Newsletter October 2014
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Dear Toastmasters members and friends,

A new Toastmasters Year began for our club and new officers have been elected earlier this year. The time seems to run and we are full of plans, projects and targets to reach so that we can have quality meetings, well prepared events and the great atmosphere we always aim for.

For the new officers elected is a great pleasure to be part of the Club with such amazing responsibilities which help us not only apply our ideas for the well-being of everyone but learn organizational and leadership skills through actual practice.

We need to say that without our previous officers, the Club couldn't have reached this point! We thank from all our hearts our immediate-past-officers, immediate-past-president, past-officers and past president for doing a great job, for developing the club, for helping all members to improve and for their continuous support.
Let's shortly recall our talented immediate-past officers:

President : Anna Draganska
Vice-President of Education: Hristo Simeonov
Vice-President of Membership: Radek Matej, Jerome Vives
Vice-President of Public Relations: Veronika Dobrovolna
Treasurer: Florentin Leo
: Cecilia Szolnoki
Sergeant At Arms: Silviu Marisca,  Peter Mulder
,Jaromir Novak, Eva Vodickova

And the new officers elected:
President : Jerome Vives
Vice-President of Education: Jana Wrigh, Marie Novakova
Vice-President of Membership: Tomas Galik, Zuzana Figurova
Vice-President of Public Relations: Ioana Florentina Pop
Treasurer & Secretary: Martin Plsek
Sergeant At Arms: Eva Vodickova

Just like each group of officers before we also commit to have better and better meetings every week and motivate our members to be as active as possible!

Challenge yourself!  

I would have never thought about becoming one day President of the club. It was not a role for me; I’m not the right person for such a role. However a year as VPM contributed in helping me to considerer the role and to challenge myself as I learned in TM. Yes! When you become a TM, be ready to surprise yourself. 

All of this wouldn’t be possible without the atmosphere of the club we built with the immediate past President Anna thanks to all the member of the club. Lot of new members brought a fresh energy while experienced members where providing their best advice to improve our skills. Our club has to go on building this wonderful synergy. To consolidate it, I value three main points:  

  • the mentoring program which helps new member during his first step as a speaker in the club.  

  • involving members in the club organization : the club organization is not only officers duty. All members can take part at any moment in the club’s life. Any help, any feedback, any suggestion are more than welcome to build up the club and shape it the best we could.  

  • To support each other whatever our own goals are: competitors, leaders, speakers, we do have different targets and it makes our strength. Every individuality makes the club alive and profitable for everyone. Contribute actively in the club and the club will helps you to blossom! 

As we learn in TM, there is every time space for improvement and I really value new members/guest feedback. It also helps the club not to get into a routine in our way of doing/thinking public speaking. As for experienced member, they inspire their audience and bring their knowledge to everyone. We do all have strength: let’s go on sharing it! 

I would like to thank all the officers - Jana, Mary, Ioana, Tomas, Zuzana, Martin, Eva - who already did a remarkable work in a short time and all members for their input. I wish to all of you lots of challenge, accomplishment and fun during this Toastmaster year.  




Speech contest -  a public speaking skills booster  

Being a quite old member of Brno Business Toastmasters, finally I first time decided it is time to compete in prepared speeches this year so I did. 

I have to say that in the club contest I was nervous but in different way than in the ordinary club meeting: I could feel the atmosphere of competition. With motivation and involvement of all other members, the meeting was very professionally organized. When I delivered the speech I was surprised by the reaction of audience, they laughed even on different parts of my story than I predicted. I recorded my speech and after winning, the recording was very valuable as I used it to improve the speech and I could analyse it for preparation on Area D3 contest. 

I was much more prepared for area level, still I was very nervous. Speaking outside of my home Toastmasters club in new venue with new people: It was very challenging. After the speech I remember I was interviewed by contest chair Jerome, it was fun to answer the questions and stand on stage with other participants without any pressure. I felt I made good job delivering the speech and I was wondering if it was enough to win. And it was. I won, I received the nice award and of course I advanced to next level, the Division Contest. 

The Division D conference started with Friday dinner in the busy center of Budapest where I met others, found out who I am competing with. Saturday or 'Day D' was full of contests: Czech, Hungarian, German prepared speeches and Table Topics. Through the day there were two workshops: one focused on evaluation and one on humour. 

In the second one I found out that I am aware of basics concepts of including humour in speeches. Still for me it's somewhere between science and art. Some jokes work, some not but for me (when I am in the audience), for sure a speech without humour is lacking that 'entertaining' element.  As speaker, audience laughter confirms that they understand the speech and gives me a bit of time to stop and calm down. As soon as the audience laughs for the first time,  my nervousness is quickly going away. 

