Are You Ready?

Tuula Redditt sketchARE YOU READY? Are you ready ... for the COVID-19 pandemic? Every morning our alarm wakes us to news on the COVID-19 Virus and its rapid case increase all over the world. As Toastmasters what are you doing to prepare for this?  Fellow Toastmasters many of our clubs have been stricken by this news and unfortunately it lands right before renewal time for some clubs. What do we say to our members? How can we help keep our clubs going during this outbreak?

As VP Membership for our Speak to Inspire TM noon hour club we were lucky enough to have 8 members renew to have our minimum to be in good standing. Some corporate clubs aren't so lucky. With the economic meltdown and businesses suffering there is the possibility of layoffs and cutbacks. Some corporate clubs have cancelled their meetings until further notice.

How is Toastmasters International dealing with this situation and all the questions their valued members might have? I went online and chatted with TI on their chat line and at the time our districts in Ontario were not affected and should continue business as usual. That was Mar 7th before they declared it a pandemic. Now I cannot get on their chat line. 

In a previous blog I reflected on a story about my experiences with health issues that prevented me from attending Toastmasters and events this past month because my immune system was at risk. Here are some tips on how we can all do our part in preventing ouselves from getting sick moving forward.

As Toastmasters we love shaking hands and we have recently discovered that avoiding shaking hands can help prevent the spread of germs don't you agree? That being said our club has come up with a not-so-secret handshake by simply tapping elbows as our greeting as a precaution. Or perhaps even better a bow. This is a great start and here are some more tips we can do as well:

  • If you feel sick in any way STAY AT HOME and sleep it off and sweat it out. There is also a super cold bug going around. Avoid the hospital if you can.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after going out.
  • Do not touch your face. It's amazing how we get into a habit of touching our nose, our mouth and rubbing our eyes with our germ infested fingers.
  • Avoid eating in the car. Have sanitizing wipes to wipe down steering wheel and car interior.
  • Tissues and every day necessities are priced through the roof but stock up!
  • At our last meeting a lady wore gloves...smart lady! It was quite fashionable too.
  • Masks are no where to found so bring a scarf especially outside if you have a cold so your lungs don't freeze leading to pneumonia. I'm sewing up my own masks made out of coffee filters.... just in case.
  • Meetings and events are cancelling meetings for an unknown period of time. Stay tuned for email flashes and announcements sent by our district and most of all stay safe and keep your family and friends safe.

These are just a few tips that we can share with anyone and everyone you know... not just Toastmasters.

As the pandemic develops I will update what I know just to keep this blog filled with helpful information.

Above all keep a positive outlook and we can beat this outbreak and hopefully share our stories of survival ... at Toastmasters!

Your D86 2018-2019 Toastmaster of the Year, Tuula Redditt

First Time To The Conference?

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As a First Timer to the Conference you get treated royally. A special reception is held just for you where you have the opportunity to rub elbows with the District Trio, Toastmasters International Dignitaries and the accomplished DTM’s. A team building exercise helps break the ice and helps you get to know your fellow first timers, DTM's and Dignitaries a little bit better. This is done especially for the First Timers to welcome them and make them feel comfortable in unfamiliar territory when attending their first conference.

We want the First Timers experience to be a positive one. A chance to learning, gain knowledge, experience the workshops, observe the best of the best speakers, make new friends and have a lot of fun.

I’ll be looking out for you April 24th.

Eva Britton, DTM

District 86 Conference Co-Chair 2020

LINK to register on Eventbrite

LINK to conference page

Toastmasters: Your Pathway to Emotional Intelligence

By Philip Lai ACS, Area D82 Director, member of both Clarkson Toastmasters and Port Credit Club


There are more than 168,000 Toastmasters Clubs in 143 countries around the world today. Of the 358,000 plus members worldwide, many join Toastmasters to gain more confidence in public speaking. Since 1924, the Toastmasters program has provided a well-structured, positive and feedback-rich environment for members to build capability and confidence in communication at members’ own pace. The unique meeting format and educational system provide a near perfect environment in which members could invigorate their emotional intelligence, an integral part of effective leadership, while having fun. 

What is Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?

