enjoyment of the journey.

Your Toastmasters experience has many similarities. To get the most out of your membership, you need those same qualities. One of the strengths of Toastmasters is that it’s not like a two-day workshop that quickly crams your head full of theory then sends you out on your own. It’s a journey, and in the company of your fellow members, all of whom want to support and encourage you, as you encourage and help them.

The title of this post refers to the two tracks you travel in the Toastmasters landscape: communication and leadership. When you joined Toastmasters you received two manuals: Competent Communicator and Competent Leadership.

You might consider bringing both manuals to meetings from now on. You already do this when you’re a featured speaker. That way your Evaluator can speak to your goals and enter your evaluation comments. But did you know that you can also be receiving acknowledgement (and credit) for all the meeting roles you take? Look through your Competent Leadership manual. In fact, turn to the last page and see just inside the back cover to see the full list.

By doing this you receive two benefits:

  • Your initiative, taking on meeting roles, is acknowledged. A record is kept and you can check off tasks as you move toward your Competent Leadership award.
  • You have an opportunity to gain insight from your meeting role evaluator as he or she comments on how you handled your meeting role task.

Each track, Communication and Leadership, complements the other. Be in a win-win!

From our Contest Coordinator

I know the contests are new to everyone.  This will be the second Toastmaster contest I have been involved in, so I will need lots of help.

As I said yesterday, the contestants are the most important thing.  Without them there is no contest.

Humorous family stories seemed the most obvious to me for the Humorous speech contest.  I have heard some really funny speeches that since I have been in toastmasters.  One was about raising teenagers.  Another was about a parachute jump that ended in a pond.  I googled “toastmaster humorous speech examples” and got a couple of examples and other helps.  Who knew?

By the way the rule book is here.

The Evaluation contest is the hardest to understand.  When I asked for volunteer “Test Speakers” at the Food for Thought club, I had to explain the role.

The contest is who gives the best evaluation.  The speech can be at any level from an “Icebreaker” to a Project 10 speech, like Cheryl gave.  The rulebook recommends that the test speaker not be from River Speakers so I am trying to get one from another club.  A toastmaster from Food for Thought has volunteered to be the backup if the test speaker has to bow out at the last minute.  I think we really need someone from another club so that our members can compete, judge, etc.

There are a lot of contest roles to fill.

The Evaluation Contest is pretty simple.  You listen to a speech and evaluate it like Charmaine did yesterday.  The only difference is other contestants will evaluate the same speech.  The best evaluator wins.  Each evaluator will not vote on the competitors.  They can’t hear another contestants evaluation before they give theirs.  If for example the test speaker is doing a project 5 speech, the contestants will know that beforehand.  They will know what the goals of the speaker are and will evaluate them based on that, just like any evaluator would at any toastmaster meeting.  The only difference is there are other toastmasters evaluating the same speech.  What makes the best evaluation?

I googled “toastmaster evaluation contest examples” and got a lot of helps.

The contestants will make the contest a fun experience.  The winner goes to the A3 competition.  I think it is at the Foothills Church in Garden City.  I need help with the date and time.

— Don

What’s your plan?

Is it hard to get a big project done without a plan? Most members who attended our last meeting thought that was the case.

What is your next major goal within Toastmasters? It might be to complete your Competent Communicator manual. This 10-speech path creates a firm basis for presenting effectively and guides you in learning or refining those skills that will help you communicate in a more clear and compelling way.

So how do we get from A to Z? One method is to begin with the end in mind (completing our CC manual, let’s say) and determine when we want to complete it. Here’s a sheet that has our 07-01-2015 through 06-30-2016 meetings marked in.

  1. What would you like to have completed by next June 30? Speech 6? Speech 8? Speech 10? Mark that at the end of the page.
  2. Now — consider this four-week plan. (Of course, you can adjust it when you have vacations etc.) Look at the text at the bottom of the page.
  3. Take your first week to study your next speech’s goals and decide upon a topic. Read and re-read that CC chapter.
  4. The following week, write the first draft of your speech. Organize it well, with a clear opening, body, and close or conclusion.
  5. The week after that, start practicing your speech. You’ll further refine your speech through your practicing process. Time yourself. Does your speech generally fall within your time parameters? Generally speaking, 100 words equals a minute — but there are lots of variables that can change that.
  6. Now you’re ready to present your speech to your club. Be sure you book your speech date far enough in advance.
  7. The day or two before your speech, contact that meeting’s Toastmaster and provide them with your speech title and your introduction.

Following these seven steps you’ll achieve your goals and grow in your skills.


Our Speech Contest will be August 27

It’s that time of year: speech contest time has arrived, and the two themes for this summer/fall 2015 period are “Humorous” and “Evaluation”.

  • Humorous: Choose a subject. Be certain you don’t include potentially objectionable language or content. Your speech should have an opening, body, and close — on a theme. (That is, it shouldn’t be a series of one-liners.)
  • Evaluation: A Toastmaster, not a member of our club, will give a 5-7 minute speech. Contestants can take notes, and then must provide an evaluation.

Our Contest Coordinator for this period is Don. He will be providing us updates during the next several meetings and can answer your questions then or after our meeting time.

We encourage everyone to participate, either as a speaker-contestant or in another role. Read more on our Speech Contest page.

After you’ve learned more, please fill out the form below to indicate what role you’d like to fill for our August 27 Speech Contest meeting.

Sign-up closes 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21, so final preparations can be made. 

Results of sign-up:

  • Contest Chairperson and Chief Judge: Don
  • Toastmaster and Snacks Wrangler: Cheryl
  • Test Speaker: ___
  • Sergeant At Arms: Leah
  • Vote counter (Evaluation portion): Cheryl
  • Timekeepers: Melanie and Andrea
  • Participant (Humorous portion): Sherry and Emily
  • Participant (Evaluation portion): Diane

How to update your Toastmasters profile info

We’re finalizing our chartering paperwork, and once it’s completed you — who’ve submitted your Toastmasters application — are added to the records at, and you may wish to double-check your profile information. For example, your Toastmasters magazine will go to the address on record there. To view (or make changes to) your profile:

  1. Go to the website.
  2. Sign in using the link at the top of the page.
  3. Now, using the second-layer menu, click on “My Toastmasters” (below the “Find a club” button).
  4. Under “My Toastmasters” choose “Profile.”
  5. You can view and change your records. Your member number appears in a box to the right of your name.

Changing of the guard

Your votes are in and the new slate of officers now appears on our Officers page.

However, it’s been a long few months since April when we started meeting, and I hope we can all recognize the work of the interim officers who served and did so much work to get us thus far. Applause to:

Doug Draney, Sherry Briscoe, Robin O’Neill, Tom Shaner, Cheryl Flinn, Don Williams, and Leah Parsons.

Who’s my mentor?

Mentoring is an important part of the structure of Toastmasters clubs. You’re not thrown in the pool to flail around on your own; you have a guide who’s in your corner and a built-in fan.

Your VP of Education will be providing further information over time on being an effective mentor, but these are some key starting points:

  • Your mentor wants you to know that they’re there for you! Ask them all your questions.
  • Your mentor should help you book a date for your first speech, the “Ice Breaker,” and keep you on pace to finish your first 10 speeches within about 12 months.
  • Your mentor should have a good understanding of your own personal and professional goals — the initial reason you joined Toastmasters — so they can support you and guide you in your endeavors.