Blog Post 17

Sept. 15, 2021 Club meeting

Theme:  International Day for Preservation of Ozone Layer/Climate Change

Word of the Day:  Anthropogenic

Our Evaluations and Humorous Speech Contest is Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021.

The Area 14 Evaluations and Humorous speech contest will be held on Oct. 2 at 10 am.

Tonight’s Table Topics focused on climate change, the ozone layer and other subjects relating to the theme.

Tonight’s speeches dealt with topics such as Toastmaster Asia’s money mindset presentation, Toastmaster Alejandro’s Pathways journey (Dynamic Leadership path, the different levels, feedback, communication styles, leadership styles, Win-Win, “wrapped everything up in a bow.”) presentation, and Toastmaster Amir’s project management presentation.

Best Speaker:  TM Asia

Best Table Topics Speaker:  TM Jeena

Best Evaluator:  TM Ernesto

More to come…

Post 16 – Sept. 8, 2021 club meeting

Virtual Open House

Word of the day:  Positively.

2 Guests:  Howard and Edward

Congratulations to Amir for completing Level 4 of his first path and to Harold for completing Level 1 of his second path!

Club information presented during tonight’s Virtual Open House:

Our club, West Pines Toastmasters Club, was started in 2017 by our club sponsor/founder, Distinguished Toastmaster Alejandro.

Our club is a very diverse club with our members coming from approximately 15 different countries.

Some of the benefits of being a Toastmaster:

  • Unlimited personal growth
  • Clear communication
  • Increased self confidence
  • Improved leadership skills
  • Career advancement
  • We also have a lot of fun!

We received our official club charter on June 25, 2018.  In just 3 short years, we have accomplished so much.

At the club level:

  • We received the President’s Distinguished club award 2 years in a row:   July 2019 – June 2020 and again in July 2020- June 2021. 
  • We received the Select Distinguished club award in 2018 – 2019.
  • We also received the prestigious Golden Gavel Award in the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
  • As you will see, there are a myriad of tests that we have to pass to receive this award.
  • We were the only club in Division A to receive this award, and we were 1 of 4 out of 168 clubs in District 47 to receive this award. 

At the member level:

  • Our Club Sponsor/founder, Distinguished Toastmaster Alejandro was the first member of our club to achieve the Distinguished Toastmaster award, the highest award in Toastmasters International for unpaid, nonprofessional speakers.
  • Distinguished Toastmaster Alejandro also competed in 2 of our 4 annual speech contests in 2020-2021: Evaluations and Table Topics.  He placed 2nd in the Division for Evaluations in November 2020, and he went all the way to District level, where he placed 2nd in Table Topics in May 2021.
  • Toastmaster Oscar won the Shooting Star award which is awarded to a new member who embraced the Toastmasters International program by completing at least 6 speeches, attending Toastmasters Leadership Institute and demonstrating leadership skills within the first 12 months of membership!
  • Distinguished Toastmaster Aura and Toastmaster Madeline served as Area Directors for area 11 and area 14.
  • Distinguished Toastmaster Aura also served as a Club Mentor for a new club during the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
  • Toastmaster Madeline also conducted an 8-week Youth Leadership Program during Summer of 2020, and was a Club Coach to a struggling club within Division A during the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
  • Toastmaster Lori started a permanent Gavel club for teenagers in December 2020.
  • Toastmaster Torah served as Area 14 Contest Master, Division A, and Division F’s Contest Master, and also was a Contest Master during District 47 Spring Contests in the Spring of 2021.
  • Toastmaster Arlene and Toastmaster Carol served as Club Coaches to a struggling club during the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
  • Toastmaster Arlene served in 2020-2021 as Web Editor for District 47’s website, and she also served as Program Quality Director for Division A.
  • We also had 8 members receive Triple Crown Awards in 2020-2021 for completing 3 levels during 1 fiscal year.
  • We also recently launched our club website, which Toastmaster Arlene was very instrumental in making that happen.

Kudos to West Pines Toastmasters!

We had two speakers this evening. 

TM Val introduced herself to the club through her fascinating Icebreaker speech.

TM Amir’s “Just Say No” speech focused on managing and being able to say “No” at work when needed.

Our club officers were also introduced.

Table Topics also offered more challenges to everyone.


