Public Speaking

Christine Takes Second!

Christine wins

Christine and her hardware

On Saturday evening, November 15, our Christine Klimkowski competed in the District 2 Table Topics contest. The question each of the seven contestants had to answer was, You’re on the Vegas strip and suddenly you are surrounded by a bunch of bad Elvis impersonators all singing a different song. What happens next in the story? Christine wove a tale of her sailor buddies joining her to sing Elvis songs back at the impersonators, just louder and more out of tune. They eventually drowned out and defeated the bad Elvises — or is it Elvii?

When the voting was announced, Christine had take second place. This puts her in the top 2 (or top 0.053 %) of the more than 3800 members in ~185 clubs in District 2. Well done!

Christine had her own rooting section at the conference: Phil, Amie, Emily, Franni, Laura, Valorie, and Mark were in attendance to cheer her on. Next time you see her, give Christine a big congratulations on her success.

The West Seattle Club 832 contingent, l to r: Phil, Amie, Emily, Christine, Franni, Laura, Valorie, Mark

Deconstructing The 2014 World Championship Speech

Written October 12th, 2014
Categories: Public Speaking, Speaking Tips, Toastmasters International

dananjaya hettiarachchiDananjaya Hettiarachchi, of Sri Lanka, is the 2014 World Championship of Public Speaking. Mr. Hettiarachchi was crowned champ at the recent international Toastmasters conference, which was held in Kuala Lampur. The speech was titled “I See Something,” and he shared how the various people in his past inspired him to achieve more in life. In this article The Best Speaker in the World; Deconstruction of a Champion’s Presentation you can view a video of the speech after which the author highlights four aspects of the speech and why they are effective. One more thing to note is how Hettiarachchi uses the circle back technique to close his talk. He opens the speech with the flower and then circles back to the flower at the end to provide closure. 

Enjoy the Toastmasters International Convention from Home

Written August 19th, 2014
Categories: Public Speaking, Special Events, Toastmasters International


The 2014 Toastmasters International Convention is being held this week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, starting on Thursday (Wednesday evening in Seattle). Unfortunately, Malaysia is not exactly a short drive or flight from Seattle. If you are disappointed at not being able to attend the ceremonies, learning sessions, and speech contest, worry no more! Toastmasters is offering a chance to watch the proceedings from the comfort of your own computer. Toastmasters On Demand is a service where you can pay a fee to follow the events. There are two options: you can stream the events live or watch them on-demand after the events are over. If you want to stream the events, keep in mind that Malaysia time is 15 hours ahead of Seattle. When the International Speech Contest begins at 9:00 am Saturday morning in Kuala Lumpur, it will be 6 pm Friday evening in Seattle. For the on-demand subscription, it appears that you can watch the videos an unlimited number of times. You also have access to videos of previous conventions.

Streaming the entire convention is $99. You can stream just the speech contest for only $29. The on-demand (A la Carte) content will be available starting August 25. Note that if you want to watch the opening ceremonies and similar events, those are only available via the full convention streaming package. These are the costs for the on-demand options.

  • Education Session 1-5 – $9.99/each
  • Semi-Finals 1-9 – $9.99/each
  • World Championship (Streaming) – $29.99
  • World Championship (DVD) – $29.99
  • World Championship Bundle (Streaming & DVD) – $39.99

For more information and the convention schedule of events, visit the Toastmasters On Demand website.

How to Add Humor to Your Speeches

Written July 27th, 2014
Categories: Public Speaking, Speaking Tips, Speech Contest

laughterIn September, our club will be having our Humorous Speech and Table Talks contests. Humor is a an important part of public speaking. If the audience is laughing, or at least mildly amused, they are on your side. A happy audience is a receptive audience. There are different writing techniques for adding humor to your speeches. This article, 10 Ways Academics Say Comedians Make Us Laugh, is a good start at understanding what will make an audience laugh.


