Word of the Week Contest

Based on recent and past comments (thank you to all my commenters by the way), I’ve decided to hold a little contest.

For the length of September, I will be monitoring the comments on this post.  I am asking you to submit a new word that you would like to have featured in the first Word of the Week Wednesday in October.

English: icon of Keep Your Word by bambooappsThe rules are simple:  Each commenter can only submit one word which cannot have been a previous Word of the Week and submission will need to be made before midnight Eastern Standard Time, Monday, October 1st.

I will review the submissions and will select a winner.  As I don’t have much to give away by way of prizes, the prize will be the fame, such as it is of being recognized on this blog in the post that features your word.

If I get a good response to this contest, I will consider making it a monthly feature.

So, have at it, my fellow philologists!

EDIT: Here’s a list of all past words of the week:
adorkable, altiloquent, amanuensis, anecdote, antidote, armamentarium, auscultation, avoirdupois, bailiwick, befuddle, bespoke, bifurcate, brilliant, brisance, brouhaha, catawampus, chagrin, concupiscence, contumacious, conundrum, converge, cunctation, darkle, discombobulate, draconian, egregious, eldritch, emblazon, evanescent, exquisite, falderal, fantast , ferly, flummox, frippery, gaslight , gobsmacked, grandiloquent, haberdasher, haimish, heinous, hideous, histrionics, hoi polloi, homely , hornswoggle, inkhorn, internecine, lovely, lugubrious , magniloquent, martinet, maudlin, melancholy, militate, monger, nemesis , neoterism, obsequies, obviate, ombudsman, omphalos, ossify, oubliette, paroxysm, penurious , perdition, peroration, phatic, pococurante, portmanteau , prerogative, prolix, prorogue, pyrrhic victory, quixotic, rapscallion, rutilant, schadenfreude, scupper, selcouth, shriek, sibilance, skullduggery, spruik, squamous, trope, widdershins.


District 66 Spring Conference Recap

This past weekend, April 21st and 22nd was our District 66 Spring Conference.

It was held in Staunton, VA, a three and a half hour drive from where I live, but well worth the trip.

We had two incredible guest speakers:

  • Ed Sykes who gave an incredible presentation about using Social Media and Blogging effectively.
  • Ed Tate, 2000 World Champion of Public Speaking who talked to us about mindset shifts and held a Train the Trainer session to prepare us all to conduct our officer training this coming year.

In addition to these and many other great educational sessions, we also had our District Table Topics and International Speech contests.  Fun Fact: It turns out the winner of our Table Topics contest is a haberdasher.

It was a great time and I was happy to have the opportunity to meet up again with Toastmasters from across the District.  Definitely worth the drive (especially since I won the 50/50 raffle).


Overdue Toastmasters Update

It’s been an awfully eventful few months for me with Toastmasters as Area Governor.

I’m planning on using that as my excuse for being so slack in my posting of late.

As a result of these two phenomenon, I have quite a few long overdue updates.

In my last Toastmasters-related post, I mentioned that we were in our Fall Contest Season.  We are holding Humorous Speech and Evaluation contests.

September was Area Contest Month and I helped out in eight separate Area contests, during three of which I gave the test speech that the Evaluation Contestants evaluated.

After seeing how just about every other Area in Hampton Roads did it, I finally held my own Area Contest on a dark and stormy night at the end of September.

The contest went very well, mostly because I had a lot of help.


Today was our Division Contest, where all the winners of the various Area Contests competed to see who would move on to the contests to be held at our Fall Convention.  I’m proud to announce that the Humorous Speech contestant from my home club placed third.


Also at today’s contest, the winners of the Division-wide “Battle of the VPs of Membership” were announced.  This was a membership renewal contest to see which clubs could get the highest percentage of members renewed as early as possible.

Of the 24 clubs in the Division, two clubs in my Area (more than any other Area) qualified and one of my clubs took First Place.


Note: Not Me

This coming Friday, my company will be holding its semi-Annual Tech Expo where all of the sizable IT Department gathers together and, after a plenary session where the CIO and the various VPs share status and planning updates, we break into groups and attend sessions presented by different sub-departments to find out what new technologies are being developed and used.

I mention this because I will be presenting a brief overview and introduction at the Expo explaining what we do in our Toastmasters club.  The purpose is to sell the benefits of Toastmasters for both individual skills development and contribution towards the company’s success.


My last update is about the District Conference.  Because I’m in IT and have been willing to help, I’ve been asked to act as the “AV Guy”.  I’ll be in charge of the setup and maintenance for the entire conference.

