Thursday, April 15, 2010

Club Meeting Review April 14, 2010

April 14, 2010 Written by: Chun Qiao

Do you get homesick often? If you do, what do you miss most about home? What reminds you of a specific person in the family that you have infinite love for?

The theme of our meeting tonight, Getting Organized, made me feel very homesick and made me miss my super-neat mother tremendously. Mom is a very organized and a very strong-willed lady. She believes that everything ours, from our physical appearance to the arrangement of furniture; from the interior décor of our home to the fish swimming in the fish tank, is a physical representation and a visual manifestation of the soul of our family. Having this kind of mindset; therefore, is quite natural for her to be a nitpicking kind of lady organization and hygiene wise. Although I used to consider her way of living to be somewhat superficial when I was a bit younger, however, as time goes by, I realize the imbedded lesson in her way of doing things, which is getting organized will keep the chi moving. Chi is the circulating life force. The free flow of life force energy in a confined space provides a sense of freedom and lightness that allow a person to better self-reflect; as a result, to have a clear view of what aspect of the overall picture still has room for improvement, and what aspect is fine just as the way it is.

Getting organized can’t be only comprehended material wise, but also it’s applied to the efficiency of our consciousness. Are you aware of the frequency of having the same kind of thoughts everyday? How many of those thoughts are self-destructive, such as “I’m so messy!” “I’m so grumpy!” or “Man, I wish I could have what he/she has, then I’ll be content!”? To some extent, getting organized also means building a strong and clear mindset, which will allow us to understand, identify our habitual way of thinking, and self-evaluating method that work for us; consequently getting rid of nagging voice of the naysayers in our heads.

Our meeting went off to a great start. As the Chair of the night, Mr. Don Mckellar, as usual, commended everyone’s attention as he announced the commencement of meeting. Ms. Sadaf Arshad gave us a fully entertaining humorous anecdote, which helped lighten up the whole atmosphere of the room; it even somewhat toned down the nervousness of all the attendants as we were waiting anxiously for the kick off of the table topic session.

As being still a relatively new member to the club, I have tremendous admiration for Ms. Lindsay Satterthwaite and Mr. David Junop. As I’ve had expressed to Lindsay numerous times in person that her posture and her way of dealing with various people in and out of our club are some great skills that I feel aspired to work on personally. Despite the fact that Lindsay has 25 years of professional figure skating experience under her belt, in my opinion, her way of conducting herself is a combination of yearly hard work, perseverance and a daily dose of self-practice. As for Mr. David Junop, he took the role of Grammarian to another level by inserting his own personality and personal experience into the whole experience. Not only had he perfected the image of a competent grammarian, but also he raised the bar for the upcoming grammarians to follow.

What can I say about Mr. Michael Anderson? His continued effort of self-improvement and commitment to our club were well represented in his invention of a new and an interesting format of Q&A in the round of table topic, which made me greatly appreciated of having him as a member of this club. His innovation not only showed us the creative mind he possessed, but also proved to us the enthusiasm, sincerity and a will for the public good that he had for our club.

There were three prepared speeches scheduled for the night. Each one of them was given in the order of Ms. Semirath Fagbemi, Ms. Fatimah Moradi and Mr. Kristian Reimer. Being introduced by Mr. Richard Albert, coincidentally, all three speeches fit quite nicely all together. Not only did we get to know each of the presenters individually, but also by reveling each of the speech title prior to the actual presentation, a sense of anticipation was built up. From “Rebirth” to “My history” and from “My history” to “A winning personality”, all three speeches chronicled three important stages of a human’s development. Surprisingly at times, it almost felt like this series of speeches was specifically tailored to new Canadians, of whom made up a large number of our club’s population. Becoming a Canadian is synonymous with Rebirth; personal history and cultural connection are My history; and A winning personality can be a tool with which new Canadians use to assimilate. As for the speech evaluators, Mr. Andrew Valinskas, a new member to the club, moved us with his trying spirit; Mr. Stan MacDonald blew us away with his sincerity; and Mr. Scott Wood charmed us with his humor and his critical thinking capability.

Being one of the veterans in the club, Mr. David Girmay did a fine job of evaluating the overall performance of the meeting tonight. As someone who’s about to take on the role of General Evaluator in the near future, Mr. Girmay’s demonstration had given me a clear vision of how the whole process should proceed correctly. Ms. Megha Kumar, a knowledgeable young lady, who shares with me the same passion of the French language, was certainly a right match for the role of Quizmaster. Her contribution helped sharpen our listening skill a great deal. Last but certainly not least, Mr. Nick Hooge’s interest in being a timer was, no doubt, the premise of his successful completion of the task. Sitting next to him, his seriousness about the assigned task, which later translated into a sense of professionalism, was an inspiring scene to witness.

A Toastmasters Meeting on TV

The Sensational Speakers Club in Midland, Michigan organized a special Toastmasters meeting sometime back that was aired on local television to inform the local community about Toastmasters clubs available in the area.
I would say this is a great PR campaign that reaches out to a large audience through TV and now through YouTube.

