Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My First Date with Toastmasters

                                        My First Date with the Toastmasters Club in Bradford

                   It was August 2011.  On my fridge was a recent advertisement from Toastmasters inviting me to spend an evening with them.  This was like a blind date; I would not know anyone there.   I was curious, a little anxious and wondered if I would enjoy the evening's events.  I parked my car and wandered into the establishment.  I was greeted by friendly people.  The evening proceeded with jokes, quotes, and creative speeches.  I was invited back for more dates.  This was great! I was energized and inspired.  Toastmasters and I have been on many dates; over a year now and going strong.  Thanks for the fun, and opportunities Toastmasters. I am looking forward to a rewarding future with all of you.  

Christine Legree
December 2012.      

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Our Halloween Meeting

"Witches and Goblins? Not!" Characters from the past? Yes!

It was a fun night. Abraham Lincoln was our Chairperson and he, I mean she,
I mean Abraham did a mighty fine job. (Marsha) although her beard was the
tell tale sign of who was really under the hat.

Benjamin Franklin was our resident Tim Norton and I will say I was a little jealous
of the hair, it gave Tim a distinguished look.

I, of course came as my alter ego "Annie Oakley" carrying my gun and all (not a far
stretch really.)

It was an amusing night for sure...Jennifer entertained (as usual) with her Mary Tyler
look and theatrical performance. She was hilarious!

Christina, I mean Jacques Cousteau also made us laugh with whimsical story about
the infamous Jacques. She actually had a diver suit on!

John Lennon (Bob Cameron) almost fooled us into thinking he really was John, however
it came out during the meeting that he was our timer after all.

Our guests and new members chirped in to contribute to the meeting. The growth we
are having is incredible in our new location. I just knew this would happen.

Maggie Cohen gave a really fun and informative grammarians report and is an enthusiastic
new member. Thanks Maggie!

Our resident Doug Armstrong, who is always working so hard, just relaxed tonight. It was
good to see Doug just plain old enjoy himself!

John, read The Comfort Zone. It was deep and insightful. Thanks John, and your Private
Detective coat and hat made you look sophisticated.

Nice to Rick Nesbitt again, I hear he's bacccckkkkkkk.....He's a good bird!

Rob entertained us with his choice of table topics. I must say I thought I did well as a headless
women, wouldn't you agree? Story of my life always losing my head. lol

The night was mildly ghoulish, but more fun. I thought that everyone (including our new members)
participated which made it an even better meeting. Thanks for a great night to all!

Annette The Shy Buster!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Artistic Stress

Syndicated from The Acting Artist

Even with years of stage experience I still find that I experience a certain level of stress before performing a speech.  It was one of the main reasons why I joined Toastmasters to begin with.  I had little problems handling someone else's material, and did quite well in Improvisation when working with a group that I could bounce ideas off of, however I had not perfected the art of relying on myself for all the materials involved before.

I had written monologues back in high school and tried my hand as a disc jockey in college, but these didn't count in the same way to me as standing in a room with adults and entertaining them with my own words.  It's one of the reasons I never pursued stand-up comedy up to this point.  I was advised to by a number of people as I've been known to come up with quite a few zingers in my time, but it wasn't a place I felt ready to go.

The interesting thing is, this has nothing to do with speaking in public.  One, Fifty, Five Thousand, it doesn't matter. I am quite comfortable being in front of people.  Where my anxieties always lie is in the material.  When I am in improv mode, I'm not that worried about making mistakes.  I can always change tactic and make up something to make my phrasing sound coherent.  However with a prepared speech things are completely different.

Ironically, the more that I prepare my material the more nervous I feel in the hours leading up to my performance.  As the writer of said speech I have an artistic pride in doing it exactly right...and my pride can be pretty big sometimes.  Like most artists out there, I am my own worst critic and I hate being mad at myself.  So, I stress the entire day away, working out the best methods to not allow that to happen.

It has served me well, I guess.  My energy and enthusaism tend to be at their peak when I speak.  I've been told by some I make it look easy.  But what my audience doesn't see if that the entire day leading up to that moment has usually been laid to waste.  I can't concentrate on anything else, I'm withdrawn into my own thoughts half the time and I pace around like a crazed tower guard.

