December 18, 2011

Table Topics: Memories

by Anna Shumeko

(Anna was the Table Topics Master for the first time on December 8, 2011. This is what she prepared.)

Word Of The Day

The word of the day is “impressions”. Members who don't use this word when talking about the topic are fined 50 cents. Guests are exempt.


This meeting had 29 attendees including 5 guests. To speed up Table Topics, each participant got between 20-40 seconds to speak instead of the usual 30-60 seconds.

The Topics

Attendees randomly draw a slip from an envelope. Here are the topics:
  1. Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.
  2. A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen.
  3. Every man's memory is his private literature.
  4. Actors are good liars; writers are good liars with good memories.
  5. Both expectations and memories are more than mere images founded on previous experience.
  6. Creditors have better memories than debtors.
  7. Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.
  8. I have a lot of great memories, but I can't imagine anything more exciting than the life I have now.
  9. Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things.
  10. It may be no more than a memory, but if it is a worthy one I shall not regret the price.
  11. There’s no disappointment in memory, and one’s exaggerations are always on the good side.
  12. If you are speaking the truth you don’t have to remember anything.
  13. Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.
  14. We don’t remember days; we remember moments.
  15. Memory feeds imagination.
  16. A lot of people mistake a short memory for a clear conscience.
  17. Things that were hard to bear are sweet to remember.
  18. Don’t count the years-count the memories.
  19. The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.
  20. Nothing improves the memory more than trying to forget.
  21. Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.
  22. Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.
  23. We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they're called memories. Some take us forward, they're called dreams.
  24. Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose
  25. The best things in life come in threes, like friends, dreams, and memories
  26. Life gives us brief moments with another...but sometimes in those brief moment we get memories that last a life time...
  27. Memory is what tells a man that his wife's birthday was yesterday.
  28. Things that were hard to bear are sweet to remember.
  29. The first Christmas in a new home always brings back memories.
  30. We always remember the first car we ever owned, and the independence of being able to drive.
  31. We always remember to make a shopping list, but not always to bring the list to the store.
  32. There is usually one high school teacher we remember by name, and the influence the teacher had on the students.
  33. When we hear our favourite song played, it brings memories to mind.
  34. When we meet a famous person, we remember the moment.


Attendees vote for who spoke best. Dave got the ribbon.

Anna joined Goodyear Toastmasters in April 2011 and was Table Topics Master for the first time.

December 15, 2011

The 2011 President’s Holiday Address

by Promod Sharma, President 2011-2012

The recording of my Holiday Address at tonight’s Holiday Party wasn’t good enough to post but here’s a transcript. Supply your own applause!

George Harrison said that for a tree to be green, each leaf must be green. He must not have known about our evergreens.

Still, we understand what he meant. The world outside may look like it's in turmoil once again. We're concerned but worrying about what we can't do much about makes us feel powerless. As Toastmasters, we know the value of focusing on where we can make a difference. We know the value of focusing on ourselves and the people around us. We do that in every meeting and elsewhere too.

Tonight we enjoyed a tasty meal and wonderful company. This year we experienced another great year at Goodyear Toastmasters. We've seen fellow members grow. I joined just over a year ago and marveled at how Trevor delivered the 2010 President’s Address. I didn’t think I could. Yet here I am.

How did you like our Secret Santa gift exchange. It was more complicated than Table Topics! But enjoyable. If we had a prize most colourful attire, Lyle would have won with his illuminated vest.

Let's thanks the volunteers who made tonight's celebration possible. Anita for finding this wonderful restaurant. Trevor for organizing. The Rudy Award is our highest recognition and you select the winner. Thanks to Jada for running the campaign and Jennifer Moon's mom for explaining the history. Congratulations to Jonathan for winning. You had my vote. Now we can get you to volunteer for more club activities ...

Once again, Gulzar took photos. Have you noticed how he takes lots of shots but we never get to see them. To prove that his camera really works, Gulzar has promised to post photos from tonight and previous events online by January 15, 2012 or pay the club a fine of $5. Since he's retired, I asked why he can't post the pix tomorrow. He explained that digital film takes a long time to develop. And he thinks no one laughs at his jokes!

Finally, thanks to Jada for making sure everyone paid and for organizing the gift exchange. That'll teach her a lesson for winning the 2010 Rudy Award!

