Archive for the ‘Speeches’ Category


In Speeches on October 16, 2009 at 9:06 am

Chamber Chatter’s very own Pat Griffin placed 1st in the Division F Humorous Speech Contest!

Brendan Murphy of Telesarians placed 1st in the Evaluation Contest!

Pat and Brendan will represent Division F at the Fall conference on November 14th.

Thank-you to all the contestants who each contributed to making the evening so successful.

They spoke to a packed auditorium at one of the best contests (most competitive!) I’ve seen yet.

Thanks also to those who volunteered their time to the Division F contest:

  • Amy Sluss, Toastmaster
  • Dominic Benigno, Ballot Counter
  • Joey Minahan, Ballot Counter
  • Tim Kepler, Ballot Counter
  • Brian Gibson, Timer
  • Terry Johnson, Timer
  • Phoebe Stinson, Sergeant-at-Arms
  • Paula Foster – Chief Judge
  • David Small, AT & T Facilities Coordination
  • and last but not least, our anonymous judging panel!

-Wendy Goody, Division F Governor


Reading Aloud; Blessing Life

In Speeches on July 31, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Amy-doing-a-reading-019, b&w

I sat on a stool, lovingly opened one of my favorite books and shared stories of blessings with my Toastmasters club this week. Rachel Remen’s book, My Grandfather’s Blessings, is a treasure trove filled with inspiration, reflection, and reminders that there’s more to life than what the popular culture tries to serve us every day. I was working from the advanced manual, Specialty Speeches and the project was #5, Read out Loud. So that’s what I did.

In the introduction of My Grandfather’s Blessings Rachel tells of learning that “life can spring from anything;” if we are faithful to it (we must apply ourselves!); her grandfather taught her that lesson with a cup of dirt, a seed and instructions to “give it a little water EVERY day.”

Indeed there is beauty and life all around us; we just need to pay attention and cultivate it.

In a story about blessings, Rachel describes a weekly blessing her grandfather bestowed upon her. He laid his hands on her head, proclaimed her goodness and blessed her aloud. She claims this weekly ritual as the only time during her week when she felt safe and truly loved. Rachel’s mother, years later, confessed to Rachel that she too had blessed her daughter every day but didn’t have the “wisdom to do it out loud.”

Ah, we should pay attention to this story. Are we sharing our appreciation and blessings generously enough with those we care about?

From a story about Hot Wheel cars we are reminded that the important things in life are not “things” but people and experiences. She cautions us to “not have more Hot Wheels” than we can love.

This is an important lesson in our world of “stuff.” I guess a global recession is a good time to re-assess all of the “stuff” we have. Is it necessary? Is it making us happy or is it holding us back?

And, in the final excerpt I shared, Rachel tells of a lesson she learned from her mother: Everyone around us knows something important that we don’t know. EVERYONE. Adults, children, those who look different from us, the sick, the homeless, the lonely – not just the successful people!

I urge you to look below the surface in your own life. The deeper meanings and messages life has to teach you can and will enhance your life in countless ways. Digging deeper can be the most satisfying thing you do.

Check out Rachel Remen’s books: My Grandfather’s Blessings and Kitchen Table Wisdom. She’s a master story teller, a pioneer in integrative medicine, and a faculty member in the UCSF College of Medicine.

Amy Sluss, RN, author, speaker

From my speech “Expert advice from a Mother of Twin Boys”

In Speeches on June 30, 2009 at 2:56 pm


When we become parents there are plenty of advice books, yet most of parenting is just on-the-job-training.  But with twins, you don’t have the experience from your first to do the second one better!  It’s definitely a double-whammy!

What I learned along the way is different from what I expected;  here are a few things I learned:

  • Kids have feelings too
  • When your kid does something really dumb, it’s important to not embarrass them in front of friends or family
  • Listening is one of the most important things an adult can do.
  • Don’t try to fix everything.  (that was the hardest one for me)
  • Speak TO your child, not AT them.
  • The right tools matter.  (this basically means match the things you buy for your kids to THEIR wants and needs…it’s amazing what they can accomplish if they have the right tools….for THEM!)

We adults have an obligation to teach and help them grow – not to treat them as friends, but to treat them with respect and love so they know how to show respect and love.

Happy Parenting Fellow Toastmasters!  And please, speak about it!  🙂

-Joey Minahan

Lemons >>> Lemonade. That’s the way, aha, aha, I like it, aha, aha!