Best Speaker:  TM Amir

Best Table Topics Speaker:  TM Alex

Best Evaluator:  TM Ernesto

More to come…

Blog Post 15 – Sept. 1, 2021 club meeting

Theme:  Labor Day

Word of the Day:  Pervasive

Formal speeches:

TM Donna gave an informative speech on the pervasive problem of global pollution.

TM Oscar used a great PowerPoint presentation to educate everyone on the different communication styles that exist.

TM Torah spoke about how she was able to lead during a difficult situation.  It was a challenging time because it was a layoff of numerous employees in her company.

TM Alex’s Table Topics speeches focused on jobs, which tied in with the Labor Day theme.

Tonight’s Awards:

Best Speaker:  TM Torah

Best table topics speaker:  TM Asia

Best evaluator:  TM Harold

There will be an Open House at the meeting next week.  What’s an Open House?  It is a meeting that is intended to introduce the community or potential members to the benefits of joining our club.   Our members are encouraged to spread the word and invite guests. 

More to come…

Blog Post 14 – August 25, 2021 Club meeting

Theme:  Toastmasters International Convention Week

Word of the day:  Salubrious.

This evening’s meeting was a Speech Marathon.  There were no Table Topics speeches.

Toastmaster Carol announced that  TI’s annual International Convention is being held online this week from Monday, August  23 to  Saturday, August 28, 2021.  She mentioned that two members of our District (District 47) have special roles in the Convention.  Matt Kinsey, currently the 1st VP of TI’s Board of Directors (who will automatically become President-Elect for the 2021-2022 year and will eventually become International President for the 2022-2023 year) will serve as Contest Host of the World Championship of Public Speaking on Saturday, August 28.    In addition,  Errol Leandre from Cutler Ridge Toastmasters, won in the Semi-final round of the International Speech Contest this week and will be one of the 8 finalists in the World Championship of Public Speaking on Saturday, August 28.  

She also announced that experienced Toastmasters who volunteer to serve as a Club Coach for a struggling club during the 2021-2022 year will receive double credit and will be exempt from serving as a District Leader for their DTM award (if they serve for at least 6 months and help the club to increase its membership to a minimum of 20 members and to achieve Distinguished Club status).  Serving as a Club Coach and as a District Leader are two of the various requirements for earning the prestigious Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award. 

The formal speeches consisted of an Icebreaker, a humorous speech, a leadership style speech and 2 communication style speeches.

Tonight’s Award Winners:

Best Speaker – TM David

Best Evaluator – TM Alejandro

More to come…

Blog Post 13 – Aug. 18, 2021 Club meeting

Theme:   Back to School

Word of the day:  Feasible

TM Lori did a terrific job as the Toastmaster for the meeting.

Speeches:  Toastmasters Harold, Julia and Roxanne spoke about COVID-19, Leadership Styles and the dwarf planet Pluto.

Table topics extemporaneous speeches centered on tonight’s theme.

Best Speaker:  TM Harold

Best Table Topics speaker:  TM Sean

Best Evaluator:  TM Alex

More to come…

Blog Post 12 – Toastmasters Leadership Institute – Aug. 14, 2021

Reimagine.  Recognize.  Rediscover.

Here are some highlights from my notes taken during DTM Rodney Bain’s presentation titled Marketing Reimagined and Luiz Bravim’s presentation titled Effective Evaluations:

Set the Right Goal.

Questions and Observations:

What is your product or service?  If you don’t know, you need to find out what it is.

Who is your targeted audience?

What is the right product (example:  an automobile)?

Company vs. Personal?

Inclusive vs. Exclusive?

Professional vs. Leisure?

Where do you fit in?

First impressions are lasting impressions.

Telling the right story.  Be mindful that the right story needs to align with the organization’s core values.

This speaker also mentioned that he once had a speech impediment when he was young.

What story are you sharing? 

Is it the right one? 

Is it aligned with the Toastmasters Core values? 

Is there consistency in messaging? 

Are you saying the same thing to your club members?

That’s how people keep coming back to your club…or not coming back. 

Fielding Feedback…is this a hit or a miss?

Speaking of feedback, what’s the word “on the street?”  Make sure your messages are consistent.  One message.

Market Research Tools: 

  • Interviews. 
  • Engagement data (Facebook, Instagram.) – Which event gets more attention?
  • Surveys.
  • Focus groups.
  • Review.
  • Who are your customers?

