Contest at Citi Criers, Area 59 Toastmasters

60 photos of speakers, toastmasters in action

60 photos, my hand hurts this morning

But of course, it was worth. 

I could say "it was not me, but my camera. it was not me but them, speaking with such wonderful body language and movement" and even add "it was not me, but..." but it was me, too. 

I was the one who found, finally, the right setting on my tiny Sony, so it could catch the movement in not ideal light, I was the one who snapped at the decisive moments, and of course, it is my hand that hurst this morning. The hand will heal, the memory and the portraits will remain.

It is important to take video when possible, or like here, yesterday, at least images. As I did not use flash, no one told me not to take and the speakers were not distracted either as my camera is tiny. 

Now, with "embed" from flickr, even if I can not send a note directly to the blog, I can embed it here.



London, Stoke cornerOK. One can not do what I was used to from flickr to blogger from now on, but I can learn how to go around it.

I hope.

At least I try. And I will persist.

On the main street, small shops, at Stoke Newington, one after the other. Colourful, but nothing special.

I suddenly, see something interesting around the corner.


Suddenly from this angle, all is more intriguing. More colourful, more... just more.

It is always worth going nearer, looking longer, finding a new angle. Trying to look at some other aspect. That happened also to my story. The result really is worth the effort.

The Mistaken Identity story, which is in fact also how I changed my profession after 47 of age, but really "we can use our knowledge and qualities in more then one job descriptions" and "think outside the box" or "we have more in us as we believe", got better. Even shorter, also I think next time I will really try for a bit longer at least ten minutes to make it really rounded.

It was funny and I believe I acted it out well, again. Of course, in the last three years when I delivered it first, I did learn some more and gained more self confidence too, what counts. Rehearsing it in a toastmasters club just a day before the "main event" was also useful.

I still could improve on the end. The story was there, the point not made, only hinted. I hesitate between some who tell "not necessary" and others that you even have to suggest "action".  I would have liked at least to involve the audience in what I found. "We" not "you" or "me".


Freddie Daniells Speaking at Julie Kertesz's workshop at CITI Criers

The reasons we speak, a great important speech !

A lot to learn from it, Freddie Daniells, our immediate past District Governor in Toastmasters of UK and Ireland, is a master speaker! He demonstrated it again at my last workshop of "how to make a good speech great". Freddie speaks at the end of Olivia, who will be in London Saturday 12 April at the occasion of Division B Conference and Contest (and the Monday after).

Other speech and some part of my workshop will follow. For me, it is easier to create a new speech then transform videos and cut and paste them as I would liked.

Two books, 30 years of distance

Two books at 30 years distance. 

I imagined, wrote, created and then cowrote Postscript at your Service, at age 50, at the burgeoning personal computer age. I even produced and added all the pictures and figures, edited it and found the printer. This one was edited by BIP, the company I have founded and lead for ten years. We used to sell it with a disk, with all the code on it, in the shop but it was also sold in bookshops and the biggest supermarkets where computers and software where sold.

Two books, almost 30 years appart
Postcript, language of Laserwriter, now in is under most programs also, but you do not have to learn it to use it nowadays. At that time, years ago, it gave its power to hands of many, non programmers.

The second book, "70 things to do when you get 70", I got in it an essay "Never too late" and I was already 77 when I wrote its first version. 

Almost 30 years between the two books.

I love to write, I love people reading my books, my blogs, under my photos. I also love speaking and interacting directly with the audience. And yes, leading when needed others, helping.

Yes, I did write some other books between them," The Book of Hypercard" become a computer bestseller in its time and was republished three times, it support me for 18 month. I was also asked for more then a year to write each month about the subject in a Computer magazine because of it. 

Two others I wrote after that, very mild "erotic romances" I did never dare to publish, writing them I learned how far I can stretch myself and dare. Of course, that time, thirty years ago, we never thought how far in a few decades the romances will go expressing...

Writing those two, not only was a great pleasure, as always is when I create a new book or a new story, but it is then that I learned to write dialog, to put myself into different persons skin, to surprise and to tell some of the truth about myself that I would have never told as a "personal tale" under cover of fiction some things I never dreamed or even remembered come out, and perhaps without knowing preparing myself for speaking before an audience and telling tales. 

When I wrote "Postscript a votre Service" I was looked in Paris with warmth as the "old lady of computers" in the young computer business, of course, old, almost 50 already!

At sixty I discovered to be the youngest between those teachers who were pensioned and eager to learn, when I begun to make Creative Writing Workshops, week after week, but also coach older one's "do not be afraid of the mouse" class with a kid painting program.

At seventy, well, I took up street photography, opened my first three blogs (one about "now", one to publish my diaries from ten to "now", and the third a photo a day). And proved myself and others "there is life after seventy" day by day. 

Giving confidence to others, is what motivates me most. Always did. Will in the future too.


Flavia 2011 / 2014

Three years ago, Flavia Gordon won the Best Speaker of the evening award for the first time, at Lewisham speakers.

She come to visit me so I could take her photo with her award. We put it in the Lewisham speakers blog too.