The Importance of Nonverbal Communication

Written July 14th, 2014
Categories: Public Speaking, Speaking Tips

Speech No. 5 from the Competent Communicator manual is titled “Your Body Speaks.” The emphasis of the project is to use your nonverbal communication to effectively support your spoken words. Click on the picture to view an infographic with tips on nonverbal communication. The graphic was prepared by

nonverbal communication

What Can You Learn From The Iron Horse

Written July 8th, 2014
Categories: Public Speaking, Uncategorized
The Pride of the Yankees.

The Pride of the Yankees.

This past July 4 was the 75th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s farewell speech to baseball. In case you are not familiar with Gehrig, he was a first baseman for the New York Yankees in the 1920s and 1930s. He was nicknamed “The Iron Horse” because of his dependability. He set the record for consecutive games played, 2,130, among other accomplishments. Along with Babe Ruth, the two were the most potent 1-2 punch in baseball history.

No doubt you are at least familiar with Gehrig’s most famous line from his speech: . . . today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. The poignancy of that sentiment was that a month or so early, Gehrig had been diagnosed with ALS. He had been told he had two years to live and that his baseball career was over. On July 4, 1939, the Yankees had a special day in honor of Lou, which was to be his official retirement from the game. After all the tributes and presentations were over, Gehrig, a very shy man, began to walk off the field. The cheering fans implored him to say a few words. Lou hesitated and then returned to the microphones. While newsreel footage make it appear that he only said two or three sentences, Gehrig actually delivered a full, albeit short, speech. The following is a transcript of his speech. Though short, it has several attributes that you can incorporate when writing your own speeches.

Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans. 

Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I’m lucky. Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I’m lucky. 

When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift – that’s something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies – that’s something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter – that’s something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body – it’s a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed – that’s the finest I know. 

So I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for.

lous-farewellGehrig starts with a powerful opening. After acknowledging the common sentiment that he received a bad break, he introduces the twist about being “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” That is a classic attention-getter. How could it be possible that Gehrig, having his life come crashing down a month or so earlier be lucky? Gehrig uses the rest of the speech to explain. Using the “lucky” theme, Lou recites a litany of blessings he has received over his life starting with baseball and working through his family before ending with the most important person to him, Eleanor, his wife. In the end, Gehrig returns to the opener to acknowledge that he has been given a bad break. Instead of finishing with “lucky,” he states he has a lot to live for. That line leaves the crowd with a twist, since they know he has been given a death sentence by ALS.

The whole speech only took Gehrig a minute or two to deliver. In that short time he was able to craft a memorable opening, establish and develop a theme, close with references to his opening to provide a sense of completeness, and infuse it all with the passion of a man knowingly facing a limited future. That is a powerful minute or two!

June 17th – Renewal

Written June 27th, 2014
Categories: Meetings, Public Speaking, Toastmasters International


For our last meeting of the Toastmaster year, Toastmaster Bruce chose the theme “Renewal .”  We bring on a new slate of officers and begin again with fresh blood.

Our first speaker, Christina, gave her Ice Breaker titled “Miss PR” a nickname she got when she was little which has perhaps become a bit of a misnomer.  After giving three non-stellar speeches for her family company, the third of which she fell flat on her face (literally), she is looking to improve through Toastmasters.  Looking forward to the next speech!

Next up, Kerry , in her CC speech  #3, “Vibrational Health 101” educated us on the importance of understanding how our vibrations and the vibrations of the people and things around us can contribute to our well-being.  Thanks Kerry!

Table Topics Master Franni had the volunteers posing as callers to 911 based on a small town paper’s reports of that week’s emergency calls.  Could you convince the 911 operator that misbehaving dogs are bothering your goats?

We inducted our new slate of officers for the coming year with high expectations (right ladies and gents?)  I know we won’t be disappointed.

Come see us at our next meeting, July 1st.  It’s going to be a banner year!

Our new president received her gavel as our new officers ohh and ahh.

May 6th – Beach Bums

Written June 19th, 2014
Categories: Meetings, Public Speaking, Toastmasters International


Toastmaster Bruce’s theme got us all dreaming of warmer climes (or at least got ME dreaming of warmer climes.)  But alas, we had a meeting that night and a great meeting it was.