I’m a bit apprehensive about this because it’s a really big job and AV is not my exact bailiwick.  I’ve made this clear, so hopefully not too much is expected and I have reached out for assistance, with some success.

We’ll be holding a dry run next weekend at the facility to work out the details.  Wish me luck!

Speech Contest Double Feature

We’re well into Speech Contest Season here in District 66 Toastmasters.

In the Fall, we hold Evaluation contests and Humorous Speech contests.

Since, as a District Officer, I can’t compete this year, I performed the test speech for the Evaluation Contestants in my home club to evaluate.

I took the opportunity to present my first project speech from the Humorously Speaking Advanced Communicator manual, Warm Up Your Audience.  The goal of this project is to present a serious speech that starts with a humorous story.

Additionally, the Area Contest are being held this month.  My contest will be held at the end of the month, the last contest in Division D.

In the meantime, I am helping my fellow Area Governors with their contests.

This past Saturday, two areas held their contests back-to-back.  I volunteered to be the test speaker for the first contest and stayed around to watch the second one.  As it turns out, the test speaker for the second contest couldn’t make it, so I gave an encore performance.

I’ll be giving the speech one more time this Wednesday as Test Speaker for an Area Contest for an Area in another Division and this coming Saturday, I’ll be volunteering at another Area Contest, back in my own Division this time.

My plan is to pick up as much as I can from the other Area Contests before I hold my own.

Table Topics Thursday: Topic 10

This Thursday’s Table Topics Question is: What do you complain about more than anything else?

Let me preface my answer by saying that I really don’t see myself as much of a complainer.

That being said, I have my moments.

I’m not sure that there’s any one thing that I tend to complain about more than anything else.

I suppose I have the usual complaints from time to time: traffic, the weather, work.

I think recently, what I’ve been complaining about the most would be my new cubicle at work.

There’s been a reorganization at work recently and, as part of it, I was moved to a new cubicle.

The problem is, the cubicle is about half the size of my old one and, even though it’s only about 15 to 20 feet away from my old cube, it’s also about 15 to 20 degrees warmer.

I don’t know what it is, but it’s like I’ve moved to a different climactic zone.

It’s gotten to the point that I’ve had to request a power strip just so I can get myself a little fan to keep me cool.

So now it’s your turn: What do you complain about more than anything else?

Table Topics Thursday Topic 9

This Thursday’s Topic is: If you could have any view from your back porch, what would it be?

I’m finding this one especially difficult for some reason.

I think the reason is that each of my immediate responses feel clichéd.

Whether it’s a beach view…

or a view of the woods…

or the mountains…

It all seems kind of trite.

That’s not to say that I would mind any of these views, but none of them really speak to me as especially wondrous and I’m sure there are more meaningful answers that wouldn’t feel so overused, but I can’t think of any at the moment.

If I had to choose, I would probably opt for the beach view.  I wouldn’t choose the mountains because I’m not particularly fond of heights and I would avoid the woods because I’ve been in cabins in the woods and the bugs were horrible.

I love the sights and smells of the beach and I’d love to be near it, as long as I didn’t need to walk on the sand too much.

So…maybe you’ve got a better answer.  Let me know: If you could have any view from your back porch, what would it be?

The Lovely Runner-Up Strikes Again!

Today was the First Club Meeting Contest that I’ve been talking so much about recently.

We took Second Place!

This actually came as a surprise to me as my club is just two years old and we were competing against much more experienced clubs, one of which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year!

I found out today that there were six clubs across the district (Eastern Virginia) competing, the best three competing on stage today.  We originally came in fourth as so were not going to compete, but one of the original top three could not make it, so we were asked to compete.

We spent a very hectic week scrounging to fill all the necessary roles.

Competing was a lot of fun and the other two clubs were very impressive.  As an added bonus, we picked up a few practices that we might be including to improve our own meetings.  Particularly gratifying was that members of the other clubs mentioned aspects of our meeting that they plan to use!

Also, I don’t think I’ve mentioned before that the entire contest was taped to be used to market Toastmasters to prospective members!  We’ll be famous! 🙂

My friend, Jen, came to the contest to support me.  I’m very grateful for the support and she’s even now expressed interest in possibly joining a Toastmasters club after having seen a meeting.  (See, the marketing is already working!)

In closing, I want to thank the club members who participated and helped bring this honor  to our club.

The Lovely Runner-Up Moves Forward Again!

