Tag Archives: simcoe shores

Unexpected Lessons

bluelogoA speech given a couple of months ago by a fellow Toastmaster had a profound effect on me. I find myself thinking often about what she had spoken of, and many times I thought about forwarding the advice to others. It was her 10th speech project (Speaking to Inspire) and so meaningful and inspiring. It was about the 7 things we need to let go of in our lives and I wrote them down. I wanted to create a poster and hang it above my desk to help me remember and stay aware. I’ll share them with you further down.

As I thought about how much that message meant to me, I reflected on how much I’ve learned from everyone since I’ve been in Toastmasters; it’s been more than just learning to speak with confidence, or to listen, and evaluate.

From watching advanced leaders I’ve learned (and am still learning):

  • how to build trust and teams (thanks Lori and Merri)
  • how to run a meeting and parliamentary procedures (thanks Paul)
  • how to build enthusiasm and remain positive (thanks Brian)
  • the art of using humour (thanks Mark)
  • how to lead by example (thanks Al)
  • how to encourage and inspire (thanks Merri)
  • the value of servant leadership

Thanks everyone who gave me an opportunity to learn.

From watching advanced speakers I’ve learned how to pause, how to move with purpose, how to use the stage, how to use humour to connect with the audience, and how to use vocal variety and pitch to get my message across. And to always have a message; give the audience something to take away with them. And that’s what my fellow Toastmasters have done. They’ve given me so much knowledge that I took away with me. Some small things such as: it takes 21 days to develop a habit (thanks Debbie), some larger things such as the inspiring tenth speech given by my fellow Toastmaster (thanks Jane).

In between, I learned:

  • how to select the perfect dog for your family (thanks Ron)
  • why Canada geese fly in a V shape, and how they support each other in flight (there’s a lot we can learn from them) (thanks Lori)
  • about the re-oxygenation of Lake Simcoe (thanks Ron)
  • where the expression “never let them get your goat” came from (thanks Eric)
  • how to handle stress (thanks Lynne)
  • how to sell a solution instead of a product (thanks Craig)
  • how to create a vision board (thanks Monica)
  • how to identify weeds local to the area (thanks Bart)
  • about the inequality of power in Ontario (which has to do with electricity, not politics) (thanks Rita)
  • how proportional voting works (thanks Paul)
  • how to make plum pudding (thanks Nancy)
  • about Victorian architectural designs in Hamilton (thanks Marlena)
  • what’s really in Haggis (thanks Iain)

So, even if I had just joined Toastmasters and never said a word, I have still learned so much from so many wonderful people.

The profound message I heard a few months ago, that I am often conscious of, is the 7 things we need to give up (thanks Jane):

  1. Let go of toxic people
  2. Let go of past regrets
  3. Let go of the need to be right
  4. Let go of feeling sorry for yourself
  5. Let go of negative thoughts
  6. Let go of limiting beliefs
  7. Let go of worrying about the future.

Jane challenged us to track our thoughts for 72 hours. It’s been a month for me, and I’m still checking my thoughts.

While I’m in this grateful state of mind, I think the most gratitude must go to the person who brought me into Toastmasters, which ultimately led to me developing confidence and a network of incredible friends. He was my mentor in the club, as well as my mentor in ways he may not realize, as I’ve watched his professionalism, his discretion and his ethics, and I’m still learning. Thanks Paul!

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What is Toastmasters?

Amazing how quickly a month goes by. I should at least set up a day of the week on which to post.

It was pointed out to me (thanks Paul!) that I never really explained what Toastmasters is.

Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. The organization currently has 226,000 members in 11,500 clubs in 92 countries. Some well-known Toastmasters include Peter Coors of Coors Brewing Company, Debbi Fields, founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies, Tom Peters, management expert and author, and Linda Lingle, Governor of Hawaii.

Toastmasters has been helping individuals develop communication and leadership skills since 1924. Toastmasters is for anyone over the age of 18 and members come from all walks of life. One thing they have in common is a strong desire for self–improvement and helping others. We learn best by doing. Each Toastmaster Club is a learning laboratory where you’ll enjoy experimenting, discovering and developing your potential.

Simcoe Shores Toastmasters meet on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Wednesdays of each month at Belhaven Hall on Warden Avenue (just north of Old Homestead) from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Guests are always welcome to join us at our meetings.

Effective July 1st, I’ll be taking on the role of President for the club. I’m a little overwhelmed, but shall endeavour to do my best, which after all, is the best any of us can do. I’m also trying to keep in mind that this is a learning opportunity. My first role in Toastmasters was Secretary/Treasurer, then I was VP Public Relations last year, and now I’ll be President. With each step, I feel my confidence growing and I know I will learn a lot from this experience.

Wish me luck!

What if…

Toastmasters changes lives. I heard this phrase quite a bit when I first joined Toastmasters, but I have to admit… I didn’t believe it. Oh sure, it was something worthwhile doing, sort of an educational/social/volunteering kind of thing, but changing lives?? A stretch… or so I thought.

Then I attended the Toastmasters District 60 Conference held a few weeks ago at the Sheraton Conference Centre on Hwy. 7 and Leslie. This was a last minute decision for me, as I tend to avoid large crowds, especially conference-wise. I worry that someone will try to talk to me and I’ll be forced to chit-chat and I’m not good at that. I’ll either babble on about myself, create a social faux-pas, or make a fool out of myself somehow. So, I attended the conference reluctantly, but that’s getting off-track. I listened to some of the most inspiring, insightful speeches, and heard people talking about what they have achieved in life as a result of what they learned in Toastmasters. By the end of the conference, I’d come to the realization that… wait for it!!! TOASTMASTERS CHANGES LIVES! Will it change mine? I don’t know or expect that, but what if?

And, as the current VP Public Relations, I would be remiss if I didn’t get this plug in…

Simcoe Shores Toastmasters, of Georgina Ontario, meets on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Wednesdays of each month at the Belhaven Hall, on Warden Avenue, just north of Old Homestead, from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. We welcome guests and you owe it to yourself to come and see what Toastmasters is all about. And ask yourself… What if?

Simcoe Shores Toastmasters website