Perhaps I've been spoilt,
but most of the speakers at the technical meetups and conferences that I go to
have something to say and say it well.
I've also been to hundreds of Toastmasters meetings
and I've heard many speakers at all levels.
I went to a tech meetup tonight and I sat through two bad hour-long presentations.
The first speaker should have eliminated the first 20 minutes of his talk,
a self-indulgent ramble about various other projects that he had attempted,
which shed no light on his main topic.
He could easily have eliminated another 15 minutes from the rest of his talk
and it would have been the …continue.
Toastmasters teaches three skillsets.
By far the best known is public speaking,
but evaluation and leadership are also valuable.
Learning to evaluate a speech teaches you to listen carefully
and to give useful feedback.
The Toastmasters' Sandwich is the best-known approach:
point out several things the speaker did well,
suggest some areas of improvement,
and conclude with more praise.
The evaluator benefits too from the evaluation,
as they hone their listening and critical skills
and as they learn to give helpful feedback.
The audience also benefits,
as they hear both the speech
and a measured response to the speech.
Outside of Toastmasters,
feedback is often negative and critical ("Here's how you're fucking up"),
which leads to demotivation …continue.
Two transitions at Freely Speaking Toastmasters tonight:
Kim gave her last speech before moving to California
and Shasti gave her tenth speech,
which earned her her Competent Communicator award.
It's always exciting to see people proceed through a series of speeches
and achieve milestones like the CC.
You see them get better with each speech.
The awkward fumbling hesitation of the early speeches
is supplanted by growing fluidity and confidence,
as the practice and the evaluations help them improve.
I signed up for a three-part Android Study Jam
organized by the Seattle Google Developer Group,
at the behest of a colleague who is also one of the organizers.
The last session takes place tomorrow morning.
I've built a little Android app that I call the Toastmasters Assistant
for the final project.
It doesn't do very much yet,
except present some information about Toastmasters meetings, roles, and speeches
in an ExpandableListView.
I have some ambitions to do more with it.
Specifically, I want to add a speech timer.
It is often said that people fear public speaking more than they fear death.
I certainly used to fear getting up in front of a crowd,
though not to the point of death.
Tonight I spoke about FlyingCloud
in front of more than 100 people for half an hour
at the PuPPy Meetup.
I wasn't nervous beforehand and I wasn't nervous talking to the crowd.
I've been an active Toastmaster for nearly 15 years
and I've spoken at Toastmasters hundreds of times.
I'm used to a room of 15–25 people but not to a larger audience.
Adam and I put our slides together late last week.
We ran through it together …continue.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was going to be the Contest Chair
for the International Speech and Evaluation Contests
at Freely Speaking Toastmasters.
Those contests were tonight,
and I was both Contest Chair and Toastmaster.
The contest chair sets up everything beforehand;
the toastmaster runs the contest itself;
frequently but not necessarily the contest chair is also the toastmaster.
I'm happy with how it came off.
I managed to recruit two speakers for the Speech contest
and three evaluators for the Evaluation contest,
all of whom acquitted themselves well.
I also recruited three judges, two ballot counters, one timer,
a sergeant at arms, and a test speaker
to make the contest …continue.
I've played many roles at Freely Speaking Toastmasters
over the last twelve years, but I've never before chaired a contest.
Every spring, Toastmasters runs the International Speech and Evaluation Contests.
In the autumn, the Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests are held.
The contests are held in most clubs;
each club's winners advance to the area contests;
thence to the division contest;
and finally to the district contest.
I've participated in each of the contests in the past,
making it to the area contests and occasionally the division.
I'm not competing this spring,
so I'm going to run our club's contest instead.
I sent this email to the members tonight:
I am the …continue.
At Freely Speaking Toastmasters tonight,
Kim gave a talk on the History of Toilet Paper.
It was inspired by the quote above from the Iron Druid Chronicles,
by a 2000-year-old druid.
She got much of her information from wikipedia.
I found the toilet paper FAQ while writing this post.
At FSTM, after the speech evaluator gives the speaker a formal evaluation,
we have five minutes of open evaluation from the audience.
My father has a hundred or so sayings that he trots out again and again and again—much to the annoyance of those who know him well.
When he moved from the Dublin to the London office of his …continue.
Blogging has been on my mind lately,
as I've just set up an engineering blog at work.
I gave a speech about blogging earlier tonight
to my club, Freely Speaking Toastmasters.
I no longer write speeches beforehand;
I extemporized my speech from a
that I had prepared yesterday.
This post is a more coherent and expanded rendition of my points.
As Toastmasters, we give speeches about topics that interest us,
when we want to share or inform or entertain.
A live, in-person speech reaches a direct audience at one point in time.
A written blog post can reach a much larger audience.
Toastmasters have something to say, whether in person or in …continue.
The Toastmasters year closes tomorrow.
We held our Annual Meeting tonight at Freely Speaking Toastmasters
and elected a new set of officers.
One new person was elected to the board,
replacing the one person who stepped down,
but everyone except the VP Education and the Webmaster changed roles.
I am the outgoing Secretary and the incoming Treasurer,
and I also continue as the Webmaster.