Area Governor


Today I found out that I have been selected to be an Area Governor in Toastmasters District 66 for the 2011-2012 Toastmaster Year!

I haven’t found out which Area I will be heading, hopefully it will be the area my club is in.  But if it’s not, I’ll have a chance to spend time with new clubs and learn new things from them.

As Area Governor, it will be my job to help four to five clubs set and achieve their educational and membership goals.

This is the first level of leadership beyond the club level and I’m very excited for the opportunity.  Plus, it will help me complete my Advanced Leader Silver.

Wish me luck!

Table Topics Thursday Topic 12


This week’s Table Topics Thursday question is: If you could choose another name what would you choose?

Honestly, I’m quite happy with Dan.  Of course, my full first name is Daniel and I’ve been called Danny from time to time as well.

I’m not fond of being called Daniel and find Danny only somewhat acceptable.  So, I settled on Dan.  This is how I introduce myself to people and I make my preference clear when asked.

Of course, if I had to choose a name other than some variation of my real name, that opens up a ton of possibilities.

I could go silly with Abercrombie, or Eustace. No offense intended to any Abercrombies or Eustaces out there.

I could go for something strong-sounding like Rex, or Butch, or Max (I do like the terminal x)

But, in the end, I like Dan.  I’ll stick with what I’ve got.

So, what about you?  If you could choose another name what would you choose?

Word of the Week Wednesday: prolix


This Wednesday’s Word of the week is: prolix.

Prolix means excessively wordy.

What I find particularly great about this word is the irony that such a wonderfully compact and efficient word is used to describe an inefficiency in word usage.

Also, I have a fondness for words ending in “x” for some reason.

In an effort to avoid becoming prolix myself, I will keep this post brief.

Continuing Education


I’ve updated my educational progress to reflect my next goals.  Please refer to the blurb in the sidebar and My Education Progress page.

Having completed my Competent Communicator (CC) and Advanced Leader Bronze (ALB), I am now working on my Advanced Communicator Bronze (ACB) and Advanced Leader Silver (ALS).

I am already halfway to ALS.  All I need is to complete the High Performance Leadership Program and serve a year as a District Officer.

To achieve ACB, I need to complete two manuals from the Advanced Communicator Series.

I’ve chosen Special Occasion Speeches and Humorously Speaking.

Special Occasion Speeches is a series of five projects to practice for those instances when you’re called on to speak at an event.  Examples include: giving a toast, delivering a eulogy and presenting or accepting an award.

Humorously Speaking contains five projects to help practice integrating humor into your speeches.  It progresses gradually from opening your speech with a joke or funny story to presenting a completely humorous speech, suitable for competition in a humorous speech contest.

Word of the Week Wednesday: melancholy


This Wednesday’s Word of the week is: melancholy.

Melancholy comes from the theory of the four humors.  The humors were bodily fluids that were thought to cause or influence emotions.  The humors were: blood, phlegm, yellow bile (chole in Greek) and black bile (melan chole in Greek).

An excess of black bile (melan chole) was thought to be the cause of sadness.

Being a long-time fan of “mope rock”, I’ve always found the concept of melancholy appealing (see maudlin).

I won’t rehash here what I love about the eloquence of sorrow but will instead discuss the unique qualities I enjoy about this word.

I find the word origin fascinating, obviously.  But I also find the pronunciation particularly euphonious.  I’m not sure I can go much deeper into the theory of euphony than that, since I suspect it’s largely subjective.  But the word has always had a romantic feeling to me.

CC Speech 10: Inspire Your Audience


The tenth and final project in the Competent Communicator manual is: Inspire Your Audience.

The goal of this project, as the climax of the ten-speech journey toward becoming a Competent Communicator, is to use all of the skills practiced in the nine previous projects to provide an effective and inspirational presentation.

Some tips for this project are: to appeal to the audience’s needs and emotional reactions, use stories and anecdotes to make the message resonate with the audience and to avoid using notes to present an aura of confidence and reliability in the speech.

The title of my speech was: “Serving Your Club”.

I chose this topic for a number of reasons.  Firstly, it is a topic I feel deeply about and about which I have a breadth of knowledge.  Secondly, I presented the speech on the day we were accepting nominations for next year’s club officers.  My goal was to inspire our club members to step up to the challenge of club leadership.

