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A Toastmaster’s Journey

From Academic to Speaker

toastmater blog April 24 2016

I am often asked why I would join Toastmasters after teaching college for thirty years. Was that not long enough for me to learn to speak in public? When I first ran for municipal office I discovered just how different speaking to a large group of strangers and trying to win them over was from that of teaching.

As I was preparing to retire from teaching I planned out my new coaching business. I was told by many experts that the key to building a coaching practice, and many new businesses, was to speak in public. Even with my background in teaching the notion of speaking in public still made me nervous. I turned to Toastmasters to help overcome that feeling.

Toastmasters International has been training speakers and leaders since 1924 and have over 300,000 members world wide. I figured that with a track record like that they should be able to help me on my journey from academic to public speaker. And what a journey it was! I felt that I was quite a good speaker with not a lot to learn.Boy, was I wrong! I was not long learning that Toastmasters had a lot to offer me in developing as a speaker. I joined in 2010 and am still learning from the program and my fellow Toastmasters every meeting.

The Learning Environment

The program is very structured and you learn in a friendly and supportive environment where we help each other to grow each week. Did it work for me? I am now an award winning professional speaker with Toastmasters being a major factor in achieving that.

Studies have shown that eighty percent of success comes from communication and people skills with the remaining twenty percent from your job expertise. If you want to get better at speaking, Toastmasters is the place to be. Won’t you join us this Wednesday and start your own Toastmasters journey.

General Evaluation March 11 2015

Written by Mike,


Nepean Wingtalkers meeting March 11, 2015



  • We had nine attendees, including Hanna and Benjamin who officially joined (along with David in absentia) at the conclusion of the meeting; all agenda roles were filled in advance
  • Since the season technically starts late next week, Darryl explained his take on the meeting theme of ‘Spring Thaw’ with an anticipatory perspective, reinforced by the current brief spell of weather

Summary of roles:

  • Incoming member Hanna provided an evocative word of the day, BLOSSOM
  • Cathy’s Toast observed the joy of pending spring thaw, infusing her comments with an uncommon dose of humour
  • Mike’s Jokes covered the consequences of spring fever and snappy comebacks on a spring morning
  • Isabelle took Bill’s suggested Table Topics questions, provided a review of how Table Topics works, and led us in a round with all participating

Summary re G.E. report:

  • Mike obtained reports from Cathy (Timer), Hanna (Grammarian), and Gerald (Ah Counter) (who noted the difference in tracking for new members as opposed to longer term members)
  • Jim challenged us with a variety of Quizmaster questions
  • Mike noted the added value during Table Topics of Isabelle providing segue point/counterpoint commentary

Other comments:

  • Under Notices for the Good of Toastmasters, Darryl brought up the suggestion that during the G.E. report the presentation order be altered to shift the Timer report to third; Jim (as Area Governor) reminded that the Area speech contest is this evening, with Cathy competing in Table Topics and Gerald taking on International Speech Contest Chair



Meeting Highlights for Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Written By Asma

Gerald was the toastmaster for Sep. 24, 2014 meeting. Jim as sergeant-at-arm gave the nice introduction  about Gerald who is  longest member in our club since the club was military  club. The meeting started on time. Gerald introduced the theme Expressions by using some expressions.

Mike  presented the word “Cliche”. Almost every one used the word during the meeting.  Jim gave the toast with enthusiasm and also he used some expressions in his toast. Cathy added the sense of humor to the meeting when she introduced the joke by using the body language and vocal tone variety.  Darryl as the timer and Mike as the Au_Counter gave a brief and wonderful introduction about their roles.

Margo who is the table topics master came with the fantastic idea by giving expression with definition to talk about it. And since there was no speech, she had prepared with two rounds of table topic. Our winner of  table topic award was Shawn where he demonstrated his impromptu speaking  . Also Shawn tested our listening skills by being the quizmaster.

Gerald adjourned the meeting on time and with encouragement to participate in upcoming toastmaster competition .

GENERAL EVALUATOR report May 13, 2014

Written By Mike Gorman


–        Meeting started just before12:05 p.m.; set-up incl. TM club banners & ribbons

–        Jim provided introduction of meeting chair, Shawn

–        Shawn, welcomed all, explaining the theme, ‘Accomplishments, Achievements and Accolades’

–        Third time attendee Margo confirmed she is joining the club; former member Cheryl spoke about her recent physical challenges and indicted she wants to rejoin the club

Summary of roles:

–        Isabelle provided a word of the day connecting in a descriptive way to the theme, PLUCKY

–        Darryl’s toast tied into the meeting theme

–        Bill’s variation on the joke with its celebration of negative accomplishments provided a theme foil

–        Jim led us in a round of Table Topics providing all participants opportunity to identify accomplishment milestones or perspectives; he did an excellent job of seguing between speakers, then concluded the session with a positive focused summary

Summary re G.E. report:

–        In addition to obtaining reports from Carine (Timer), Isabelle ( Grammarian), and Cathy (Ah-Counter), Darryl challenged us with a range of Quizmaster questions; Mike then provided G.E. perspective concerning the meeting set-up and activities, noting the positive A.A.A. theme

Other comments:

–        Congratulations to SHAWN for winning the vote as top Table Topics speaker!

–        Under Notices for the Good of Toastmasters there was a reminder concerning next week’s Executive meeting to be followed with the new Executive election in the club meeting

–        There was a short discussion about the forthcoming election, with Isabelle asking about the timing of exec meetings, and Bill and Mike commening about the semi-annual TLI sessions

–        Mike confirmed he will follow-up with Asma regarding her current status including re the executive


Meeting Highlights for April 23, 2014

Written By Jim Kelly

The meeting started a couple of minutes early and got off to a great start with a theme of “Positivity and Gratitude.” It was Carine’s first time as chair and she did a masterful job of cheerfully keeping the meeting moving at a good pace. Her introductions were well-prepared and well-delivered.

Mike kicked off the introductory part of the meeting with a propitious word and then led us in a good toast for our propitious perspective of positivity, giving us a good example of effective alliteration as a colourful grammatical device. Darryl, always ready with a joke, told us a comical one about an elderly couple out on a date. Cathy gave a very informative soapbox speech about 3 aspects of the Fair Elections Act after which we had a round table evaluation that everyone participated in giving Cathy much praise and a few suggestions for improvement. Isabelle punctuated our audible pauses and kept us on schedule as timer.

Darryl had some well-thought-out questions along the lines of the theme that all present propitiously participated in. Cathy won the best table topics award with her talk about her gratitude from a young age for the free offerings at the library.

Jim Kelly, General Evaluator

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