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Meeting 2014-09-23

Our Toastmaster, Rachael, opened the meeting on time and spoke about the Competent Communication and Competent Leadership manuals. Then Erik presented “judgment” for the Word of the Day, which means “an act or instance of judging.”

Our President, Jill, planned a training session for us. Coach Craig would deliver what he called a whirlwind briefing: “Successful Evaluation - Feedback That Inspires.” Then we would hear Natasha’s entry in the Humorous Speech Contest, followed by Rana practising for the Evaluation Contest by evaluating Natasha’s speech.

In our evaluation training we learned about the “Sandwich Method” for giving constructive feedback in three parts: good, bad, and good; or bread, meat and bread. He suggested the analogy was imprecise and proposed a modified sandwich: rapport, feedback, inspire.

He said that the evaluator should listening intently, focusing on the criteria for the speech project. An evaluator can take notes. He demonstrated examples of giving specific feedback, contrasting words to avoid and words to use. He finished by describing congruence where the material, our bodies, face, voice and mannerisms all work together. For details, visit:

The next person who stood up behind the lectern was Natasha. She presented her project number two from the Competent Communication manual. She spoke about vegetarianism and encouraged us to stop eating meet to the benefit of our health and our planet. She shared with us her experience and positive impact on her life by giving up meat.

First Rana and then all people around the table evaluated her speech. Everyone was trying to apply the training we just received from Craig. Evaluators liked her body language and the logical flow of her speech. For such a serious subject, for the Homorous Speech Contest, they suggested she add more humor to make the message more palatable, indicate her topic, and be alarmed about her message.

After that we intended to give Rana feedback on her evaluation, but ran out of time. Craig wrapped up the evaluation part by describing some criteria for the Evaluation Contest, specifically that the conclusion must summarize the evaluation and encourage the speaker. As an exercise, he suggested Rana write a three minute evaluation at home.

Jill as General Evaluator, asked Timer, Firoozeh and Toastmaster, Rachael, to cut discussions when we are short of time. Good lesson thanks Jill!! Good practice being diplomatically assertive in real-world situations.

Today several good things happened:

  • We had a new member. Pranav joined our club. Welcome Pranav to our fun and friendly club. He was so enthusiastic to take his first role as Ah-counter.
  • We received some valuable training.
  • We had three guests. Two of them participated in our last meeting. So we might have new members in upcoming week.


  • Rana announced that eight members submitted their dues so we can continue as a club in good standing. She also handed out the receipts.

Reporter: Firoozeh


Meeting 2014-09-16

We had a wonderful start! All around the table were enthusiastic people. We welcomed four guests.

Our Toastmaster, Percita introduced our club members as a "family" where we have fun and learn. We learn public speaking and leadership skills with the support of our comrades. What better way to have fun than with our word of-the day, "delectable," an adjective meaning delicious, mouth-watering, appetizing, extremely beautiful or attractive.

Jill as Table Topics Master suggested that speaking from the heart and mind is the ultimate goal for a speaker.  She did something new for our club. She brought real toasting glasses and filled them with water. Jill what’s going on here, thank you!!! That was preparation... She handed out a one-page quick reference on proposing toasts, demonstrated a toast, then it was our turn. To propose a toast:

  1. introduce yourself
  2. describe why the recipient deserves the toast
  3. ask the other members to rise
  4. give clear instruction on the wording of the toast
  5. lead the other members in saying the toast and drinking the beverage.

Erik, Firoozeh, Sylvain, Yin Fung and Craig were chosen. Erik toasted Mike Duffy as a politician. Sylvain toasted Celine Dion as his special singer. Firoozeh toasted her professor at the university as a person who made a great impression in her life. Yin Fung toasted her father as her hero. Craig used an article by Ezra Levant about Justin Trudeau to toast and defend those “on the fringe”!!!

Rana presented her number 5 project from the Advanced manual, Speaking Persuasively. The topic of her presentation was "Leadership 2.0" asking what kind of leaders we need for the public service. She demonstrated her point by contrasting two managers with different leadership styles: one directing and the other inspiring. In addition to good examples, her open body language made her speech more engaging. She received feedback on her speech, like asking her to describe how the different leadership styles affected her performance and a suggestion on how to make the talk more concise.

Valerie as General Evaluator, doing her first evaluation, spoke for five minutes, sharp, and she asked some questions from the audiences about Table Topics, which made it interesting.


Meeting 2014-09-09

For start of the meeting our Toastmaster, Craig, welcomed our two guests and talked about the importance of attending Toastmaster meetings. He suggested that attending Toastmasters could be considered as an hour of training for the employees. Then he talked about different time schedules of about 80 clubs in Ottawa and then asked Grammarian and Timer to talk about their roles. Then he announced that members may pay their dues, and Rana talked about the fee which mostly goes for renting the room in the Main library. Some of the members paid their dues during the meeting.

Rachael like always had a fun way to start Table Topics. Fedra, Rana, Firoozeh, Hala (brave guest), and Natasha were chosen to talk about the topic. She distributed a paper with a name on it. The selected speaker turned over the paper and read the name. The names were door, suitcase, briefcase, etc.

