Presidentʼs Message Is Communication Important in Our Lives? Alejandro TornatoI may be regarded as a communication or speaking freak. I say this because I am constantly reminding people of the importance and power of words to accomplish good in this world, or just the opposite, to accomplish evil. However, since one of my pastimes is to read, I recently came across a wonderful quote that I want to share with everyone, “Communication Skills Are the Lifeblood of a Successful Life . . . If You Plan On Spending Any Time There . . . ” After I read this quote for the very first time, I stopped . . . and then I read it again several more times. Each time I did this its meaning grew more and more inside me and I wanted to scream to the top of my voice, “It is true! It is absolutely true!” Did you ever have this kind of powerful experience? It’s really fascinating, and now let us go back to the main subject of communication. Let me ask you a very simple question: Is communication really important to you? Are you actively engaged in developing your communication skills? If you are honest with yourself, would you say that you are a better communicator today than you were one year ago? How about five years ago? Then, if you are not, why not? Perhaps it’s because the art of communication is not one of your priorities, and again, why not? Let us go back to the quote, and, as we do, let me ask you if you are living a successful life right now, or if you would like to begin living a successful life from now on? The answer to this question is crucial because from the quote we can clearly see that skills in communication are not just important, but are the “lifeblood” of a successful life. Please, pay particular attention to the word lifeblood, which is an indispensable or vital element essential for life itself. Therefore, without exaggerating, achieving mastery in your communication skills will determine the quality of life you will enjoy. I don’t know about you, but to me it is a very powerful motivator to work even harder to become a more effective communicator. My fellow club members, are you making the most out of Toastmasters? Do you remember the day you joined the organization through membership in a local club? Were you happy, excited, and ready to start working on improving your inherent abilities? Are you still as happy and enthusiastic to be a club member today as you were then? Well, you should be much happier now because my hope is you are noticing radical changes in you as a person. What changes am I talking about? Most likely when you first came to a meeting, you preferred to be hiding in a corner of the room, out of sight. Maybe you were the typical introvert kind and the idea of
Salty Tongues Newsletter September 2011 2 standing in front of a group to say something was nothing short of a near-‐death experience. However, now after working through the Toastmasters educational program, you feel much more confident in yourself and your abilities. When you are called to give an impromptu speech, you walk to the lectern much more assertive and sure of yourself. These are some of the radical changes I am talking about, which are indeed the lifeblood of a successful life. It is my desire, fellow Toastmasters and members of Salty Tongues, that all of us as a group will recommit ourselves to become super-‐energized communicators, making this club the very best that District 15 has ever had. Our New Club OfficersIn June, we elected our new club officers for Salty Tongues. They were installed in a special ceremony in July and will serve our club until June 30, 2012. Who are these dedicated men and women? What roles will they play in our club and your efforts to become better speakers and more confident leaders? Read on and you will find out who our new officers are and what their “official” roles are. As for their “true” roles, Alejandro Tornato, our new president, said in a recent interview, “Leadership is not about me, it is the joy that I get when I realize that my actions are affecting the lives of others in a positive way.” PresidentAlejandro Tornato, ACSOur president is responsible for providing the supportive club environment members need to fulfill their self-‐development goals, making sure that members benefit from the Toastmasters educational program, and helping the club recruit new members and retain current ones. VP of EducationKim Cobler, CCOur Vice President of Education is responsible for providing and maintaining the positive environment and programs through which members can learn and grow. VP MembershipJeri EvansOur Vice President of Membership is responsible for building membership and ensuring a strong membership base by satisfying the needs of all members. VP Public RelationsDoug Woodall, ACBOur Vice President of Public Relations is responsible for coordinating an active public relations and publicity program.
