Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tip of the Week: Armchair Evaluations

That perforated sheet of paper we get every week isn’t just for voting for Best Speaker and such! One of the great things about Toastmasters is the instant feedback, because we can improve as speakers only when we learn what our strengths and our weaknesses are!  I encourage everyone to use the sheets to write a little note of encouragement to the prepared speaker and/or Toastmaster after their speeches.  Let the speaker know what they did right and should continue doing, and/or let them know one thing that they should work on for next time. You can hand the little slip of paper to the speaker after the meeting…we also are talking about getting tiny little buckets to pass around for the Armchair Evaluations!

Published by Jason Kent, VP Education

The Evaluation Contest Results

The Evaluation Contest featured Peter Pincetl with his speech "The Bus is Leaving" and three contestants: Kerry Dugan, Jason Kent and Steve Wilcox. Three different styles of presentation and one great speech, as Jeff Brooks stated. Kerry was upbeat and specific, Jason analytical and clear, Steve positive and courageous - it was only his second evaluation! Thank you for stepping in on the fly, Steve, and thank you to all the contestants for a real evaluation treat, thank you to judges, contest chairs and leaders.

Second place was granted to Jason Kent - congrats! The winner of our club contest is Kerry Dugan and he will be participating in the next level of the Evaluation Contest. Asked why is it worth it to participate, Kerry said he loves competing and it's like being a horse waiting and itching for its race. You practice and improve during meetings and every contest is a test of what you've gained, learned and practiced so far.

We will keep you posted as soon as we know any set dates for the next level and will continue to keep our fingers crossed for Kerry. I want to join Jeff in encouraging everyone to look out for those dates and come with spouses, partners, family and friends to support our club's winner and hear the winners from other clubs. It's an incredible experience not only for us, Toastmasters, but anyone really, which allows us to take away a few things for our speaking, business and life experiences.

By Ania OsiƄska-Bulloff, VP Public Relations

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Our New Member, Jackie Scherer, says hi!

Hello, my name is Jackie Scherer, and I am a User Experience Designer for Viewpoint Construction Software.  I work to design software and other digital environments for optimal performance and experience.  My professional background includes user interface design and development, graphic design, marketing, and project management. 

User Experience Design is a new field with its own set of language.  Sometimes the concepts in UX Design can be difficult to explain, but it has become increasingly relevant in our lives in the Smartphone Era.  I need to be able to convey the importance of good design in simple terms to a variety of audiences – from engineers to business people.  I hope Toastmasters can better prepare me to quickly gather and deliver my thoughts in a impactful and compelling way.

My main creative outlet outside of work is singing and songwriting.  (I would describe my style as “Soulful Nu Jazz”).  My athletic side enjoys skiing, yoga, and running.  I have spent most of my life in the Portland area.  I got my Bachelors’ Degree in Graphic Design at Western State College in a small town called Gunnison, Colorado.  I ended up there because of my competitive skiing background.  Gunnison is nearby Crested Butte, a world class ski resort where I skied up to four days a week, and I was crazy enough to compete in the US Extreme Freeskiing Championships.  I’m still an adrenaline junkie, but I’ve mellowed out since then!

By Jackie Scherer

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tip of the Week: Why we time...

For many people, time seems to “get away” from us while we’re speaking.  Toastmasters can help that from happening!  Since Ralph C. Smedley founded Toastmasters in 1924, meeting segments and roles have been timed.  Smedley’s reasoning was that speakers needed to be held accountable to stay on time.  That sentiment was eventually put to use for all speaking roles in a Toastmaster’s meeting.  It helps us get all of our crowded agenda in to that short hour between 12 Noon and 1 PM!  Before a meeting starts, the Timer should get together with the General Evaluator to confirm the times of the speeches – most are 5-7 minutes long, but there are several exceptions (the Ice Breaker speech is 4-6 minutes, and most of the Advanced Communication Manuals include speeches with vastly differing lengths).  And the Timer’s Report should include the target time for each speaker as well as the actual time.

By Jason Kent, VP Education