Jill's presentation project was “Presenting An Award.” Her topic was "Shapeshifter of the Year." She talked about Rana and portrayed her hard work very beautifully and talked about her ability to play in different roles at the club. Jill gave the award to Rana and she got very happy and thanked her sincerely. It was a surpring award to one of the club members which everybody enjoyed. Fedra suggested to Jill that it could be interesting if she had played a piece of music in the background.

As General Evaluator, Erik analyzed the speeches that we had made in Table Topics and gave practical comments for everyone, like feeling free to depart from the topic.

Our meeting came to an end with our guests comment about the meeting.

• A three-hour Contest Judging workshop from 6-9 pm will be held on Thursday at Jean Talon Building.
• Dues will increase for Message Master membership to $110

Reporter: Firoozeh


Meeting: 2014-06-03

Toastmasters can be fattening. You heard it here first. Toastmasters can be fattening, if you precede a meeting with a curbside BBQ sausage with all the fixings. A few of us started turning this into a weekly treat, or what might more accurately be called an addiction. They sure are tasty!

Many organizations strive to implement Lean processes. Today, our timer reduced the timing process by 66.7% by getting lost in thought and displaying only the red card. That made for a few exciting moments for speakers. La-la-la-la-la RED!

Table Topics filled today's meeting.

Fedra started us off by responding to "People are usually terrified by..." public speaking she said. She described some of the common fear responses and concluded with the suggestion that Toastmasters can help.

As Craig walked to the lecturn to answer the question, "Who influenced you the most in your life?" Jill hinted, "Me!" Without skipping a beat, Craig began with "The person who influenced me the most in my life was... Jill!"  Craig is never one to back down from a challenge. He went on to describe, in varying shades of comedy and serious, how Jill's ever-present gratitude and enthusiasm affect him in a postive way.

Jill enthusiastically described her hero. No, it isn't Craig. It's her dog Waldo, which survived puppyhood as a wild dog in the Turks and Caicos.

Natasha accepted the challenge of describing Toastmasters 50 years from now. She suggested that we would see a situation like in the movie "WALL-E" where we would float in chairs with computers. We would have computer chips in our heads and would be able to process information at the speed of thought. [Editorial: As long as it's something more powerful than a ZX81, we should be good to go.]

Sylvain described some activities he did this week:

  • He came to Toastmasters at the suggestion of a former member of our club
  • He built a deck
  • He will leave to travel abroad
  • Networking with people

The topics are serious and silly. We take the exercise seriously in our oratorical gymnasium, but ourselves, not so seriously.


Meeting: 2014-03-18

In wintery weather, a springy Jill as Toastmaster set out the tone of a cheerful and exuberant meeting. The meeting started with few important remarks:

Valerie mentioned that the skills she acquired at our training were appreciated during a meeting at work. She explained how the nonjudgmental, experimental atmosphere at Message Masters helped her improve her public speaking skills, with immediate results in her professional life.

Paula proposed that the General Evaluator (GE) automatically fill in the Meeting Reporter role. The rationale behind this suggestion was that the GE is already conducting in-meeting evaluation. It is just one more step to put this assessment on paper. The proposition was voted on and approved by members.

Craig informed us about the Area 21 Contest where he won 1st place in the International Speech Contest and Rana won 2nd place in Table Topics. Congratulations to Craig and Rana! Craig moves on to the Division C Speech Contest on March 20.

We continued our meeting with two great speeches. Our new member, Firoozeh, gave her Ice Breaker speech about the ups and downs of her experience of immigrating to Canada, the obstacles in the process, and eventual success. Everyone in the room was impressed with the speech’s fluidity and coherence, the seeming ease with which it was delivered and the emotional roller-coaster of its content. Craig, in his evaluation, praised Firoozeh for the high starting point in her Toastmaster saga and encouraged her to keep it up.

In the second speech, Rana took us on a trip, a history trip to Istanbul. Thanks to Rana’s thorough preparation, visual aids, and talent as a speaker, we were all immersed in the joys and sorrows of Constantinople, from its first (re-)inauguration in 324 A.D., as the capital of the Roman Empire by Constantine the Great, to its falling to the Mehmed II in the historic battle of 1453, to the new, rediscovered glory under the Ottoman Empire.

During the closing remarks, guests and members were invited to speak. Michelle and Percita both mentioned that some other groups are maybe more rigorous in following rules. As a group, we discussed that while we appreciate rigour and structure and understand how they add value to our meetings, we also like to create a free space where creativity can flourish. Rana encouraged members to take up official roles within the Message Masters Executive and Percita suggested that we could add more information to the Agenda, such as where the members are in their Toastmaster journey.

Toastmaster: Jill Abramczyk
Timer: Valerie Organ
Grammarian and Ah-Counter: Michelle St-Pierre
General Evaluator and Meeting Reporter: Paula Popovici
Speech: Firoozeh Ghobadi
Evaluator: Craig Senior
Speech: Rana Dincoy

Reporter: Paula Popovici

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