Toastmasters International

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. 

Congratulations, Christine!

Written October 12th, 2014
Categories: Speech Contest, Toastmasters International

Thursday, October 2, was the Area 43 Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests. Our club had four contestants competing against representatives of the other Area 43 clubs. The winners were to advance to the Division level contests: Mark Morden and Phil Irvin in the speech contest and John LeCompte and Christine Klimkowski in the table topics contest. The table topics contest was a rematch between husband and wife, John and Christine. In our club contest, John was the victor. However, at the Area contest the tables were turned and Christine prevailed over all contestants. She was judged to have the best response to the question, “The $100: who uses it, and how is it used?” Christine will move on to compete on October 24 in the District D contest. John finished second. In the humorous speech contest, Mark and Phil faced stiff competition. While they both represented the club very well, neither was able to reach the winner’s podium.

Show Christine your support and attend the Division D contest on the 24th. Information about the location and time of the event can be found at this link to the District 2 webpage. Winners at the Division level will compete in the District 2 finals on November 15.

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.

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

March 18 – Signs of Spring

Written March 26th, 2014
Categories: Meetings, Public Speaking, Toastmasters International


It’s Spring, at least on paper, and Toastmaster Sue gets us to think about what makes us feel like it’s Spring.  Is it the crocuses, or the sneezing and watery eyes?

For speech #3 from the Persuasive Speaking Manual, Phil spoke on “The Impending Crisis of the South”.  The audience became the Republican Party in the mid 1800’s. His argument was about the crisis of slavery in the South and the opportunity that the Republican Party has to influence the nation to abolish slavery. Phil gave several examples of the time to support his argument and encouraged the party to print copies of a book on the topic and distribute it to voting white men.

Lisa, for her Speech #7, researched and presented “The NEPA Process”. NEPA stands for the National Environmental Protection Act. Lisa gave the historical context of the law and the events leading up to it being signed into law by President Nixon in 1970. She explained the environmental impact statement (EIS) and used the examples of both Love Canal and the Duwamish River.

Since we were short a speaker, Bruce agreed to give an impromptu speech.  Prior to Lisa’s speech the members and guests were asked to think of topics for Bruce to think about. Bruce chose “The Joys of Owning Cats” which turned out to be a bit of a satirical title. He gave a humorous speech with three main points 1) cats don’t adapt 2) the cult of personality and 3) economics of Versailles.

Table topics master Sandra, who did not grow up with Spring as we know it, asked the speakers questions about Spring as they know it.

Our next meeting, April 1st, is our club’s anniversary and the theme will be our history.  Don’t be a fool and miss it!  See you there!

Bruce talks about his favorite kind of pet

March 4th – Celebrating Dr. Seuss

Written March 9th, 2014
Categories: Meetings, Public Speaking, Toastmasters International


On March 2, Dr. Seuss would have turned 110 and Toastmaster Amie celebrates his work by being her best Toastmaster self because “Today you are you!  That is truer than true! There is no one alive that is you-er than you!”

“You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”  For her Speech #8 Emily used visual aids to explain some critical elements to a successful hike. She looked the part and pulled items out of her backpack to give her speech structure.

“From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.” Christine, for her Speech #4, spoke about all of the stereotypes of the Northwest. She talked about the Pemco Insurance commercials and how it can take some time for someone from out-of-town to understand what it means to be a Northwest native.

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh the thinks you can think up if only you try!” Joel’s Speech #2 taught us that correlations exist with everything and they are very important for how we make decisions and understand the world around us.  He gave examples through the use of visual displays of data such as info graphics, graphs, lists and pictures.

First time Table topics master Yan used her new found love of Dr. Seuss to inspire her questions to our brave speakers.

Not sure what great theme we have in store for our next meeting, March 18th, but remember, “Today is good.  Today is fun. Tomorrow is another one.”   See you there!

New member Marja

All quotes from Dr. Seuss


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