Brno Business Toastmasters Newsletter  December 2014

       Brno Business Toastmasters
                                                  wishes you        
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Educational Session - Effective Communication

On 2nd December we had an Educational Session led by Peter Kruty on Effective Evaluation. It was an exceptional meeting with theoretical session on how to evaluate in an effective way and practical example of evaluating a prepared speech followed by evaluations done by brave volunteers using the tips they just learned from Peter.
The session was of great value for our members so we would like to share with you all few points from Peter's educational program hereafter:

Giving feedback is an important leadership skill and evaluations makes you focus on what works and what doesn't. When preparing an evaluation, always consider Situation, Behavior and Impact, so called SBI.
There are different ways how to structure your feedback:
  - Starting with strengths then finishing with areas for improvements;
  - Sandwich technique: strengths followed by areas for improvement then getting back to strengths;
  - Improved sandwich technique consisting of multiple layers of strengths and points that can be improved.

The framing is essential: words are powerful and we have to be aware that the evaluation itself is a speech so it has to have structure, rhetorical devices, vocal variety,etc.
There are few important things to keep in mind:
- Focus on project objectives
- Ask the speaker on what particularities he wants you to focus on
- Do not forget about the audience
- Give a balanced feedback
- Aim for the most critical points only and minimal time
- Talk about speaker only, do not mix the evaluation with anything related to you as speaker or from your experience
- Be positive, encouraging and always end with a positive note. Smile.
- Adjust the evaluation to speaker's level (beginning - encourage, advanced - be detailed, experts - do not be afraid, use your feeling, opinions as everyone can get better).

Things to avoid:
-  Patronizing, using the critical teacher tone
 - Saying 'negative', 'weakness', 'minus'. Use instead 'points/areas for improvement' or opportunity.
- Saying 'But', 'However'. Say 'and' instead.
- 'Audience felt', 'everyone thought...' it has to be personal so speak for yourself with 'I felt, I thought..'
- Absolute statements and cliches.

To have a perfect evaluation: be interesting, illustrate, demonstrate, play it like a speech. Having a catching opening such as a quote from the speech, a gesture from the speaker's story or an unusual yet appropriate way, can do the trick. The secret is obviously practicing, focusing on specifics, watching how others evaluators do and practice, practice, practice!
                                                         We thank you Peter for such a useful session!

Being a Guest in Brno Business Toastmasters


Do you still remember your first meetings as guest, where everything was new, interesting and you felt like coming again and again? When being a guest you can see things from a different perspective, you can analyze the situation, see in a very objective way how things are. To remind ourselves how this was, Tomas Mizerak  accepted the challenge to tell us how he sees us, how he sees Toastmasters through the objective eyes of a guest.


You have been to couple of meetings, how is it to look at us from a guest perspective?

You are very organized, I like that. I attended a few, maybe 6 meetings, and I enjoyed every one of them.


How did you heard about Toastmasters?

It was actually a few years back, when my friend took me to the Czech club. I was there once or twice and I still remember Aleš Vrana as a really strong figure of the club. I didn’t come back because it was too overwhelming for me at that time, emotionally, I felt under pressure and very stressed.


Why have you come back now?

I decided to do inner work and one of my challenges are emotions connected with public speaking. Firstly I wanted to join the club and speak, be a qualified member. But I realized there is much work to be done for me personally before I can become active. I am thankful that I have an opportunity to attend the club so freely and no one is pushing me to become active or stop visiting.


Have you visited any other clubs recently, and if so how are they compared to BBTM?

Yes. I’ve visited TM club that meets on Wednesdays once. The venue was not very well chosen and I felt a little foreign there. I had a feeling that I belong to BBTM. They have some English native speakers and that is definitely a plus for the club. Also the club not being business oriented they have more various people there.


What do you like about the meetings? How would you describe them, or us as a club?

I like meeting being to the point. There are no unnecessary delays, everything makes sense and is so smooth. It’s full of positive energy. Everyone seems to enjoy it very much. I enjoy the friendly atmosphere you guys, mainly you seniors, create.


How do you see the members? What do you think about us as people?

Everyone is really kind. They share common goal and it works to connect them. I like everyone and it’s great how I could get to meet a lot of new people in the club.


What would you change if possible or what do you find awkward? Or what do you think

about clapping? Is it still awkward?