Those of you out there who think they are no good at public speaking because they get nervous...take heart. Even the most experienced of us have our nerves and stresses.  It's all part of the learning experience of being a public speaker or actor or even a comedian.  My own education is in going easier on myself, allowing the natural side of delivering my speech to flow better and to take more pleasure in what I do.

If I can't have fun, why do it at all?


Music I'm listening to right now: Dean Evenson - Dreamstreams
Podcast of the day: The Thrilling Adventure Hour

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Humorous Speech Contest

October 13th, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (With photo provided)


The Bradford Toastmasters club, Speak for Success, recently hosted the local and area Humorous Speech Contests at the BWG Leisure Centre. The two evenings were enjoyable for both those attending and participating.

Contest Chairman, Doug Armstrong with speech contestants Vetri Kasinathan,
Tim Norton,Rita Beechey,Debbie Auty and Francisco Zimmermann.
The area contest was held last Tuesday evening, featuring finalists from four area clubs. The four speech competitors included Vetri Kasinathan, Debbie Auty, Rita Beechey and Tim Norton. In addition to the speech contest, a Table Topics contest was also held. Debbie, Rita, Tim, and Francisco Zimmermann competed in the Table Topics contest. Area Governor, Doug Armstrong, was chairman for the event.

After an entertaining evening, the winners of the contests were announced. Tim Norton, our Bradford club President, won both the speech and table topics contests. Rita Beechey of Simcoe Shores Toastmasters placed second in each contest. Both Rita and Tim will advance to the division contest next month.

For those interested in seeing the best of their respective areas compete in the division contest, it will be held in Innisfil, at the Innisfil Church, 1571 Innisfil Beach Road, Innisfil, ON. L9S 1A9 on Saturday November 3rd, from 9:30 am until 12:30 pm at a cost of $5.00 per person.

 The Bradford Club meets every 2nd, 4th and when it occurs, the 5th Tuesday of each month at the new  BWG Leisure Centre, 471 West Park Avenue, Multi-purpose room East End 2nd floor, Bradford, ON, L3Z 2A8,. Regular meetings start at 7pm and run until 9pm. Guests are always welcome at no cost.

 Feel free to join a meeting, or please contact on the web at http://speakforsuccess.easy-speak.org/  or Tim Norton directly at 416-871-5744.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Reflection - my meeting intro speech.

September 11th invokes a lot feelings across the world.  On the 11th anniversary of the tragic events in 2001 much is being considered about the world and where we fit into it.  Some mourn, others rage and more still are confused about what all the fuss is about.  Does that surprise you?

It is in our base nature to believe that everybody else should have the exact same kind of beliefs and value systems as our own.  The social community we grow in teaches us that. To reach the mental state where we are able to just accept everybody else for not only who they are but what they believe in; particularly if they view the world in a completely different way is not only difficult, but often takes a fundamental shift in our own perceptions to achieve.  Where does this shift begin?  The answer is closer than you think.

On our local news station there has been a lot of sensationalism about a local street gang whom I will not name here.  The reason for this is that the press have been giving these street punks exactly what they want - fame and streetcred and I don't want to buy into it.  Sure, they could be busted tomorrow but with the lack of serious criminal sentences any of these creeps could muster they'd serve their short time with respect from their fellow inmates and be right back out to start a ganglife again - the infamy is a drug of choice.  I prefer that the press keep a less excitable tone...don't make their lives like a Hollywood movie or a New York Times Bestseller. 

On my way into my Toastmasters meeting tonight I came across a slightly amusing site.  A young mother was begging her six year old daughter to share her very delicious and highly anticipated Special K granola bar with her younger brother.  The look on the little girls face was akin to having been asked to shoot her brand new puppy. 

How do we expect gangland creeps to have a better understanding and compassion for others in society if we can't even get a young child to share a simple snack?  Hence, how do we expect different cultures in the world to get along better if we can't even even get those in our communities to get along?  Each level is a reflection of the other.  One that we need to work on slowly, methodically and together.