If you're interested, the meeting is uploaded on YouTube in five parts and all the videos are embedded below.  We can always learn some new things from another club.
Hope you'll enjoy watching these!! And please leave your comments, if any.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mentoring at Toastmasters

First Oakville Toastmasters has a blog that is interesting, informative and has a good level of communication.
There's a post about mentoring new members that summarizes the responsibilities and goals of the mentoring process:

Friday, April 2, 2010

Positive Leadership

I was going through the Toastmasters International website for some tips on leadership. And I found that there are some great articles that can be of help to anyone who is already in a leadership position or wants to take one.

I came across a great link for positive leadership.
I have copied some text below from that article. But this link above further points to the complete PDF article which I believe is very well written with some great examples. If you have a few minutes, you may want to go through that complete PDF article.

How to be a leader others want to follow.

Examples abound of poor leadership. Who hasn’t had a teacher or boss who invoked feelings of disrespect? A positive leader is someone who inspires, motivates, energizes and unites, while generating loyalty and producing results. In his article for the Toastmaster magazine, Victor Parachin offers 10 rules on how to be that kind of leader:
  • Give more than you expect others to give.
  • Combine optimism and perseverance.
  • See everyone as a diamond in the rough.
  • Express appreciation; accept responsibility.
  • Keep your ego in check.
  • Show respect for the people around you.
  • Treat team members as family.
  • Be a source of inspiration.
  • Stress cooperation, not competition.
  • Maintain a sense of humor.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

March 31, 2010-Water

March 31, 2010

One can never predict what the future has in store, at least I can’t. From starting a day with a French final which made me mentally exhausted to the extreme to ending an evening with an inspired and uplifted state of mind, the cliché of going with the flow style of living was once again proven to be beneficial.

The theme of tonight was water, a source where life is originated. Without water, our planet earth would forever be covered in dirt, forever be shadowed in dullness and forever be trapped in the death silence of lifelessness. I liked this theme. The message of one necessity of a human’s life, water, was conveyed through another essential necessity, which was the ability to speak. We, human beings, are born as pack animals. Our tendency and longing to connect with each other predestine the birth of humanity. Being able to communicate clearly and efficiently not only brightens up one’s inner world, but also helps the continued existence of our human history.

We all look for inspiration in life. Every time that I attend our club meeting, I instantly feel like that I’m in the presence of inspiration. Tonight was no exception. Members, such as Joe, Don, Adam, and Tina who never once skipped our club gathering, whose enthusiasm and dedication for the public good made me realize the insignificance of my temporary fatigue, and the importance of consistency.

Nick did a good job tonight as Grammarian. He introduced us to lauder, a word that probably the majority of us would rarely incorporate into our daily vocabularies. His interesting pick not only pumped up our curiosity, but also helped broaden our knowledge of the English language.

The diversity of our club cannot only be understood ethnicity wise; it also manifests itself in the variety of chosen table topics and the different level of difficulty imbedded in each of the question posed. As the table topic master of the night, Mr. Don Mckellar’s in-depth knowledge of tonight’s theme was certainly well reflected in the questions that he created. Although some of the questions could be challenging at times to some participants, however, I could feel for sure that regardless the quality of the improvisation, we all had fun.

The part of prepared speeches was consisted of three icebreakers, three speeches, which could be described as profound, energetic and sincere. Grahame’s speech was very profound according to me. What I took away from his speech, entitled “Something bigger” was the importance of taking risk when it comes to any kind of self-help or self-improvement. The reason why I considered his speech to be profound was because his bravery and willingness to share with all of us his vulnerability; he not only talked the talk, but also walked the walk. He made himself so relatable to all the listeners, all of us who all had experienced some sort of insecurity at some points in our lives when he said: “I may look good on the outside, but I look for cover on the inside”. A very well prepared first speech. As for Mr. Michael Anderson, he was so energetic. I always admire Michael’s determination to confront his fear. His icebreaker was certainly a true representation of his energy and a magnificent embodiment of his friendly personality. Last but not least, Farah’s sincerity was so pure that I felt everyone in the room tonight was extremely intrigued and entertained by her unique interpretation of the Canadian experience.

Kris, Adam, Sandra, Mega, David, and Ken all did their jobs wonderfully tonight. As a new member to the club, their commitment and love for public speaking, and for helping others overcome the obstacle in life are some of the great characters that I feel aspired to develop in the near future.

Thanks to all of you,

Chun Qiao

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Club Facebook Page

Our club now has a Facebook page.

Any of the club members can contribute to the Facebook page as well as the blog.
So, all you need to have is a Facebook login to be our Facebook page admin. To be an author of this blog, you need to have a Blogger or a Google login.

To all the new members, don't forget to check out the Toastmasters International website for some very interesting and helpful tips on speaking and leadership.
You should have received your member login in an email to access the members-only content on the website.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Welcome to the Queen's Park Toastmasters Blog

This blog is a medium for members of the Queen's Park Toastmasters club to discuss club meetings, contests, roles. Members can also discuss other topics related to public speaking, learning or anything else that may help other members or guests.
Other visitors to the blog can post questions under comments about our club in particular or Toastmasters in general.

Let's create this as another platform to interact, build our club community and have fun.