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Meeting 2015-06-09

Today we had our first meeting in June. Our beloved president, Jill, was our Toastmaster today. It was kind of bitter sweet. It was bitter, because Jill has to leave the club due to her new job commitments. It was sweet because we had a huge turnout to say good bye to our dear president.

She talked about our successful bake sale and $232 that we raised in last week's fundraising event. She thanked everyone especially new members and admired their enthusiasm to make a successful fundraiser.

She also announced that for July and August we’ll have again a joint meeting with Club Interaction. The agenda will rotate between the two clubs and each club fills the roles every other week. She explained that holding joint meetings helps our club to save money. Jill said when we return in September to our place, everything would be ready and there’s no reason to be worried about the budget and hopefully we don’t need to increase the dues.

Firoozeh also announced 2015-06-27 as the last opportunity for new executives to participate in Club Officer Training at the Toastmasters Leadership Institute (TLI). Jill cheerfully announced that Natasha has taken the role of Treasurer in our next executive committee.

After such a nice start we continued with Vipul’s speech. He did his first speech "My Ice Breaker." He described the time that he got accepted in the university in India and then why he applied to get his masters degree in Canada. He is an eager engineer working for government. His goal of communication was reached when he noticed that in his homeland most people use cellphone and they can communicate easily with others around the world. In his speech he looked very confident and surprisingly he didn’t use his notes. Well Done Vipul!!!!!

The next part was Table Topics, led by Rana. Rana’s questions could be divided into two groups;  News and fun questions.

Almost all the members and also one of our guests participated in Table Topics and they provided pretty good answer; Good logic, nice examples, timely vocal variety and also fantastic body language. All the answers were in the time range between 1-2 minutes.

At the end of the meeting, Jill, talked about her goals as president and her happiness for reaching them. She mentioned her goals as follow:

Keep the club operating, bring fun and energy to the club, organizing the meetings, organizing a speech contest, and fundraising.

Jill closed the meeting on time.



2015 Bake Sale Success!

Congratulations everyone on a super successful bake sale! Fundraising is always a fun team effort.

Members donated tons of excellent baked goodies: a multitude of brownies, cookies, cakes, muffins, squares, dessert cups, and free smarties (thanks Erik!) covered two tables in the library lobby at noon today. When Tony from the library saw how full the first table was he asked "do you want another one?" And we gladly said "Yes!"

The Prize for the most visitors/colleagues showing up in support goes to... Percita!  She is always inspirational in motivating action. Seemed like every five minutes there was someone arriving who was invited by Percita. Good thing she was front and center at the tables.


Thanks to our $1 blitz at the end, we sold pretty much everything! We will use the money to book nine weeks worth of library room reservations in the Fall. Yeah!

Thank you bakers and makers, sellers and yellers. 
Thank you speakers and greeters, leaders and feeders. 
The Message Masters team effort was in full swing and I love how well we came together and represented Toastmasters with pride and dignity. Well done all the fun raisers and fundraisers!

The Prize for the most sought-after goodies goes to ... Rana and her teenage daughter for the Vegan peanut butter cookies. "Got anything vegan?" they asked. Thankfully, we were able to answer.

The Prize for the largest float ever goes to ... Karina! She brought us enough change to be able to make change for twenty dollar bills five times if we needed to. 


The Prize for the most original dessert goes to ... Firoozeh! She prepared a Persian rice dessert that caught the eye of many admirers and hungry souls. 

Thank you table topics masters who kept members on their toes and on their feet practicing their public speaking. I don't know if you got any visitors from the public, but I appreciate that everyone was ready to receive guests and demonstrate how our unique and lovable club works.    

My sincerest appreciation for everyone who donated their time, money, ideas, efforts and good energy to make this fundraising and public relations event go very, very smoothly. :). Whew.

Warmest regards,

Jill Abramczyk
Message Masters 7809



Meeting 2015-04-07

Today’s session was a lot fun. Before starting the meeting, our president, Jill distributed a handout, an article titled “The Best Public Speaking Tips from 90 years of Toastmasters” by Rick Spence from the National Post. Thanks Jill for this nice resumption!!

We were pleased to welcome a guest, Corina. She heard about us through EventBrite.

Percita already started setting up the room by the time our Sergeant at Arms, Natasha, arrived, enabling Natasha to open on time. At that moment, two members and a guest arrived, so she paused dramatically, or was it administratively, to enable them to get settled. Then she introduced our Toastmaster, Rana.

Rana welcomed members and our guest and mentioned a couple of changes in our agenda. She asked for volunteers to fill up the Grammarian role. Erik took Grammarian along with Ah Counter role.  Natasha and Percita had switched their roles. Rana continued with requesting Executive Committee reports.

Jill, our president, announced that the Executive Committee will have a meeting tomorrow to discuss several things including fundraising. She also reminded members about the District 61 District Council meeting and encouraged us to attend the conference to see the speakers. Percita, persuaded members to read Toastmasters magazines. She especially pointed out that the following articles are very interesting and helpful: “Why we do Handshakes” and “Storytelling in the Business Environment.”