In General Meeting Commentary, Speeches, Themes, Toastmaster Roles on June 28, 2009 at 9:59 pm


Our June 24th gathering to celebrate summer was a dooooooooooozy!  Kate not only brought in an Oreo kite, beach towels, and sunflowers…but she supplied homemade lemonade in her grandmother’s antique glass pitcher!  Now THAT’S a Toastmaster!!   Talk about a thorough spoiling of us members.  THANK YOU, KATE!  K.C. and the Sunshine Band would be proud!  🙂

And there’s something else on my mind.  Rachel spoke to us about the primary cause of our results in life, which is of course our attitude!!  She reminded us in her speech that attitude is comprised of our thoughts, feelings, and actions, which make up our circle of responsibility.  Great speech with awesome content!


And then Pat came up speaking about the curious life-role of being a grandparent – and how things have evolved over the years since she was a young parent.  Bottom line, some rules have changed!  BTW, ask her sometime about exactly how many grandchildren she has….I guarantee there’s a good story there!

Chamber Chatters, we just keep getting better and better!  Keep it up!

-Wendy Goody

P.S.  And here’s a reward for us all…

Kate’s Homemade Lemonade:

I first make a lemonade syrup, which is very handy to make lemonade by the glass.

For the syrup:

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

1 cup lemon juice

Boil the sugar in the water for 5 minutes. Cool, then add the lemon juice. Store in the frig.  To make a glass of lemonade, use approximately 2T. syrup to 8 oz. water. So, to make a pitcher, I just wing it. A little syrup…a bit of water…then taste! (It’s more like a cup of syrup to a pitcher of water). I think the mint sprig in the glass jazzes things up! – Kate


The “Magic” in Vision Boards – Back by Popular Demand!

In Resources, Speeches on May 29, 2009 at 3:07 pm

From my Vision Board speech on March 11th.

I mentioned to a friend that I was going to be working on my Vision Board over the weekend. She said something to the effect of, “you silly girl, you believe in that stuff?”  I know why she felt the way she did, since there are many people who feel that Vision Boards are some type of magic…or those who create them think that magical things will happen just by placing some pictures on a poster board.

Vision Boards are not about expecting magic to happen, unless you consider your dreams to be magical, then maybe so…

Back to my friend’s  skepticism and the The Secret, which is not really a secret after all.  The Secret is about The Law of Attraction. Its main premise is that:  What we think about comes about – thoughts become things – and we attract what we focus energy on. This is where some people start to dismiss these ideas as “magical”, but the “magic” behind Vision Boards is your dreams, goals and desires.

  • How many people have written goals?
  • How many keep their goal-list updated on a semi-consistent basis?
  • What makes goal writing so powerful?

As we  identify what our goals are, the likelihood of achieving them increases greatly!  Why is this?  My own theory – and the theory of The Law of Attraction –  is that we should focus both our thoughts and actions towards those goals.  If I don’t know what my goals are, how do I know what I want to achieve? Only 5% of the population writes down their goals.

Vision Boards are simply a visual representation of our goals. When you surround yourself with images of who you want to become or what you want to have, then your life changes to match those images and desires.  A vision board is a blueprint for the kind of life you’d like to create for yourself — a visual representation of your desired future.

What do vision board looks like?  Mine shows a car, exercise, adventure, travel, knives from Pampered Chef, cooking demonstrations, and things I want to achieve.  My goals are written as if they have already happened. Writing goals in the past tense is something that I learned over the years. It helps me to feel what it is like to have already accomplished the goal, which will help bring it to fruition.

Let’s say you are ready to create your very own vision board. Where do you start? I started by writing down all of my goals. I went through my journals from the last few years and consolidated my goals into one list.  This allowed me to see which goals I had achieved, which ones were written down year after year and were still yet to be achieved and which ones I wanted to focus on for this year, or in the coming years.

I used magazines to find pictures, phrases and words that were appealing to me. Some of the items I clipped weren’t on my goals sheet.  There are no rules when it comes to creating a vision board;  just add what speaks to you or is visually appealing to you. There is a reason why you are being attracted to the images and words; they mean something even if you don’t understand why.  Adding phrases or affirmations works well too.

Select images that are:

  • Easy to understand
  • Emotional
  • Personal
  • Relevant to your present life

You will also need poster board,  stick glue (not Elmers), and scissors.