Clapping, that was definitely my first point to think about. I read somewhere, that clapping is for the people coming to stage so there isn’t an awkward silence. Knowing this, I even enjoy encouraging speakers by clapping. And I definitely like the evaluations. That is a strong part of the meeting to give and to receive feedback. I learned a lot during those evaluations.


What do you think you can achieve in the club? What would be the advantages in your opinion of being a member?

If I wanted to start on the path of public speaking I would definitely become an active member. Currently I don’t know any other opportunities. Toastmasters is a great idea for everyone who wants to practice public speaking and leadership. Especially your business oriented club seems to me very well balanced between normal and business world.

                                       A big thank you to Tomas for sharing his thoughts with us!

PS: Tomas just announced us that he is going to Asia so we will not see him around for a while (we don't know how long yet). We do hope that as promised he will send us pictures and come again to the meetings when he will be back! Good luck Tomas and have a great experience in Asia!

Letter for Toastmasters Santa

Dear Toastmaster Santa,                     

In the last Toastmaster year I have done my best in trying to be a good President of BBTM. But I will not ask for any presents as I received my gift already earlier this year. What is it, you ask?
                A year ago our club was not doing well. I could feel it... and others did too. This worried me so much I had nightmares and felt constant pressure. Why did I even accept this role?! And I knew with the role comes the responsibility. Not only of the club, but of how I react to the difficult situation.
                Being a president or any officer for that matter is about being a leader. A leader picks up the slack, a leader endures the pressure for the team and with a smile not to discourage others. A leader doesn't give up! This I would remind myself everyday while trying to work things out.
And then honestly I don't know what happened. I believe it was the support of Jerome, the willingness of Ioana, the interest of Jana and Marie that combined created such an atmosphere in the club that magically transformed things. I would open the speech planner and I would see slots booked up to 2 months in advance! Our club history has never, EVER seen that before! People were progressing and most importantly they were having fun!
                Our guests could see it too. They would not spare the positive feedback after visiting our meetings. They even saw us as a family. And what is this, if not the best Christmas gift? Having a Toastmaster family where you feel supported, understood, accepted and heard!
                Was it hard? - YES! But I realize how this experience changed me, humbled me and was a great learning curve. Knowing how much it gave me, if I would go back I would do it again and in a heartbeat.
                Therefore, dear Toastmaster Santa, I would only like to thank you for giving me the chance to be a part of this amazing family. I only wish that we would stay healthy, happy and united.

Best Wishes from club officers

Brno Business Toastmaster officers wish you all the best for the New Year approaching. May it bring you happiness, health, joy and many professional accomplishments and success!

We hope that our club brings you all enjoy in the field you are practicing and meets your expectations. We do value all the inputs that each of you brought to the club. Lots of energies, plenty of ideas and suggestions, which pushed and lead us to go further in improving the framework of our club and provide larger perspective about what we can do in the future.  
That’s why in 2015, meetings will be diversified and will include more educational sessions, special meetings, guest speakers from business area and every meeting will  be related to a theme that you can vote for/make a proposal. It means more material to practice and improve our skills, more material to learn by doing/listening.
Let this year be full of interaction, meetings and exchanges and even more pleasant. Hope that BBTM will bring you a lot of knowledge in 2015 and help you to improve yourself in as many fields you wish. Let’s make this year one step higher in quality and self growing in the best atmosphere we could create thanks to each other.

Receive our warm and best wishes for the New Year!

                                                                                            On behalf of officers team,

Face your fears, speak your dreams!

In less than 3 months, we will know the members who are going to represent our club to the area contest for the INTERNATIONNAL SPEECH and EVALUATION CONTEST.
Do you want to be one of them? Do you want to challenge yourself in a once-a-year-experience? Do you want to boost your progress in public speaking and why not to be the next DANANJAYA HETTIARACHCHI – the last winner of the international speech?

Challenge yourself!

Time is quickly approaching and we are looking for participants: the sooner you think about it, the better you could prepare. Note that you won’t be alone in your way: advanced speakers will provide you some tips and advice if you ask for.

Contest’s categories:

- International Speech Contest in ENG/CZE/D
- Evaluation Speech Contest in ENG/CZE/D
If any questions, do not hesitate to contact ours VPE (Mary or Jana) or me.

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About Toastmasters International 

Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organization’s membership exceeds 313,000 in more than 14,650 clubs in 126 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience.  

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