Erik announced “unwavering” as word of the day. Unwavering is an adjective and means to be steady, unchanging, and constant. Members used this word for three times during the meeting.

We continued with Leonardo’s speech, inspirational project number 10, finishing his Competent Communication manual. The title of his speech was “Food.”

He opened his speech with picturing a delicious turkey in our imagination. He continued his speech with talking about when he was a little boy and her mother did her best in hope of helping him to get a layer of fat. He mixed his story with a lot of humor and continued with emphasizing on the vital importance of food in our life. He supported his main idea with examples to explain why we should eat good food. He talked about the social aspect of food in growing friendship, getting together, and exchanging ideas at dinner tables.

Sylvain was Leonardo’s speech evaluator. He pointed his speech as a great speech and admired his appropriate hand gestures and body language without using notes.

Leonardo received other feedbacks like: very nice transition between jokes and his main point and powerful ideas like the social aspect of food. Other feedbacks were: be more direct to what you expect from the audience, give some tips, and a better structure could work better.

The next part of our meeting was Table Topics which was presented by Jill. She started table topics with explaining how she had celebrated very simple events during the weekend. The events were unpacking several boxes for her mother, enjoying a ride with her spouse,  and then returning home and celebrating with dogwatchers. The theme was “celebration” and she asked us to connect the pictures with celebration. She had a bunch of upside down photos. Speakers were supposed pick one page, turn the page and read it and speak about it and connect it to a celebration. Janice, Natasha, Firoozeh and also our brave guest Corina spoke about the pictures. They were all in the time limit.

Percita was our today General Evaluator. She mentioned two points: 1- Natasha’s discretion to make a pause and giving people enough time to get settled down. 2-Rana’s friendly reminder to Sylvain, when he forgot to hand over the ribbon for completing CC to Leonardo.  Rana also asked them to return to the lectern and the entire club cheered on Leo for his effort to complete CC manual.

Congrats Leo for finishing your CC manual. We are so excited to hear your next speech from advanced manual. Good Luck!!

Rana continued speaking about role of Treasurer in the Executive Committee. She encouraged members to nominate for role of treasurer. She said that this role helps  experience how financial management works in a club. This is a skill that every body can transfer to work settings and will look good on the resume. This role gives individual a sense of being what it’s like to be the treasurer. Jill gave a powerful comment on this role and said that without the treasurer, club will not exist. Every club should send the dues at the end of September to Toastmaster International in order to be able to be active and continue as a club in good standing.

At the end of the meeting Firoozeh drew members’ attention to the last page of Competent Leadership manual. This page is a record sheet for roles that everybody takes in during the meetings. She encouraged members to fill up the roles and get credit and complete their Competent Leadership manual along with Competent Communication manual.



Meeting 2015-03-24

We had our first meeting in March today. Although our Sergeant at Arms, Jyothi, set up the meeting on time, we had to wait 3 minutes for our timer to reach the meeting. Anyways, she banged the gavel at 12:03. She started meeting speaking about spring and also giving greetings to Firoozeh for Now Rouz.

Erin, our Toastmaster continued the meeting with speaking about her experience last week in Halifax and Calgary. While the weather in those cities was well above 10 degrees, in Ottawa she faced much colder weather. Jill talked about the club executive committee election in May. She also said that from next week, every member of the committee will take turn to talk about their role in the committee and will answer questions. Erik also said that Craig won the Division speech contest last week, representing our club. Congratulations Craig!

Then Erin asked for volunteers to fill the available roles. We are experiencing a new challenge: taking two roles due to fewer people in our meetings. Jyothi took the role of Ah Counter, Janice took the role of Grammarian and Timer, and Jill took the role of General Evaluator and Speech Evaluator. What teamwork Message Masters!

Janice introduced “halcyon” as word of the day. She explained that it has two meanings: 1- calm; peaceful; tranquil and 2- rich; wealthy; prosperous.

The meeting continued with two speeches. The first speaker was Firoozeh. She prepared her project number 8 from Competent Communication Manual which is “get comfortable with visual aids.” The title of her speech was “Now Rouz, Iranians’ New Year.” She used props and handouts as visual aids. She set a table, which Iranians set for this occasion, called “Haftsin.” Then she spoke about the vernal equinox and the first day of spring which is called "Now Rouz" in Iran. She continued with all the preparations for Now Rouz and the traditions involved on and after that day. She finished with a toast to all the members and wished them happiness, health and prosperity for the New Year. She spoke 10 minutes and 30 seconds which well is above the limited range.

Natasha, her speech evaluator, suggested she tell about the booklet first and then take the audience through the pages. Also it’s much better to change her body movement rather than repeating in one direction.

Our next speaker was Erik, working towards his Advanced Communicator Gold. He chose project 4 of the Competent Communication manual which is ”how to say it.” His speech title was, “So, That’s What You Call It.”