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned, our club was being judged for participation in the First Ever Club Meeting Contest to be held after the Division Speech Contest.  Three clubs in the Eastern Division were chosen to compete.

Our club came in fourth.

While I was assured that it was a very close race, it was small consolation, especially because I had started counting my chickens before they hatched.  When I got the call from our Division Governor giving me the news, I was gracious but disappointed.  He thanked me for participating and asked me if my club could be runner-up in case one of the top three clubs could not participate.  This was not an unfamiliar experience for me.  I agreed, even though I knew there was only a slim chance of this happening.

I gave my Executive Committee the bad news; we had already started planning our exposition meeting for the contest.

Today, at about 4:00 PM, I got a call from the Division Governor.  It turns out one of the clubs was not able to get the necessary meeting roles filled.  We were back in!

Because we’re a Corporate Club, it’s difficult to contact our membership after office hours.  So, as soon as I got off the phone, I began scrambling to reach out to give the good news to the Executive Committee and begin working again to plan the meeting and get confirmation from our members that we’d be able to fill all the roles.  We’re not 100% confirmed yet, but we’re close and I’m confident we’ll fill them all.

So, come next Saturday, we will be on stage at the Ella Fitzgerald Theater in Newport News doing our best as the Lovely Runner-up!

Judging Contests, Moments of Truth and more…

My apologies for slacking off on my postings.  I really have no excuse.

As a result, and possibly on the bright side, I have a bunch of Toastmasters updates to share.

As I mentioned in an earlier post,  I served as a judge in our Club International Speech and Table Topics contest.  I also volunteered to judge at the Area 13 contest. While I at the Area Contest, our Division Governor asked if I would judge at the Division Contest as well.  The contest will be held on Saturday, April 9th at the Ella Fitzgerald Theater in Newport News (of course I said yes).  At the same time, he asked me if I would be interested in serving as Area Governor for Area 13 next year (July1 2011 – June 30 2012).  I immediately said I would be.  Serving as Area Governor is one more step towards achieving Distinguished Toastmaster.  I was both flattered and honored to be considered since I’ve been a Toastmaster for under two years.

The day after the Area Contest, our club had its second Area Governor visit of the year.  It went quite well, despite having low attendance, and our AG told us that she would recommend us to compete in the Club Meeting Contest, to be held after the Division Contest.  We’re going to need to make sure we have members who will commit to take part and fill the roles needed.  Before the meeting, the AG also asked me if I would be interested in being Area 13 Governor next year.  The decision for Area Governor is made at the District level, so it’s by no means a sure thing that I’ll be chosen, but I think my changes are probably good and I’m confident that I can do a good job at it.

I also just registered for the District 66 Spring Conference which will be held from April 29 through May 1.  It should be a lot more fun this year than when I went last year since I know a lot more Toastmasters in the District and several other members of my club will also be attending.

Lastly, this Wednesday I will finally be presenting the Moments of Truth program from the Successful Club Series.  After that, I’ll only need to do one more speech to complete my Competent Communicator and then I will have achieved my Advanced Leader Bronze award.  You’ll remember that I was originally scheduled to present this in late December of last year, but I was snowed in.  I waited until now because the program takes a full hour and I didn’t want to preempt an entire scheduled meeting.  This Wednesday is the first 5th Wednesday meeting since December.

Table Topics Thursday: Topic 7

Today’s Table Topics Thursday question is: What are the redeeming qualities of the person you most dislike?

This is a tough question to answer, likely by design.  But I feel it is ultimately a worthwhile one.  It’s too easy to take a dislike to someone and not give them another thought.

That’s probably a mistake.  I think it’s a good idea to take a deeper look at someone who might rub you the wrong way.  It may not end up in a friendship, and you might not even end up liking the person, but at least you’ll have looked past what might have been a superficial judgment.

So, no more stalling and talking about the question; it’s time to answer.

While I don’t dislike many people, there have been a few.  I find one person at work particularly annoying.  She has no sense of personal space and tends to corner people to talk at them.  It’s to the point where, if I see she has someone cornered, I’ll arrange to have that person called so they can escape.

I would say her redeeming quality would be friendliness.  She does seem like a genuinely nice person.  She seems to be very interested in connecting with people and, for all her talking at people, she does also occasionally take an interest in what they have to say.

Now that I’ve tackled the question, I would encourage each of you to give it a shot as well, even if you don’t answer in the comments.

What are the redeeming qualities of the person you most dislike?

Give it a shot.  You might even win a Tabley award.

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