We had two Ice Breakers, which are always fun.  First up, Marja recounted how her career has taken her from being a tug boat captain to a cruise captain. Now she spends her time on land as the Director for the Work Boat Academy.

Next up, Kate shared that while researching possible careers she was able to find dentistry which is the perfect combination of science, helping others and art. Art? She gave specific examples of how she uses each of these skill sets to help her patients’ every day. She is living her passion!

Speaking of passion, Phil gave Speech #5 from Persuasive Speaking, “The Case for Religious Passion.”  The audience was a group of Christian leaders for which Phil beautifully laid out the church’s ills and how to fix them.

Three new members were inducted so we have three new Ice Breakers in our future!

Come see us at our next meeting.  It is always entertaining!

New members Scott, Christina, and Kate

April 15 – Easter Baskets

Written May 4th, 2014
Categories: Meetings, Public Speaking, Toastmasters International


Toastmaster Laura entreated us to remember our fondest Easter basket memories while keeping the meeting going without a hitch.

Our first speaker of the night, Kerry, gave her speech #2 “Gems of Pranayama”.  Kerry has been a yoga teacher for over 20 years! She shared three very important tips when learning the practice. The three tips and themes that she eloquently spoke about were: 1) it’s never too early to being to learn about breath, 2) there are worlds in your breath and 3) your greatest gift is breath.

Mark gave speech #4 from the Special Occasion manual, “The Golden Crane Award” in which he presented an award to, well, Mark at the New York Origami conference. He spoke about the all of the accomplishments of Puget Area Paper folding Enthusiasts Roundtable (PAPER) which has hosted two international conferences and four international art exhibits. He gave a great overview of his accomplishments and dedication to the art of origami.

Next up, Emily inspired us with her 10th speech “The Fun Club”.  She spoke about two children that she volunteers with nearly every week and how they created the fun club to learn new skills, keep an open mind, briefly forget the stresses of life and of course have fun! She spoke about some of the annual events in which they participated, and how they can deflect days that may not have gone so well and remember the good.

Emily completed her CC manual with that speech.  Congrats on being a Competent Communicator!

Continuing the theme for the meeting, Table Topics Master Brig had the unsuspecting volunteers describe Easter goodies in a bag without looking at them.   Chocolate never sounded so good!

On April 29th, we had an extra April meeting in which we conducted a speech-a-thon!  Five amazing speeches that I hope you did not miss but if you did, come on down and catch the next set.

Our meeting on May 6th is bound to inspire, amaze, and of course make you laugh.  See you there!

Emily holding her CC ribbon and a chocolate egg.

April 1st – Club 832 Anniversary – No fooling

Written April 9th, 2014
Categories: Meetings, Public Speaking, Special Events, Toastmasters International


Our resident historian and Toastmaster for the evening, Phil, brought stories, pictures, and puns to keep us on our toes on our 64th anniversary.

For ‘Speaking after Dinner- the Entertaining Speaker’ #5 speech, Mark gave a very dynamic speech using both visuals and audio. He spoke about how Joseph Haydn composed and choreographed his 45th symphony to gently but effectively persuade his employers that it was time to go home.  A great story entertainingly told.

Brig, for his Speech #7, researched and presented “The U.S. government 101- checks and balances”.  He gave an overview of the three branches of government: Congress, Executive and Judicial, and how they each have certain powers that keep any branch from having too much power over the others.  He made it clearer than any 9th grade civics class.

Emily used her speech #9 to convince us of “The Necessity of SNAP”.  She illustrated the statistics of food insecurity in the U.S. by having members stand to signify the issue. Emily gave a broad overview of the issue by using statistics in terms of volume and need, addressed two commonly held misconceptions and gave the numerical cost of inaction.  We are ready to write our congressmen.

Table topics master Sue slyly used the anniversary theme to challenge the speakers to take on a persona that wanted to make a change in their life.  Wow – it was indescribably fun!

Our next meeting, April 15th, is tax day.  Get those forms sent off and come on down.  See you there!

Old and distinguished

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