a DTM is a DTM …

Except when it isn’t.

Toastmasters International is clear and consistent.
Once you have earned a DTM (distinguished Toastmaster) award (by earning CC,ABC, ACS, ACG, CL,ALB, ALS)
you can get another one by doing an ACG and an ALS – WITHOUT REDOING THE PREREQUISITES FOR THOSE!

This means a subsequent DTM earned this way IS NOT EQUIVALENT to a DTM earned by doing all the requirements.

It should be a DTM*

* = ACG and ALS only.

Update 11 Sep 2009
Now it seems TI is saying a DTM IS a DTM and people must complete all requirements from the start for subsequent DTM…
… That is a GOOD changes … now what about all those DTMs they awarded for just doing an ACG and ALB over?

D-I-Y Evaluations

Many Toasty clubs take 1 minute and ask audience to “give some feedback” to the speaker. Some use a copy of the manual speech evaluation page, some use a “sandwich” form.

What I notice though, is that most speakers waste that minute of their lives 🙂
OK, I’ll cut them a break, they just stepped up and gave a speech… but, use that minute.

Do a D-I-Y Evaluation!
Write yourself notes about what went great, what you would do better if (when) you do the speech again.
You know as well as anyone!

Waste of my time?

I find it annoying when a club has a website which says, “we meet EVERY Wednesday at noon.”

Oh, except THIS Wednesday.

And you emailed all your members.

Just not potential guests and visitors.


methinks: bad information os worse than no information.

Don’t you have a nice … back of your head

The past 2 Toastmasters meeting I attended were chaired by very nice, gracious Toastmasters.
Both of them followed their clubs’ “way of doing things” and sat unobtrusively …. behind the speaker.

Oops. Now I am not against unobstrusion (how is that for obfuscation 🙂 ? However …

The speaker deserves to have all in the room as part of their audience – including the chair/Toastmaster of the Day.
It also helps the chair be in the moment – it is far harder to get distracted reviewing the agenda and thinking about what comes next while you are actively listening to a speaker.

C’mon Down! take a seat (near the front is OK – in fact good!) and join us regular old Toastmasters in the audience when you are the chair. You’ll enjoy the show!

Trifecta ?

trifecta I am a “virtual bachelor” for the next 9 days (OK, technically I am a “real” bachelor until I get married in October) but my fiancee has left the continent …
So I am going to see how many Toastmasters meeting I can attend. Today I hope to get to 3.

The first one was “breakfast” 7:30 a.m open/community club. Having it in the back of a large corporate cafeteria helped – there was coffee available in the cafeteria. (I usually get up after this meeting has ended)
3 great speeches – I know people often say this – and like them 😉 – I mean it. An ice breaker speaker talked about the inspiration she got from her mother’s early life – and when someone get’s up at 3:30 a.m. to study by lamplight in taiwan before going to do the farming so she can not be prevented form attending school, I quit complaining about the “early” hour of this meeting.
I also liked how the Grammarian stressed the listening challenge of the role.

Listening as a part of communication is – for me – not stressed enough in Toastmasters. When I see people at a meeting looking at the agenda while a speaker is introduced or speaking (I guess I think it is OK to watch the audience a bit while a speaker speaks 🙂
I think, ” I want to be sure to ‘be in the moment’ and focus ‘”
Next stop, I get to be guest grammarian at 13:00 meeting.

I ended up doing Grammarian at next 2 meetings.
Now I reaffirm that this is the most undervalued and underutilized role in Toastmasters.
I presented my role as Grammarian as the most divers and most challenging in the meeting:
1. Prepared speech
2. Visual aids
3. Listening skills
4. feedback and evaluation
5. impromptu speaking

The whole shebang in one role!

Go ahead, shake things up a bit, ask for 3 minutes at each end of the meeting when you are grammarian and knock their socks off!

Let the Games begin (sooner)

I love Toastmasters contests. Well not everything about them.
I love the contestants performing – and I love competing myself.
I love chairing contests and chief judging.

I hate the briefings usually given by contest chairs and chief judges.
And now, I present “My ideal contest preliminaries”:

Sgt At Arms (SAA)
– opens meeting
– directs all attenders to shut off all things electronic including cameras and communication devices
– explains that door will closed during contestants on stage

The Chief judge reports that all officials have been briefed
(I recommend that anyone who insists that everyone in the audience be informed of a summary of the rules: print them on a separate sheet or on the agenda. People CAN read.)

The Chair reports that all contestants have been briefed, then announces the order they will compete and opens the contest

The audience, there for entertainment and enjoyment rather than hearing all about the rules, checks their agendas one last time and sits UP and enjoys the show!

Pleading the 5th

Also subtitled: Thou shalt not compete (more than 4 times)

Here’s The Facts:
TI is an educational institution.
TI believes that Districts are/will be diverted from their mission if they hold or allow to be held a 5th contest in a calendar year.

This means that in a District which holds 2 fall and 2 spring contests at the conferences, no matter how much interest and how many resources are available at an interclub level – there cannot be a “contest” such as “debate”, “Interpetive Reading”, etc.

Clubs can do anything they want as long as no one outside the club is invited. But inter-club at any level is NO NO (NO NO!)
There can be talent showcases but no judging and no awards – that “smells” like a contest …

Here’s My Opinion:
Let the Districts decide what specific activities contribute best to enabling and helping its constituent members meet their eduational goals. 1 contest is required (International Speech) but 4 is the limit (arbitrary limit?)

I am not saying Districts HAVE to HAVE 6 contests a year. I am saying if a few clubs want to get together and do a fun debate or interpretive reading CONTEST – yes, a CONTEST – why not let them?

Oh no, something might CHANGE if we tried something a little above the bar! How scary is that?

No Laughing Matter …

Many clubs include a JokeMaster or Humor Master or have the timer or “Toaster” give a Toast, tip or joke.
So far so good.

I regret the internet for one reason only – I used to be the best joke teller almost anyone had ever met (before the Internet I didn’t know a lot of people 🙂 I can tell a mean joke and, and I can remember a lot of jokes – and – before the internet, I had a secret list of punch lines on a couple pages in very small print.
When I got my hands on a new crowd, I’d excuse myself, pull out the punch line “database” (papers) review a few punch lines and go back in and knock ’em dead.

Now, virtually every joke has been emailed to every person 400 times.
The good news is that many people still don’t remember jokes (or apparently don’t read every single email they receive like me) and the art of the joke is not dead. Great jokes never dies – unless someone tries to kill a joke by reading it

Jokes are made for TELLING. C’mon Toastmasters – it;s not an original speech of 5-7 minutes, review the joke and then TELL IT – embellish, act, play but PLEASE don;t read jokes to me! Just rehearse it a couple times, PREPARE it ahead of time – it will give you a chance to smile (or frown) and make eye contact during the joke. Someday you will be Jokemaster – find a joke now and get it ready
No Reading.
It isn’t funny. I’m not kidding!

Thank You (for not thanking me) …

Honestly, I love going to Toastmasters meetings and I enjoy them …

Here’s some more stuff I don’t like 🙂

When speakers (in any role) say “Thank You” at the end of their talk.
If they have some gratitude to express and can be specific about who and why, great!

But No “Walk-Off” Thank You please.
It is the audience who thanks you! Just return or pass control, don’t “turn it over” to the person next in charge of the meeting.

and … Thank You! 🙂

A Lectern is a Podium

It isn’t really – but it has been (mis) used so much that a second definition of Podium is now Lectern.

It’s similar to imply and infer. Infer DOES mean the same thing as imply in secondary definition. I am not happy about this but I have come to peace with it.

Lectern vs. Podium