Salty Tongues Newsletter September 2011 3 SecretaryBruce Hager, ACG, CLOur Secretary is responsible for keeping clear and accurate records of club business and for seeing that the club remains financially stable. TreasurerKaren Kenner, ACS, ALBOur Treasurer is responsible for keeping clear and accurate financial records of club business and for seeing that the club remains financially stable. Sergeant at ArmsRon WoodlandOur Sergeant at Arms is responsible for maintaining club properties, arranging the meeting room, and welcoming members and guests at each meeting. (For more information, visit http://bit.ly/nLBqjY.) DCP Alejandro Tornato If you have been a member of Toastmasters for a period of time, I am sure you should have heard the term “DCP.” This term refers to the Distinguished Club Program. Now, for newer club members, you may ask the valid question: What is this program all about? The answer is quite simple. This program has been instituted by Toastmasters International in order to measure the status of clubs, its activities and involvement, and how engaged clubs are to the Toastmasters educational program. Let me explain all of this in a bit more detail so you the reader get a clearer picture. DCP consists of a maximum of 10 points that a club may reach throughout the Toastmaster year, which, by the way, runs from July 1 to June 30 every year. I want to make an important notation at this point, and it is the fact that DCP has a membership requirement element attached to it. The club must have at least 20 active members, or a net growth of at least 5 members, and then achieve the following goals: 1. Two CC manuals 2. Two more CC manuals 3. One AC Bronze, Silver, or Gold 4. One more AC Bronze, Silver, or Gold 5. One CL, AL Bronze, AL Silver, or DTM 6. One more CL, AL Bronze, AL Silver, or DTM 7. Four new members 8. Four more new members 9. Minimum of four club officers trained during each of two training periods 10. One membership renewal report and one club officer list submitted on time I would like to clarify some terms especially for newer club members. CC is the
Salty Tongues Newsletter September 2011 4 Competent Communicator Manual, which is the first manual new members receive upon joining a Toastmaster Club. The term AC refers to an Advanced Communicator Manual, of which there are several to choose from depending on the kind of projects a member wants to do. Another term is CL, which is the Competent Leadership Manual. The last, but certainly not the least, is the DTM or Distinguished Toastmaster Award. This is the highest designation achievable in the Toastmaster organization. Now, having defined the terms, and coming back to the DCP, if a club achieves 5 of the 10 possible goals, it becomes a Distinguished Club. If it achieves 7 goals, it becomes a Select Distinguished Club. If it achieves 9 goals, it becomes a President’s Distinguished Club. In conclusion, the DCP is a program that measures the strength and quality of any club within the Toastmasters organization worldwide, and every club is measured under exactly the same standards. Clubs that have consistently achieved the highest designation, have proved that the whole membership is working hard on its personal development and educational goals, and it is a club highly engaged and focused on continual improvement. Let us strive at the Salty Tongues Club to continue setting higher standards of excellence. Balance Your Speeches Doug Woodall At times I’m a very slow learner. One of the lessons I should have learned quicker than I did had to do with balancing my speeches. What am I talking about? I’m talking about putting the correct weight on the introduction, body, and conclusion of my speeches. I think it took me about five years to learn this lesson. Let’s start this way: Think of dumbbells that are 5, 10, 20, and 30 pounds each. Now let’s say the introduction and conclusion of a good speech should be about five pounds each. In the old days, I believe I put the proper weight on my conclusions, but most of my introductions were 10 to 20 pounds. They were too long. What was the consequence? My audience couldn’t always decipher where I wanted to take them. Introductions should be like sales pitches—clear, concise, and memorable. In the humorous speech I gave at our club and at the area contest last weekend, all I said was, When we have children, we worry that we will harm them, make wrong decisions for them, and they will blame us for all their problems. Let’s face the facts. No matter what we do we will harm our
Salty Tongues Newsletter September 2011 5 children, make wrong decisions for them, and they will blame us for all their problems. We can worry. We can fret. We can lose sleep, or we can accept our true role in their lives and embrace it. My message to you is embrace it. For most speeches at Toastmasters, this is the right length for your introductions. My speech is based on one I gave several years ago in our club. I still remember what my evaluator said about the body of my speech. In a nutshell, he said I didn’t balance it properly. (This didn’t surprise you, right?) In my first speech, I told several stories about each of my children. However, I told more stories about Max than I did about my daughters. If you think of dumbbells again, I put 45 pounds on Max and 20 pounds each on Megan and Mindy. In my revamped speech, I tell one story about each child. Because the stories are about the same length, the weight is about equal. I’d say about 30 pounds per kid. Not all speeches will be like my humorous speech. That is to say, not all topics will be weighed the same. You might cover three topics in a speech, and one topic needs 20 pounds, the next 30, and the last 40. This will probably work. If, on the other hand, you find the first topic is 5 pounds, the second 70, and the third 15, you probably don’t have the right balance. One solution is to cut out the first and third topics. A story is a perfect example of a speech that is 90 to 100 pounds. Another is to increase the weight on the first and third topics and split the second into smaller weights. When it comes to conclusions, I like it when speakers refer back to something they said in the introduction. This is my favorite method. However, it doesn’t work in all speeches. Another method is to recap the main points you made in your speech. One more is to show how you proved a point. Still another is to inspire your audience with an new idea, ask them to change something in their lives, or spur them into action. You should try to give your conclusions the same weight as your introductions; however, this is not a fast-‐set rule. Sometimes you can be more effective by giving it the lightest weight—maybe as light as two pounds. The conclusion of my humorous speech is about three sentences long. Of all the things we are told to do to be better speakers, I cannot think of one that is easier to do than this one: Balance Your Speeches. If you put the correct weights on your introduction, body, and conclusion, your audience will understand you better and enjoy your speech more. They will go away thinking you are a great speaker and they heard something interesting, inspiring, or profound.