It is “the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships”. (Working with Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman).
According to Goleman, EQ is essentially a composite set of competencies that can be learned and significantly improved over time if appropriate learning conditions are present.
Generally speaking EQ is made up of five clusters of competencies. Mastery of these EQ competencies is critical to the overall successes and well-being in many aspects of our life according to the researchers.

The 5 Emotional Intelligence Competencies and Toastmasters Experiences

  1. Self Awareness - self knowledge, self confidence, and emotional awareness.
    Toastmasters Experience - Evaluation, with encouragement and constructive feedback, is the cornerstone of the Toastmasters program. Essentially, all speakers in the meeting will receive feedback one way or the other from fellow members. Sometimes, the feedback helps confirm what we already knew about our strengths and weaknesses. Other times, the evaluators would shed light on our “blind spots”, which could be our unrecognized strengths or stumbling blocks. These insights are critical and invaluable to the development of our self knowledge and understanding. 
  2. Self Regulation - self control and self management.
    Toastmasters Experience – While a typical Toastmasters speech would last between 5-7 minutes, it often takes hours if not days to prepare for it. It takes much efforts and planning to ensure we have a coherent message for the audience. Obviously, a great deal of self-management and prioritization are required to allow us to stay focused on the task. 
  3. Motivation - achievement, commitment, initiative, and optimism.
    Toastmasters Experience – Motivation works multiple ways in Toastmasters. First, members get guidance in developing our communication skills based on a well-structured curriculum called Pathways. We choose among the 11 Paths that are currently available based on own interest and aspiration. Each Path covers a variety of learning projects and speaking assignments spanning across 5 levels of complexity. Members’ achievement of each level is promptly recognized and celebrated at meetings.
    Second, members are encouraged to pursue our learning at our own pace. While it is not uncommon for many of us to complete our Pathways Level 1 in a number of months, quite a few others have indeed finished their entire Path in a similar time frame. It is therefore entirely up to us to make the journey a “dash” or a “marathon” as we are the one responsible for our own growth. 
  4. Empathy - awareness of others’ feelings, needs, and concerns.
    Toastmasters Experience – Members develop our speaking skills through giving and receiving mutual evaluation and feedback. The desire and ability to provide constructive feedback to each other is very important. For feedback to be of value to the receivers, it must be given with sensitivity and care. Above all, members need to have a heightened sense of awareness of the speaker’s feelings, goals and concerns. Empathy, therefore, is a key competence in providing constructive feedback and evaluation that motivate.
    As research has shown, empathy is a learned set of behaviors which can be improved through practices and receiving feedback. The good news is that the feedback-rich environment provided by the Toastmasters program offers an optimum condition by which we can develop our empathic capabilities effectively.
  5. Social Skills - influence, leadership, teamwork, and conflict management.
    Toastmasters Experience – members are offered many opportunities to develop social skills through the meetings and educational programs.
    It is also worth mentioning here is there are plenty of leadership development opportunities through serving on the club’s executive committee. By serving fellow members, club executives have the opportunity to sharpen their inter-personal and influencing skills, learn to collaborate with others by working through individual differences, and resolving conflicts constructively.

Conclusion

Emotional Intelligence is a learnable set of skills that matter much to our everyday life and overall well-being. With the right learning conditions, EQ competencies could be developed and greatly enhanced. The above-mentioned Toastmasters experiences represent a small sample of such learning opportunities. Readers are cordially invited to discover and benefit from the many more growth opportunities as you immerse yourselves in the vast array of Toastmasters experiences.

Dear Toastmaster Authors

Are you a Toastmasters Published Author or Do you know someone who is?

How would you like to connect with 200+ people in less than 3 days?

  • Sell your own products (book, DVD, multimedia, etc.) & Keep 100% of your earnings
  • Inspire a large audience and Gain exposure with your story
  • Have a dedicated space and Connect with other Toastmasters who are authors

Access poster & guidelines for the Author's corner HERE>>>
Register by April 4, 2020 for the full conference at  HERE>> to book your spot. 