 English prepared speeches were last in agenda at the end of the day, so it was my turn. From the raffle I was picked as second speaker. In Budapest everything became much more serious, other speakers were amazing, everybody in some different day. I guess audience was lucky to hear so many great speeches! 

In the end, I didn’t make it among the top three, but many people approached me how much they enjoyed the speech and that it was so entertaining! This made me feel happy and satisfied even though it was not obvious from the results. Even the girl who won the contest confessed that while waiting  her turn behind the closed doors, she was surprised of the loud laughing coming from the room. 

When I sadly announced Budapest results to my friends who are not so familiar with toastmasters, they always asked me: So what you could have won? They expected some prizes or that on next level as contestant I will not have to pay fees. Toastmasters is not about winning material prizes and me personally I wanted just to be better than others, to represent our club and  improve my skills! With each contest I noticed a big progress in my public speaking skills which I wouldn't have been able to achieve by weekly meetings or regular speech preparation. I invested much more time in preparation, got help from other speakers and spoke in front of new and bigger audience. I can only highly recommend this experience to every toastmaster as a public speaking skills booster! 

With much more confidence after such experience, 


In this issue:

BBTM Officers 2014- 2015
Challenge yourself
A skills booster
The value of mentoring
Laugh and Learn


Brno Business Toastmasters Club was established in July 2010 by group of enthusiasts with passion for communication and personal growth.

We have officially registered asa Club as Club Number  # 1705911 in 2011.

For more information visit Brno Business Toastmasters website.

Redactors WANTED!

You would like to share  in an article your first table topics speech, your Ice-Breaker or maybe why you joined Toastmasters?
Or simply complete one of the CL projects that requires PR Campaign work?

Just let the VP PR or any of the officers know and we make your wish come true!

Some great moments from our meetings:

Our club has:

- 25 active members
- 20 working on CC Manual
- 5 working on Advanced Manuals
- 10 mentors ready to help
- We had 63 new guests in 2014


Do you already have a mentor?

Take the advantage of learning from experience and talk to VPE to get more help in achieving your Toastmasters goals!

Mentoring is a two ways benefit!

We are happy to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of Toastmasters International by having a special meeting on 28th October!

Make sure you don't miss it!
The benefits of mentoring

 Do you have a dream? Is there anything you want to achieve in your life? Perhaps you desire to become rich, or gain an educational degree? Maybe you want to be successful in your profession or raise your children well?  

If you do have such a dream, is this vision of yours connected with someone you admire for what they have achieved? Someone that you would like to follow or be like? You want to have their knowledge, skills, their possessions? At least a little bit? 

 I say we all do! We all know one or more people we look up to and follow as examples. 

 Nowadays we have a wide variety of sources, that can be used for learning. We attend seminars and lectures, read books, watch videos on the Internet, etc. But this individual way of learning might take much longer, with bigger effort and possibly a lower impact or not such great results. More complex skills simply need more attention and, public speaking, I for sure consider as such. To obtain advanced skill you need somebody by your side – a teacher, a leader, a mentor. Indeed, you can learn certain skills by yourself, but a mentor can help you to transform to a completely different level faster and with less effort. 

 Kind of like in the Hollywood movie about the karate kid. A story about a young lost teenager wondering around the dirty dangerous streets of some big American city, getting beat up by gangs. When one day he finds a master who starts to teach him. The master however does not only teach him the karate part, but also gives him tips how to approach life, how to solve various situations, how to overcome obstacles etc. 

 Back to my own experience with public speaking, gained here in Brno Business Toastmasters. I got in touch with my mentor when preparing for my fifth project. Until then I was pretty much frozen on the  stage, using a lot of repetitive gestures, overused explanatory words etc. 

 Surprisingly the mentoring session did not require that much time. We have met once for about half an hour. I rehearsed my speech in front of my mentor once, twice, three times. Each time I got feedback, which I could immediately implement in my speech and improve. 

 I do remember, next BBTM meeting after the session with my mentor I gave my speech. The audience was very excited, the speech was valued very highly! I even won a ribbon for best prepared speech that day! 

 This was not the only time I received support from my mentor. She also helped me with other issues connected with Toastmaster club. For example I consulted with her, when preparing for the Toastmaster role and received a lot of valuable help and advice! Different people, different skills. Our BBTM club has many other members, who can add to my improvement and gradual confidence and I am looking forward to cooperating with them. I myself am also ready to take the mentoring role on. Rather than showing off how clever and experienced I am already, it is the new challenge. I will have to learn how to give good feedback, I will have to learn to observe better and support my mentee to have fun and to be willing to continuously improve. 

 If I should mention what are the main points that I see in mentoring, it would be, that it can: 

  • help you get faster to higher level of skills 

  • open new horizons and areas you might find appealing 

  • teach you how to share skills with others 

but there is many more reasons supporting mentoring. 