What makes an evergreen change from green? Snow. Let's hope we have some. That's part of the holiday joy. On behalf of your club executive, best wishes to you and yours during the holidays and in the New Year.

Enjoy the rest of your evening. Remember to ask Santa for time to write your next speech!


December 11, 2011

Revisiting New Year's Resolutions

by Jennifer Moon, DTM

If my recollection of Roman history is correct, we have Janus to thank (or to curse) for the practice of setting New Year’s resolutions. Janus, the mythical king of Rome, had a unique perspective on life. He also had two faces. One face looked back on past events while the other looked toward the future, making him the perfect symbol for reflection and promise.

JanusHistory tells us that we’ve been making resolutions since about 150 BCE, so I guess you could say people have been making, and breaking, New Year’s resolutions for over two thousand years. Fortunately for Toastmasters, we’ve still got six months left in our year and January is the perfect time to reinvigorate ourselves and our clubs.

As we transition into a new year, have you thought about your Toastmaster resolutions? Have you taken a look at your goals and realized you’re in great shape? If so, can you spare some time and expertise to help a struggling club or to coach a member in need? January is a great time to volunteer in these capacities.

What if you realize that you’re a little behind schedule? Not to worry! Unlike the traditional resolutions that have a “best before date” of December 31st, Toastmasters have until the end of June to realize our yearly ambitions. Do you need a little help from a mentor? Would you benefit from scheduling your projects well in advance, leaving you little choice but to stay on track?

Let’s adopt a little bit of Janus’ wisdom as we work toward our Toastmasters goals. Take time to look back over the past months of success and realize just how far we’ve come. What roles have been mastered? What fears have been overcome? Use some of that inspiration as we look toward the future, and all the challenges that lie ahead. As we transition into the new calendar year, take time to celebrate successes – yours and the club’s – and enjoy accomplishing your Toastmasters resolutions.

Jennifer is a long time member of Goodyear Toastmasters and served as our Area Governor for 2010-2011. She recently joined the Board of Governors of the Ontario College of Trades. You’ll find more about Jennifer on LinkedIn.

December 8, 2011

Lessons From One Year In Toastmasters

by Promod Sharma, President 2011-2012

Happy anniversary! I joined Goodyear Toastmasters exactly one year ago. The benefits exceeded my expectations.

I wasn't very interested in giving speeches but have finished the first seven in the Competent Communicator manual. I wasn’t interested in leadership, which (I think) I already know. I certainly had no intentions of becoming a club officer.

Why Join?

My main interest was in pre-testing important new presentations. That’s what I did for
  1. Building Trust With Social Media for CALU in May
  2. Building Trust With Blogging for Word11 in August and
  3. How To Turbocharge Your Club With Social Media last month (co-presented with Jonathan Holowka at the District 60 Toastmasters Conference; his post)
This approach worked well.


I wanted to experiment with answering audience questions. This involves having a topic that engages the attendees and thinking quickly (like impromptu speaking but about a subject you know).

I was comfortable with Q&A with my former audiences of accountants, lawyers, investment advisors and insurance advisors. I wanted to experiment with general audiences.

360 Degree Feedback

Feedback makes us better. Since we each react differently, I wanted group feedback as often as possible. I don't know of a better place than Toastmasters for this (results will vary by club). The comments are very helpful and sometimes contradictory. For one speech, someone said I was relying on notes too much and someone else thought I was speaking from memory.


The scariest role for me was being the Timer. That involves keeping track of the key sections of the meeting. I found there were "too many moving parts". That was distracting. After my second time, I felt comfortable.

As timer, you become more attuned to the value of every second. It's surprising how long and how short 60 seconds is.

Free Prize

Are there things you'd like to do but never thought you could? Impromptu speaking is on my list. Or was. Thanks to Table Topics, I feel comfortable speaking without preparation. That's a wonderful feeling.

In the past, I would need to jot down notes, which takes away from the spontaneity. Now I can talk with ease. That practice helped when I was interviewed by the Toronto Star in March and The Globe and Mail a few weeks ago.


What you get out of Toastmasters depends on your goals, what you put in, and your club environment. You could easily come out with more than you ever imagined. And help others feel that too.

You’ll find more than you want to know about Promod with a Google search.