Contact the Author Corner Chair Aurie Contosta at aurelieanne@hotmail.com to get your booth set up at

the Hilton Meadowvale, 6750 Mississauga Road, ON L5N 2L3

Thank you,
AURELIE-ANNE CONTOSTA
Authors’ Corner Chair

2020 Recipient of the Communication & Leadership Award

Anna Silgardo Founder of Artists In Momentum

Anna SilgardoA strong voice in the community, Anna Silgardo, is the Founder of Artists in Momentum, an organization committed to empowering, nurturing and sustaining the spirit of the individual. Through her organization Anna has taken a leadership role in encouraging self-reflection, stimulating the imagination while building self-esteem through creative self-expression. Believing in the therapeutic value of the arts, she uses it as the foundation to promote mental well-being, one life at a time, at a corporate and community level.
In April of 2016, Anna championed and took the lead on delivering programs as holistic outlets to help people deal with life’s many challenges. Spearheading the project, she brought together a group of multi-faceted artists to create 'The Starfish Collective' and went on to successfully deliver a unique program. First, of its kind in our community, this was made possible because of Anna's intense passion, leadership, communication skills while being dedicated to engagement in the arts while promoting mental well-being.
This is not the first time she has initiated community projects. In 2003, she created a series of interactive sessions for children and delivered them during March break to several Mississauga libraries. She has engaged senior executives at Bell Media and local Parent Advisory Boards to bring art to school corridors and corporate walls. Two of her 468 square foot murals, stand as silent testaments to this champion of the arts.
Over the past five years, she has worked tirelessly in building up artists from Mississauga and the GTA, encouraging and giving them a platform to showcase their art. In 2014 she gave young and emerging artists the platform to display their work. In 2015, 'Bun Bu Ichi' – a unique concept brought martial artists and visual artists together, to demonstrate that the artistic spirit moves both martial and visual artists.
In 2018, her ‘Through Glass' Art Series brought greater social awareness on issues surrounding mental health, and the stigma associated with it. Many of the artists who displayed their work, persevere through mental health challenges. The art series ended in a symposium 'Art in Everyday Life'. From concept to delivery, the symposium brought a diverse group of professionals together, to discuss the impact of arts as a tool for well-being. She started the first Arts for Mental Health Steering Committee for the Mississauga Region. Anna is constantly building networks with arts groups and community partners like the SAWITRI Theatre Group, The Mississauga Arts Council, WriteWell, Sky Studio, and the Saldanha Health Centre to develop and implement social prescribing through creative self-expression for the well-being of the community.
Presented by Mayor Bonnie Crombie, she is the 2019 recipient of the Mississauga Arts Council's Arts for Health Award, sponsored by Bell Canada. The award recognizes and validates Anna's leadership in developing and conducting arts for mental well-being programs in the community, especially among new immigrant women, isolated and marginalized individuals. Mississauga Mayor lauded Anna and her organization for "putting to work the therapeutic value of creative expression, as a means for enabling them to find themselves in their new country, to regain self-confidence, reduce anxiety and dispel depression, to ultimately achieve transformation results in every participant.”

Awards and Recognition
2015 – Gold Merit Award – Bell Canada
2014 to 2017 – Special recognition of contribution to the arts at various Bell locations in Toronto (can provide articles if required)
2015 – Winner of ‘Open Choice Award’ Mississauga Arts Council for community mental health art initiatives
2016 – Nominated for Laurie Pallet patron of the arts award – Mississauga Arts Council
2018 – Nominated for Heritage award Mississauga
2019 – Recognized at Queens Park for Community Arts
2019 – Nominated for Laurie Pallet patron of the arts award – Mississauga Arts Council
2019 – Recipient of Arts for Health Award – Mississauga Arts Council, sponsored by Bell Canada

My Journey As VP of Membership

What I learned at my Club Officer Training by Tuula Redditt DTM 

I wanted to create this blog post because I realized that I had aquired a lot of great information from my officer training on Feb 1st 2020 with our District Club Growth Director Clifford Graham DTM and I wanted to acknowledge those efforts. We often start to get tired of our roles in our 2nd phase of training because the year is winding down. Our Area directors are frantically paying visits to their clubs, running club, area and division contests right in the middle of cold and flu season and we all feel a little tired. 

This being said I want to give a big thank you to the District Trio who try their best to be present and to Present quality training sessions for our club officers. I remember years ago when we randomly selected volunteers and great leaders from our District to perform these training sessions and sometimes they were good and sometimes especially in the 2nd phase they lost a bit of lustre. 

I was fully energized after Clifford's session and became empowered to put an application to the Spring Conferenece Education Chair Nicole Holas to do a workshop at the conference ... for the first time! 