We all can learn from each other. Mentoring is good for all of us. Each one of you has a lot to offer. 

Everybody can! You have it in you! 

Now, when is your next consultation with your mentor or mentee? 

Jana Wright  

Laugh and learn

The division D Fall Conference in Budapest took place on 11th October and was full of LAUGHING AND LEARNING, which was at the same time the motto of the conference. The program was full of humorous speeches in four languages, contests in table topics, key speeches and meanwhile there were workshops to help us grow. Experienced TM members were sharing the best of their knowledge with the audience. One of the workshops - Evaluations to inspire growth, was presented by Jennifer L. Blanck, a DTM who is a member of Budapest Toastmasters in Hungary (and the founding Director of Career Services at the Central European University’s new School of Public Policy).

She highlighted the preparation part of the evaluation. Before the meeting the speech title and project should be acknowledged. The same as an interview with the speaker about what his/her goals are and if the speaker has other criteria beyond the speech project. In case of evaluating higher manual than you have, or an advanced manual you don’t know, try to make yourself familiar with it before the meeting.

The next step is at the meeting, where you claim the speaker’s manual and verify it with the speaker for any changes or last minute instructuctions. During the speech itself listen carefully and note the impressions you get. For your oral evaluation list specific things that support your impressions.

After the meeting when returning the manual to the speaker, remind him/her about signing the last page with the date of completion to VPE. Discuss the feedback you didn’t include in your presentation and justify what you are saying. Finish with words of encouragement.

Let me share with you Elements of an Inspiring Evaluation according to Jenny. The guiding thoughts are:

  • What did I see?

  • What did I hear?

  • What did I feel?

Check out those Items for Consideration (not all in one evaluation):

  • Speech evaluation objectives/criteria.

  • Anything the speaker has asked you to consider.

  • Strengths of the speaker.

  • Challenges to communicating the message.

  • Appropriateness to speech project/speech criteria.

  • Topic of interest.

  • Overall style.

  • Structure or organization of the speech.

  • Introduction.

  • Body.

  • Conclusion.

  • Poise.

  • Presence.

  • Gestures.

  • Body language.

  • Vocal variety, including pauses.

  • Projection.

  • Visual aids (type, usage, appropriateness).

  • Word usage.

  • Audience response.

  • Time usage.

  • Use of space.

  • Passion.

  • Energy level.

  • Appropriateness of the message.

  • Value/benefit of the speech.

  • Eye contact.

  • Use of notes.

  • Progression in Toastmasters.

  • Humor.

  • Use of speaker introduction.

  • Appropriateness of attire.

  • Stage logistics (e.g., lighting).

When Giving an Evaluation:

  • Be sincere.

  • Personalize and be mindful of your language.

  • Keep in mind the context and individual goals of speech and speaker.

  • Don’t just read the manual evaluation criteria; use them as a spring board.

  • Consider past speeches and speaker’s progression along with the current speech.

  • Use the sandwich method overall—beginning and ending with something positive.

  • Be specific—give examples but don’t repeat the speech.

  • Don’t try to cover everything in your evaluation: pick a few main ideas.

  • Remember: the more advanced the speaker, the more in-depth the critique.

  • Avoid “white wash”; make sure you offer some constructive feedback/ideas for improvement.

  • If you think a speech was really effective and you don’t have any changes to suggest, offer the speaker a challenge for a different style or approach the next time.

Finally I would like to mention two additional things to remember. First, don’t worry if you’re evaluating a more experienced speaker: your perspective is valid and you can offer insights to the speaker. Second, evaluate the speech, not the person: it’s about how the person communicated the message, not who the speaker is or the speaker’s beliefs.

I hope you will take an inspiration for your next evaluations and with better feedback giving you will grow as a person too.

Good luck!

Let's make Business Toastmasters even more Business

Club officers have voted and decided to increase the business level of our meetings by gradually introducing meetings with Business Theme only. This would mean to make sure that all roles are preparing business related topics for speeches, table topics, word of the day and professional tip of the day along with encouraging participants to adopt a business-casual dress code. 

Currently the Business theme meetings are held every first week of the month and we hope to increase the frequency soon! It is up to us, each member and guest to make it happen by preparing properly and keeping in mind we are 'Brno Business  Toastmasters'!                      


Happy 90th Birthday Toastmasters International! 

 The first official Toastmasters meeting was held in October 1924 in Santa Ana, California. Why not celebrate the organization's milestone with a themed club meeting devoted to Toastmasters' history? Check out the 90th Anniversary webpage for fun resources to use throughout the anniversary year.

And here is a picture of the second Toastmasters Club chartered in Anaheim in 1932:


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.  

For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit Follow @Toastmasters on Twitter 

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