December 5, 2011

7 Tips to Live a Motivated Life

by Barbara Berezowski

Life is wonderful. Life is great. How blessed we are to have a new opportunity every 24 hours! There are no bad days if you keep everything in the proper perspective. Here are seven tips to live a motivated life.

1. Begin each day with a good nutritional breakfast.
Protein is the key. Watch the carbs. Have 2 eggs since they're packed with a high level of protein. If you're going to have carbs, go for a whole grain slice of bread, throw in a bowl of fruit and you're good to go. A good healthy breakfast is so good for you. It's like putting gas in the tank so that you can drive a long way.  Your body and mind need fuel to function and operate well. You'll have the energy to take on all that the new day has for you.

2. Make a plan for the day.
Write down what you would like to accomplish and get to it. Make a list and prioritize it according to importance. Start with the most difficult task and work on it until it is completed. Then go on to the next. Do this daily and it will become a good habit. There is a good feeling that comes over you as you reach your daily goals. This good feeling is what will motivate you to do the same thing again tomorrow and the next day and the day after that.

3. Listen to motivational messages.
As you drive in your car, pop in a motivational CD. Whether it be words of wisdom from a motivational speaker or some great music on a CD you just bought, you will feel inspired and it will make you a more positive person. Your day will play out much better because you have put yourself into a better frame of mind.

4. Appreciate life and show gratitude.
Remember that life is a gift and we need to appreciate it. Be grateful for all that it has to offer and take every chance to spread the good message to all that you meet. Be positive and problems will transform into opportunities to get better. By that I mean that no matter what challenges you face, you will find a solution and you will grow from the experience.

5. Take care of your heart, mind and body.
Your heart is your engine. Keep it working smoothly by maintaining good health. You don't have to go to the gym and work out for five to six hours. One will do. Keep things in perspective. If working out is a chore, just go out for a walk. Enjoy the scenery and know that you are doing your body good. Put on the motivational messages in your iPod and feed your inspiration by listening while you walk. Whatever you do, just move! You owe that much to yourself, don't you?

6. Laugh and enjoy.
When you hear something funny, laugh. Too many times people hold back because they feel they must hide their feelings. Laugh and enjoy yourself, always. Life is short ... have a good time.

7. Love with all you've got.
Love your family, love your friends, love your pets, love your life but most importantly, love yourself! If you don't love everything in your life, make some changes so you can. If you hate your job, look for ways to make it more enjoyable or look for something else. It does no good to feel miserable about something and just let it be. Be motivated to take some positive action to make things better. When you love yourself, you will see and experience everything in a more positive light. Be inspired to motivate yourself to live a better and more positive life.

You'll find more about Barbara at

December 3, 2011

Revitalizing This Blog

by Promod Sharma, President 2011-2012

There hasn't been a post here in four months. What happened? Other priorities took precedence. Now that other aspects of the Goodyear Toastmasters web strategy are well in place, this blog can get more attention.

In Place

Our Meetup is used regularly now. Thirty events have taken place and there are 47 members (many from outside the club).

Twitter is functioning too. We changed from @goodyeartoast to @gytm81. Why? Because shorter is better (and because I "misplaced" the password for the original account).

The website is stable too. The content could be improved and expanded but what's there is reasonable.

There isn't much on our YouTube channel. That should also change. A new member, Barbara, donated a nice video camera. That will help with quality. Viewers are picky these days! Creating the videos is a challenge. The source files are in HD, which makes them large. The rendering is time consuming. The finished video can take a long time to get uploaded to YouTube. We'll get better with practice. As the content improves, more club members may start participating.

Why Blog?
Toastmaster clubs focuse on speaking and leading. What's the point of blogging? To create an archive of the magic that happens within the club walls and then vanishes forever. What a waste! When you blog regularly, you can get considerable benefits as this brief video from Seth Godin and Tom Peters explains.

This Blog
Time passes fast. It's time to revitalize this blog starting today. If there are only two new posts per week, we'll have over fifty by June 30, 2012. That's when my term as President ends. By then, this blog should have enough momentum to survive. If not, it will still be here as a sign of a failed experiment.

Let's see what happens ...

PS If you're a club member, you're invited to donate content. This is an opportunity, not an obligation. Ideally make posts 300 words or more. Maybe you'll like blogging enough to start your own

You’ll find more than you want to know about Promod with a Google search.