The Effective Evaluations presentationgave everyone the following information and tips:

  • The main skill in evaluating – Listen.  You need to pay attention.
  • Elements of Personal Communication:

7% spoken words

38% voice, tone

55% body language

  • Your evaluation must include suggestions on how to do something better.  Example: Pacing.

Evaluation sentence example: “You need to widen your stance and put one leg ahead of the other.”

  • Give the speaker a “road map.”
  • Outstanding speakers shouldn’t get ordinary evaluations. 
  • No more than two (2) pieces of constructive criticism.
  • If you only comment on what the speaker did well or great, then there’s not much value to the evaluation.
  • Probably the most memorable parts of a speech are the opening and the conclusion.  The opening and the conclusion should relate to each other.
  • Mr. Bravim uses CAT to give evaluations instead of the “sandwich” method.  This is the CAT evaluation method:

C – Content

A – Audience

T – Techniques for improvement

More to come…

August 11, 2021 club meeting – Table Topics marathon!

Theme:  Impromptu Speaking

Word of the day:  Solitude

Congratulations to Alejandro for completing Level 5 of his path, Jesus for completing Level 3 of his path, and Anabel for completing Level 1 of her path.

My role in this meeting – Timer.  What does a timer do?  My job is to time the speeches and signal the speakers with green, yellow and red colors that indicate the following:

Green – You’ve met the basic requirement for the speaking time for this particular Pathways project speech.

Yellow – Just like the yellow traffic light, it’s time to bring your speech to a conclusion.

Red – Just like the red traffic light, it’s time to conclude your speech.  You have 30 second to do that!

What’s the reason for timing speeches?  The timing requirements for formal speeches, table topics speeches and evaluations are established by Toastmasters. Whether it’s at work or at play, you usually don’t have unlimited time to answer questions from your supervisor, spouse, friends, customers, etc.

Table Topics Marathon analysis – Great, interesting, thought-provoking, challenging questions confronted each speaker tonight.  I was lucky, since I was timer, to be able to get a question.  Here’s my take on this – I think I said it best when I told the group “I want to get in the game!”  I really do want to get in the game by getting at least one table topic question tonight.  It makes it a challenge.  I don’t want to sit on the sidelines – that’s boring!!!  What’s table topics to me?  Table topics is similar to getting a question directed at you at a meeting or a job interview.  It could be a potential customer or client asking you questions about a service or product.  A table topics marathon offers great practice for these extemporaneous speeches that we sometimes have to deliver to meeting attendees, our supervisor, CEO/CFO/COO, customers, clients, spouse, significant other, etc.

Best table topics speakers at tonight’s meeting:




More to come…

Highlights of the Aug. 4, 2021 club meeting

Congratulations to Toastmasters Charbel, Amanda, David, Ernesto, Juana and Julia for completing Level I of Pathways.

Congratulations to TM Aura for earning her Distinguished Toastmaster after 3 ½ years of membership and hard work.  An incredible accomplishment!

Highlights of the August 4, 2021 West Pines Toastmasters Club meeting

Meeting theme:  Pathways Learning Experience (our online education system!)

Word of the day:  Scintillating

TM Alejandro’s speech was about building a social media presence for his company and this Toastmasters club.  He stressed consistency in posting.  He emphasized having fun doing this while getting other people involved in it.  He also stated that you need to have a scintillating experience posting.

The Table Topics speeches were based on the Pathways Experience and public speaking.  TM Oscar spoke about being challenged at Toastmasters.  TM Arlene talked about 3 public speaking goals.  TM Carol spoke about her scintillating part of Toastmasters. 

Best Speaker:  TM Alejandro

Best Table Topics Speaker:  TM Oscar

Best Evaluator:  TM Ernesto

More to come…

Highlights from the July 28, 2021 club meeting – Speech Marathon

Highlights from the July 28 West Pines Toastmasters Club meeting:

This meeting consisted of a Speech Marathon.  No table topics speeches were given.

6:30 p.m. – Meeting started.

Word of the day:  Euphoric.

The members who were performing duties such as Presenter of the tip of the day, Ah Counter, Grammarian, Timer, Vote Counter, and Body Language Monitor explained their roles.

Guest introductions were made.

Speeches were given on the following topics:

  • Designing your career through 5 steps.
  • Mentoring
  • Obtaining cooperation in personal and corporate dealings.
  • Leadership and Leadership Styles

Speech evaluations were also given.

Best Speaker award winner:  Charbel Alwan

Best Evaluator award winner:  Amanda Reinhart

More to come…