This was only my third speech delivered completely without notes.  The first one was my speech about comic book superhero movies; the second was when I presented “Bugs!” for the second time for my club’s humorous speech contest.

Since I knew the topic so well and practiced enough to feel comfortable not using notes, I was freed up to move about and really connect with the audience.

I began the speech by discussing the accomplishments our club has achieved in two short year of existence and crediting that success to our members who took it upon themselves to serve our club.

Then I pointed out the many ways a member can serve the club and the ways serving the club can serve the individual member, from simple attendance and being part of an attentive and supportive audience at club meetings to serving as Club President.

I feel very good about how this speech went and even inspired myself to give more speeches without using notes.

This speech completed my Competent Communicator requirement, which also completed my Advanced Leader Bronze requirement.

This is the end of the Competent Communicator series of posts.  Be on the lookout for the new Advanced Communicator series, which I will begin once I start presenting my speeches for my ACB.

Table Topics Thursday: Topic 11


This Thursday’s Table Topics question is: Who has inspired you as a mentor and why?

When I presented Mentoring, from the Successful Club Series, I used the following example from my past to personalize the benefits of mentoring for the audience.

When I started work in the job I had before my current one, I felt very much out of my depth.  It was my first real programming job and I didn’t know whether I had the skills or experience required.  Added to the fact that my pay took a quite sizable jump at the new job made me even more worried about not measuring up.

However, in my first week, one of my new teammates took me very much under his wing.  He was extraordinarily supportive and helpful.

I was given a task to do and when he looked over what I had done, he praised me in terms that I remember fondly to this day.  He called me: Alpha Geek.

With his support, praise and tutelage, I was able to quickly overcome my insecurities and grow in both skill and confidence.  I hope that I’ve been able to pay it forward and help someone else to grow and develop.

Now it’s your turn: Who has inspired you as a mentor and why?

100th Post!


This is my 100th post on this blog.  From my first post to now, it’s been a lot of fun and a great outlet.

I started the blog posting updates about my Toastmasters club with occasional commentary about language in general.

Since then, I’ve added a bit more structure, running several series: The Competent Communicator Series, the Competent Leader Series, Word of the Week Wednesday, Table Topics Thursday and Song Lyric Spotlight.

Hopefully you’ve all had as much fun as I have.  And I hope you’ll stick around for the next hundred.

On a more “Toastmasters-related” note.  Our club held its elections today so I now know who my successor will be as I take it a little easier next year as Immediate Past President.

I was also presented with my certificates for Competent Communicator and Advanced Leader Bronze.

Thanks for reading and special thanks to those who leave comments.  I love them!

Word of the Week Wednesday: Flummox


This Wednesday’s Word of the Week is: flummox.

Flummox means to confuse or bewilder.

I’ve always loved this world, mostly for the sound of it.

Although the origin of the word is unknown (at least as far as dictionary.com is concerned), I see “flow”, “dumb” and “ox” in it; flow as in “at sea”, dumb as in “dumbfounded” and “ox” as in, well, ox.

I get a feeling of complete bewilderment and a sense of frustrated bemusement.

I’ve long believed insurers, banks, credit card companies and moneyed service providers in general use language — purposely or not — to flummox customers and protect their financial interests.

Chris Rickert: Insurance companies use language of profit in policies

Word of the Week Wednesday: obsequies


This Wednesday’s Word of the Week is: obsequies.

Obsequies is an archaic term meaning “funeral rites”.  It’s not really related in meaning to obsequious.

I had planned a cheerier word for this week, considering last week’s word.  I didn’t want two downer words in a row (since I have more planned in the future).

But, this is where my mind is going this week.  My dog, Sparky, died on Sunday.

He was a good dog and he’d been with me for twelve years.  I’ll miss him and wanted this week’s word to be in his honor.

I had him cremated and picked up his remains from the crematorium yesterday.

His ashes are on the credenza by the television in my bedroom.  This may not seem like the most honorable placement, but it’s safe from the cats knocking them over (I hope) and it’s where I’ll look at them every day.

Rest in peace, Sparky.  You were a good boy!

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