Archives for Seema

Pedro Casillas: Call for Leadership Nominations

District Leadership Committee

Serving as a District Leader is a great responsibility, but an exciting opportunity to further develop your communication and leadership skills.  The District Leadership Committee (DLC) is seeking Nominations for the roles of Division Director, Club Growth Director, Programme Quality Director and District Director. Full details can be found on the D91 website.

Submissions should be made to Leadership Committee Chair, Pedro Casillas DTM . The deadline for candidates to declare intent to run is Friday 14 December 2018.

After this date, the DLC will contact candidates to arrange interviews and will seek out other candidates as appropriate. The final report of the DLC will be circulated to District Council members by 6 April 2019, 4 weeks prior to the District Council meeting on 4th May 2019, when voting will take place.

Executive Committee in Prague, 10 Nov 18

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend the Executive Committee in Prague, 10 Nov 18. The Executive Committee, is made up of the most senior Toastmaster officers led by Lark Doley, Toastmasters International President

After a warm welcome from Lark Doley, CEO Dan Rex reviewed the 4 core values of: Integrity, Respect, Service and Excellence and said that, ‘Good things happen when we follow the core values’. Dan then challenged all Toastmasters to a 5-year challenge using the Core values: The challenge: ‘during the next 5 years, what will you have done to the benefit of yourself and other members?’ I’ll be taking up this challenge – how about you?

Then Margaret Page, 2nd Vice President, asked us all to think about ‘what is your why?’ Why are you attending Toastmasters and what are your goals? She then challenged us to share our goals within our clubs. Margaret also suggested that we might like to create a 1 min video and share, “#My Why” ( – (tagging Toastmasters International and @ToastmastersUKI or share with us to upload to Toastmasters District 91 UK South YouTube channel).

Arnaud Sartre: Idea for a New Club?

The past period has been exceptional! 

We have seen 18 Clubs meet the criteria to win the 2018 Smedley Award with 7 Clubs gaining no less than 10+ members, thank you for such diligence in recruiting members. District rewards will be shipped to the winning Clubs in the coming week.

By the end of November, we will have completed 12 demonstrations meetings since the start of the Toastmasters year. To put it in perspective, this means we have a tremendous potential for new Clubs. Demonstration meetings can only happen with the support of our Clubs and members, and it has been a pleasure to work with you to bring the Toastmasters experience to so many communities and companies.

November alone saw 5 excellent demonstration meetings and a bumper crop for Division H with no less than 3 demonstration meeting the space of a week (Spirited Speakers, The Reigate Rhetoric and Liberty Speakers) – special mention to Spirited Speakers managing to go from idea to demonstration with 40+ in attendance in less than 2 weeks! Two corporate Clubs (HCL and Microsoft) close the list of demonstration meetings for this month.

On 1st November, I had the pleasure to visit Surbiton Speakers for their 100th meeting which saw speeches from members sharing their journey – a truly inspirational event. Thanks, Eddy Quah and the Surbiton Speakers Team for the invitation.

Got an idea for a new Club? Organising an event to grow your Club membership? Let me know and I will be delighted to see how the District can help.

Florian Bay: Pathways to Excellence

My fellow PQD from Eastern Europe, Lukas Liebich, made a very interesting point in a call a few days ago. He pointed out that Pathways project can be used by members to directly benefit their home clubs while learning new skills at the same time. It was not until I looked at what exactly Pathways can offer from Level 3 onwards that the penny dropped for me.

‘Develop a Communication Plan’ – ‘Planning and Implementing’ – ‘Public Relation Strategies’ – ‘Building a Social Media Presence’ – ‘Writing a Compelling Blog’

These are some of the many elective projects available from Level 3 onwards and that any member can choose to do to progress on the next step on their chosen learning path. Just think about what your club and members could do with these projects.

Is your club looking for help with PR? Then delegate to a member to work on as part of their ‘Public Relation Strategies’ Pathways.

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Andy Hammond: Action galore at D91

Another busy and inspiring month, including club visits, our first virtual District Executive Committee (DEC) meeting and an opportunity to meet up with the Chief Executive of Toastmasters International, Dan Rex.

I was honoured to be invited to a very special evening at Woking Speakers, celebrating twelve and a half years since they first chartered. (Yes, I know it is an odd anniversary, but that’s Woking Speakers!). I was also at their charter dinner in 2006 when I was Division Governor, so it was especially pleasing to see them thriving, and to catch up with some dear friends.

I was also invited to attend PMI UK Toastmasters Club in the splendour of St Botoph without-Aldgate and Holy Trinity Minories. A fascinating and challenging venue in which to deliver my talk on “Excellence” and to answer members’ questions. Thank you to Area K58 Director, Vijaya Avula for arranging that, together with meetings with Club Officers and members from Bloomberg London Toastmasters.

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3 Tips for New Toastmasters

by Janet Alkema

Dr Norman Bird is the third longest serving Toastmaster in Division A having joined Hong Kong Achievers Toastmasters club in 1996 and Newbury Speakers in 2015. Norman has spent the last 70 years studying foreign languages and teaching English all over the world so, as a professional linguist, it was perhaps not surprising that Norman should seek a language and learning related occupation in his retirement. Norman was attracted to join Toastmasters because he was drawn to the companionship of like-minded people with a desire to learn and associate with everyone irrespective of sex, ethnic group or nationality. When Norman started at Hong Kong Achievers club it was his intention to experience the whole course from Icebreakers to DTM and, he claims, had he been younger, he would have continued beyond!  One of Norman’s special memories is of returning to visit his Hong Kong Club last year and of the special dinner they had organised to celebrate his return visit to the club.  Norman’s long and fulfilling Toastmasters journey just shows what a wonderful organisation it is, how much it has to offer those who commit to the programme and take full advantage of the opportunities.  Based on his experiences, Norman has these three tips to offer new Toastmaster members:

  1. As a professional linguist, I would emphasise one members the importance of “semiotics” (the scientific study of the “sign” in communication) and realise that only about 20% is linguistic and 10% is tone of voice; the rest is what is commonly known as body-language.
  2. The smile – hence empathy. Everyone is unique and that is what makes each one of us “special”; that could well be the basis of many of your TM speeches.
  3. Avoid the three things that I hate in life: arrogance, ignorance and indolence.