As VP of Membership we have a responsibility along with our Treasuer and Secretary to renew our club memberships for those clubs who renew every 6 months. Not only can we work together to make this task easier I realized the earlier you do this, the easier it is. So I challenge you all to hopefully have started talking about it Feb 1st but to also start collecting memebership dues NOW!
March 31st will come very quick along with the nice weather so PITTER PATTER! 

Once again thankyou to the District Trio for doing an awesome job! keep up the great work.

Tuula Redditt DTM, MSP, EH1
VP Membership. Speak To Inspire TM, Brampton

Officer TrainingFeb1st

Phil Coakley, Club Treasuer, Ngozi Ugoh VP/PR, Felicia Simpson, club Secretary, Tuula Redditt, VP Membership, Razina Patel, President and daughter

GOING BEYOND THE DISTRICT 86 EXPERIENCE

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We joined Toastmasters primarily to become more effective communicators and stronger leaders, in every area of our lives. But why confine ourselves to just the home Club environment and experience? I was humbled and thrilled to go beyond the Club environment and experience, when I was called upon to be the Chief Judge at Toastmasters District 60, Division G, Area 63 International and Evaluation Speech Contests. The Area 63 Contests were held at the Etobicoke Civic Centre, February 12, 2020, with Area 63 Director Nancy McInnis, ACS, CL as Contest Organiser, and Mashaal Effendi, EC4 as Contest Chairs (part of his HPL Project), under the leadership of Division G Director Angela Ho, DTM.
People often say, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. The collage captures the spirit and essence of the contests. The Organisers and Speaking from Experience Advanced Toastmasters # 1818485, the hosting Club did an amazing job of running a cool and flawless event, with support from Volunteers from numerous Clubs in both District 60 and District 86 - with lots of fun, camaraderie and inspirational speeches.
Congratulations to all the District 60 Area 63 Contestants! Congratulations to the Area 63 Winners moving forward to the next Division G level contests. There were a number of familiar faces, including the District 86 Leadership Team. The contests introduced those from District 86 to “new” Speakers, Speaker Champions and a World Class Speaking Coach. The contests provided a unique opportunity to connect and network, across boundaries, with fellow Toastmasters and District Leaders from District 60. All in all, it was a most rewarding experience. A synergistic win for Toastmasters and the Community!
For additional information, please refer to:
www.toastmasters60.org
www.facebook.com/toastmasters60

George How Pak Hing, PEng, DTM
OTM Oakville Toastmasters # 5940499, Club Founder
Area Director of the Year, 2016-2017
February 15, 2020

That’s Magical!

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 There’s something magical about the start of a new year that brings excitement and fresh hopes. We make new year resolutions, create plans and aim to improve ourselves in all sorts of wholesome ways. But do we always take the time to reflect on what’s already inside us - what we’ve learned, how we’ve grown, people we’ve met on our journey and the experiences we’ve had? This year, for the first time in my life, I did. And its been one of the most rewarding exercises I’ve had. I sat down one Saturday morning in December with my coffee and journal and started writing.

I had an incredible year with travel, my son got married in June, and I started an amazing course that I’m absolutely loving. I’m learning to grow vegetables in my garden and deepening my meditation practice, so many things to be grateful for including my toastmaster journey!

There were so many firsts for me – I attended the 3-day District 86 conference and was inspired by the dedication, commitment, quality and courage of the speakers and evaluators, the powerful energy from the audience, the networking and the workshops.

I was honoured to accept the role of Area Director, albeit a little hesitantly, to be honest I wasn’t sure I had the skills, but so thankful I accepted! It’s given me the opportunity to witness incredible leadership, teamwork, courage, perseverance and hope from members to support a club that was struggling.

My biggest fear this year was chairing the Division T Open House, delegating, marketing, media and so much more! But I survived and learned new skills!

Go ahead, make plans for the coming year, seek out new opportunities for growth, but also take a moment to acknowledge and feel gratitude for all you’ve already done! That’s Magical!

Parveen Johal
Grand River Toastmasters (Cambridge)
Club 1908

Toastmasters International Values:  Integrity • Respect • Service • Excellence
Our Principles:   Lead By Example • Work / Play as a Team

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