Once you have your pictures, clippings etc… just let the layout come naturally. Once you have everything in place, begin gluing all of your clippings and images down to the poster board. Once you have completed your vision board, place it in a location that allows you to see it every day.

I hope I have taken a little bit of the mystery out of Vision Boards and allowed you to see the “Magic” in them that will eventually be the things in your life that you will have once you have identified your goals and are focused on bringing those goals to life, which is definitely magic!

– Lanette


My Vision Board

A visit from EVE, the birthing doll. Therapy anyone?

In Humor, Speeches on May 29, 2009 at 9:47 am

Sooner or later, Toastmasters Clubs with Registered Nurses as members are at risk of getting a talk about “the talk.”  And if you have a particular club member that is a ‘nurse educator’,  the club’s chances are all the better.  Or worse depending on how you look at it.

Amy, creative woman of many talents that she is, decided EVE needed to visit Chamber Chatters for a demonstration speech.  And let it be noted that Eve is……ahem….A BIRTHING DOLL.  I dare say, the annals of  Speaking to Inform speeches are forever colored by one particular anatomically correct entry.

To be evenhanded, the main point of the speech was to remind us adults that there are great tools like books and birthing dolls to help us in teaching our kids about reproductive matters.  And of course, if we speak with our children before they get strange ideas from the outside world, then the result is even better.

Well that’s all well and good.  We tried to keep straight faces.  Honest we did.  But the snaps that held Eve’s legs in place during birth (think wide angle) gave snicker new meaning….  and how could we recover from the realization that anatomically correct also meant the presence of a certain type of…..hair.  In a mere 7 minutes, we regressed to twelve-year-olds.

I very much suspect that Amy knew the comedic power of fur and snaps.  Yes…..she most certainly did.

As a club, we will *only* forgive the masterful baiting IF she promises to bring Eve again!   We loved the odd little creature that much!  It’s hard to remember when a demo speech was so darned funny – and had a useful message.  Amy,  you’re a pro!    And I now think you should join Pat in her stand-up efforts!  – Wendy Goody

Amy Sluss, ACB, CL

About the JAM…

In Speeches, Table Topics on May 19, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Sometimes one has to do what one has to do.  Such a moment presented itself in February.

Terry confessed to the group in Table Topics that he eats a peanut butter and jam sandwich every day.  It’s his favorite food for heaven’s sake! And he’ s a jam snob too.  Boysenberry is his preferred flavor…. Never mind that he’s a successful financial professional working for Merrill Lynch.  Never mind that he wears a suit and tie every single day.  Never mind that he’s way past toddler age!

And let it also be known that Terry was dragging his feet in getting through his Competent Communicator book.   Turns out, the peanut-butter-and-jam-sandwich-loving-fiend is a tad shy.

I immediately saw an opportunity.  You see, my mother has been making boysenberry jam ever since she was a kid in 4-H.  She’s like a jam afficionado.  And I had a stash.  Moms are awesome aren’t they????

Bribery is supposed to be subtle, but I nixed that tradition.  Two jars of homemade boysenberry jam got Terry through two more speeches and he’s now well on his way.  At Chamber Chatters, we get the job done through whatever means.  As long as it tastes good!

-Wendy Goody


Tears in Toastmasters? Yep…the Good Kind.

In Speeches on May 19, 2009 at 9:37 am

We all know Amy has a knack for storytelling.  Remember her famous birds and the bees tale?  Yeah…. I’m smiling right now too.  And who could forget the daffodils that got picked when they weren’t supposed to be picked? (by grubby little three year old hands!) And then there was lipstick and Crisco in all the wrong places.

A couple of weeks ago Amy shifted into an entirely different storytelling mode.  She told us about the last hours that she, her siblings, and her father spent with her mother and the lessons that came from that day.  Thanks to Amy for sharing such a personal moment with all of us.

Amy blogged about those lessons on her own website and I’ve posted it here.  Lovely job, Amy.  Just lovely!



Gail’s Gestures

In Speeches on May 18, 2009 at 11:22 pm

Gail missed her calling for the theater! Last week Gail did Project 5, Your Body Speaks, and boy did it!  In the space of a mere 7 minutes, Gail used more gestures than the rest of us have collectively in 7 months!  The purposeful pacing across the parking lot (I mean the conference room!) was my favorite….Congrats, you had us in the palm of your British hand!

-Wendy Goody