Monday, November 24, 2008


"Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible visible." Anthony Robbins

Bani Arora presented an inspiring educational session on goal setting. She explained that goals should be:
- specific, clearly defined and precise
- measurable, so you can tell if they have been accomplished
- action oriented, focus on what you plan to do
- realistic, make sure it's achievable given the specific situation
- time bound, you need to set an exact time frame

Bani explained that once goals have been set, then next step is to make an action plan clarifying how to achieve the goals. Such a plan makes leaders future oriented. It also enables leaders to coordinate their decisions and reinforces their focus on the goals. A clear plan ensures efficient use of resources. The Planning Process involves the following steps;
1. establish strategies, who? what? when? how?
2. set a timetable
3. assign responsibilities
4. anticipate obstacles
5. modify the plan as you proceed if necessary
The session was concluded with Bani reviewing the criteria for the Distinguished Toastmasters Club Program. She reminded members of the goals our organization has been working towards and updated our progress status. For example we sought at least four new members and have attracted eight. We expect to reach the goal of two members completing their Competent Communicator's manual by spring. We also expect to have one or two complete an Advanced Communicator's manual. Our dues have been collected on time, and Terri reminded the members present to consider attending the officer training which is coming up in February.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gestures: 50% of your message

On Nov. 17 Stone Road Toastmaster Alan Cook presented an Education session on the use of gestures. In his usual, highly entertaining manner, Alan offered some useful insights into this important aspect of public speaking. He pointed out that only 50% of communication is transmitted through words, the other 50% is the result of body language and gestures. Alan recommended that club members read their handbook titled "Gestures: Your Body Speaks", and in particular he highlighted page 23 which is a self-evaluation checklist.
Alan demonstrated that good posture not only demonstrates confidence, enthusiasm and positive energy, it also helps speaking mechanics. An upright posture allows for better breathing and smooth movement. A strong stance not only looks confident, it grounds the speaker thus helping to overcome and anxiety.
Hand gestures are essential for emphasizing a point or providing a visual representation of a concept, according to Alan. A good gesture can get the audience's attention and keep it. He explained that it is important to be more than a "talking head."
Alan did caution the group that gestures which are not conscious or controlled can be a distraction when speaking. Any hand or body movement must look natural, but be deliberately undertaken. Movements should be purposeful reported Alan. He advised club members to take a step when changing the topic of their talk, rather than randomly pacing. It was also pointed out that the size of gestures should be scaled to fit the room. Grand gestures may look appropriate in an auditorium, but seem over-the-top in a smaller venue.
Alan ended his comments by pointing out the importance of eye contact. A speaker should never stare off into space, Making, and briefly sustaining, eye contact with specific people engages the whole group.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Stone Road Toastmasters Newsletter

The Stone Road vice president of public relations, Bani Arora, proudly announced the outcome of a recent contest to name our club's upcoming newsletter. Betty-Anne Ouellette suggested the winning name "The Stone Tablet."  The selection was made by a team of non-partisan judges which included; Sue Lebrecht, past Stone Road VP-PR, Gary Jones, past area Governor and Danve Castroverde, Town & Gown members and area Table Topic Champion.
The quality and quantity of suggestions made this a difficult decision reports Arora. Honorable mention go to Alan Cook for "Stone Road Speak Easy", Jennifer Percy for "Toasty Times" and Baldev Arora for "New Bright Beginning." Members eagerly await the first publication.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


   This special training program is geared for Toastmaster Executive members and anyone who might wish to consider a leadership position in the future. It is an opportunity to discuss club challenges with colleagues from other areas, and to get new ideas to keep our club enriched. Having members take the training also scores points towards our Distinguished Club status.

When: Sat., Feb. 7, 9:00 am to noon
Where: AGFA Cheers Club, 455 Phillip St., Waterloo
Cost: $8/person, or $40/club
Light refreshments provided.

Contact: Georgina Green

Friday, November 7, 2008

Youth Leadership Program

The Stone Road Toastmasters Club sponsored its second Youth Leadership Program this fall. Linda Neff hosted the meeting at St. James High School. The activity was open to senior students, and representatives from all three of Guelph's Catholic High School attended. Shown above are (left to right) Jon DeLallo from Bishop MacDonell, Brian Cass from St. James and Emily Stewart from Our Lady of Lourdes. During this 8 week program the participants learned the roles involved in running an efficient meeting. They each presented one ice breaker speech and a second 5 minute speech. Table Topics was a very popular activity as were the education sessions presented by members of the Stone Road group. Linda was assisted by Marion Reidel, and their hope is to run a program at Lourdes for grade 9/10 students in the second semester.
Congratulations to Linda for leading this important outreach program.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Mentor/Mentee Relationship

VP of Education, Terri Miller, has carefully reviewed the list of current members and is matching a "mentee" to each of our experienced speakers. She explained that not all Toastmaster Clubs undertake this approach, but the Stone Road group is a new and rapidly growing organization so this sort of partnership should prove useful. 

This relationship does not involve any extra meetings. It just identifies someone for new members to contact if they have questions about the various roles or procedures at Toastmaster meetings. The mentor can also assist with feedback on speech writing, or provide an opportunity to practice a presentation prior to standing up at a formal meeting. 

Terri will email members with their partner's name and contact information. Mentors are encouraged to reach out to their mentees, while mentees are advised to reflect on their goals to determine how the mentor can help.