His speech was about memory. He started his speech with a quote, “go and buy some principals. If you don’t like them, I have others.” He connected this quote to memory. In supporting his main point, he used several examples. He spoke about digital cameras and the abundant photos that we take and most of them are redundant. He compared memorizing necessary information with taking useful shots with camera. He also explained how digital gap has made everything from taking photo to searching a topic much easier. Nowadays, we don’t need to rely on our short term memory. However, remembering the analog age and the days that he had a good short memory remains nostalgic for him. His speech took 5 minutes and 42 seconds. He used word of the day two times in his speech.

Jill evaluated Erik’s speech. Before starting the evaluation, she encouraged all the members to take evaluation role in our meetings. She summarized the process of evaluation in two steps: think about “what worked for you and what else would have worked”, then she continued with her evaluation.

Jill liked the way that he compared old fashion camera, digital camera and memory. She liked his humor and also the characters that he had used in his speech. She suggested he could divide his speech into two categories; things that are mechanical and memory, and then talk about the two categories.

Our word of the day was “halcyon” and it was a challenging word and members used it 4 times.

Jill was also our General Evaluator. She started with thanking her team for doing a great job. After calling her team to give their reports, she admired the way that Erin started the meeting and by bringing up some information from her own life made the meeting warm and pleasant. She also admired the way that Natasha had started her evaluation with saying, “thanks for such an educational speech”, she suggested all to start with phrases like that.

In terms of Ah and Ums, Firoozeh had the most Ahs in her speech.



2015-02-10 Table Topics Contest

Today, we held our Table Topics contest, organized and led by our very enthusiastic and capable VIce President of Education, Firoozeh, pictured below on the left with our Club President, Jill.

Erin served as Chief Judge.

Erik is a member and also serves as Area 21 Governor.

Here are our fabulous contestants, left to right: Leo (2nd place winner), Jill (1st place winner), Rachael (winner), and Jyothi (winner). Well done everyone!

If you wonder why everyone is a "winner," it is because we sincerely believe that the contest is not about competing "against" anyone, but about competing "with" others to bring out the best in all. That way, we are all winners.

Details of the Contest

by Firoozeh

Message Masters Table Topics contest

11:45. All judges, officials and contestants were in our meeting room, all except for Leonardo, one of the contestants.

The Chief Judge, Erin, was briefing the three judges, ballot counter and timer. Two of the Judges were from other clubs. Rana served as both Timer and Ballot Counter. Erin handed out the judge’s guide and ballot, timer record sheet and counter tally sheet. She had all the eligibility forms ready.

Firoozeh, the Contest Chair, was eyeing the clock. It was 11:50. Leonardo hadn’t showed up, but the show must go on, so she started briefing of Sergeant at Arms, Fedra, and the other contestants. The briefing included drawing lots for speaking order: 1- Rachael 2- Jyothi 3- Leonardo and 4- Jill

It was 11:58. All briefings were finished. Fedra stepped to the lectern and with a warm smile announced, “I’ll hit the gavel at 12:00 sharp.”

11:59. Suddenly the door knob slowly turned. LEONARDO! Fedra rapped the gavel to open the Message Masters 2015 Table Topics contest. She welcomed everybody and introduced the Contest Chair, Firoozeh.

The contest continued by welcoming our Area 21 Governor, Erik Borgersen, and other participants. Then she emphasized the importance of impromptu speaking skills. Erin described the judging criteria. At 12:13, Fedra escorted all the contestants except Rachael to the corridor. Rachael remained at the back of the room. As Firoozeh called her name and read the topic, Fedra also showed Rachael a printed copy of it:

“Nowadays, are children as respectful as they were when you were 15 years old? Why?”

Rachael proceeded to the front of the room and presented her response. The procedure repeated in the same way for Jyothi, Leo and Jill.

Once the judges finished completing their ballots, Rana and Erin collected them and left the room to count the score. Meanwhile, Firoozeh invited the contestants for an interview.

Jyothi spoke about her favourite quotation from Albert Einstein, “There are only two ways to lead your life: one as though everything in life is miracle and other as if nothing in life is a miracle.” Jyothi said she believes in miracles and shared her story of starting work in the Government of Canada as a new immigrant.

Jill said she always looks at everything from a positive perspective. She shared her recent experience about a competition for a promotion at work. For unknown reasons, they cancelled the exam and obviously the results. Although she was among the successful candidates, she looked at it in a positive way. Now she continues to prepare for the next exam.

Rachael described how great ideas that she reads or hears inspire her. Firoozeh added that one of Rachael’s speeches inspired her.

Leonardo described a Latin quote, “Verba volant, scripta manent,” which means “spoken words fly away, but what is written stays.” He said he really believes in this quote. He added we might say many things, but until they are on paper, they can’t be taken seriously.

The contestants each received a Certificate of Participation as a memento of the contest. Rana and Erin returned to the room. Firoozeh announced the results:

Second place winner: Leonardo
First place winner: Jill!

We cheered the winners. We believe everyone is a winner, just for participating, as a contestant, as a contest official, or taking it all in as a member of the audience.

The contest was a success for the whole club. We worked as a team to make it happen, so we’re also winners of each other in this fine team. We gave ourselves a cheer and closed the meeting with taking photos.