Last year she went as far as becoming the runner up in our Division Contest, just a few weeks before her father died.

This year, in our International Speech Contest, in our club, she told us a compelling story of how she almost lost her job after that.

"We all fall, but do not stay down."

From our childhood, hurting our knees, she took us to the meeting with the manager : we felt there, with her. She almost lost her job of many years.

And she did not stay down.

Yesterday, she won our club's contest.

We should give awards that can be taken home, at least for the two weeks between meetings – as it can give so much joy!

The contests bring the best of us out and stories in a speech make know better our pals.

For a while she also did not come to our meetings, and now, she is back with us! Flavia is a great example of how much a Toastmasters organisation, club and members can do.


A new set: Place de Tertre. (Paris, my dear Butte Montmartre)

I just created a new set "Place de Tertre" - so many good memories going back there again and again!
I did live a few houses from it, but the pictures were taken after I moved out and went back again and again, after I begun to take pictures with a digital camera, after I lived alone.

With web, one does not feel so alone, with photography either, and combined, even better.

Here is if you want to go through them.

The "place de tertre" opens a new window, I am not sure where this one "embeded" takes us.
If instead of clicking on image, you use the arrows to navigate to the next or previous image, then you remain in this blog. The arrows are on left and right... appear then disappear. But they do come!


From D59 Continental Europe web, Interview with Olivia Schofield

Olivia will be in London mid April. The 12th morning, she will give us a 45' keynote, demonstrating her maestria, the 14th she will give an interactive workshop teaching us how to create and give motivational speeches. Freemasson's Hall, booking started for both events. 

12th Celebrate diversity Division B Toastmasters Conference and then International Speech contest.
14th interactive workshop in the evening organised by three London Toastmasters Clubs

Revealing what makes us unique – a dialogue with Olivia Schofield

Olivia Schofield and Wodwik
Olivia Schofield and Wodwik
She is a champion, she is our champion! Finalist of the international Public speaking competition at the Las Vegas Toastmasters convention in 2011, Olivia Schofield, who was representing our district, delivered a seminal speech (http://www.oliviaschofield.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Wodwik.pdf) that propelled her to “world champion finalist of public speaking”, a role that she embraced with shine, pride and gratitude.
Passing 31 000 competitors to be part of the final 9, has helped her develop a knowledge in the field of public speaking and self-awareness very few can claim. The reason why she is so widely loved and appreciated however is that by doing so, she above all became a champion of herself.
This post is the first part of a discussion we continued in the form of a podcast (release this Friday, 14th March). Olivia has also agreed to help you prepare online for your own upcoming competitions and presentations within the frame of two exclusive webinars (15 minutes each) aiming at exploring your voice potential. They will take place 3rd and 17th April breakfast time (register NOW: details for joining at the end of this post) and I bet they will put you in a good mood for the rest of the day, as well as tickle your inspirational self.
Ruxandra Balboa-Pöysti: Olivia, you are one of the few adults I know who openly admits that a teddy bear changed her life. Who is Wodwik and in what respect did it change it?
Olivia Schofield: Wodwik is one of my bears. albeit, a very special one. As my mum
Olivia Schofield's bears collection
Olivia Schofield’s bears collection
always said about me and my sister, “you are both special, in different ways”. I feel the same way about my rather large family of bears. Here is a picture of them. Wodwik lived in a hospital and I met him when I went to speech therapy. I had a speech impediment as a child that effected my self esteem and made me feel bad about myself. Wodwik and I became friends and he ended up coming to live with me. That was what my finals speech was about and Wodwik, who also featured in the speech, had a non speaking role.
Bob Mohl and John Zimmer with Wodwik
Bob Mohl and John Zimmer with Wodwik
and this is Wodwik having a bear with two of his friends Bob Mohl my speech coach for the international competition and John Zimmer the reigning European Champion.
Ruxandra Balboa-Pöysti: What does “public speaking champion” mean and what opportunities has it opened to you?
Olivia Schofield: That’s an interesting question. Many people think that the journey to the championship is a journey outwards, but actually it’s a journey inwards. It involves a lot of analysis and digging up the truth, then the truth needs to be shaped to gain it’s greatest impact. A speaking champion in my view is someone who craves connection, is seeking the truth and is willing to journey to their core. It has opened up many opportunities for me. Not only have I been invited to hold keynotes at District conferences from Florida to New York, Los Angeles to Australia, but I am now earning my living as a speaker and trainer. It is Toastmasters that have helped me make that transition.
Ruxandra Balboa-Pöysti: This is the time for speech competitions within Toastmasters, what type of advice can you give competitors at grassroots level to get as far as they can – to Kuala Lumpur this year?
Olivia Schofield and Wodwik all over the world
Olivia Schofield and Wodwik all over the world
Olivia Schofield: At this time of year I am approached by enthusiastic Toastmasters from as far afield as India, to help with their speeches. Obviously with nearly half a million Toastmasters worldwide I can’t possibly help all those that ask. This is a great opportunity for me to give out some tips.
1. speak to connect with your audience, not to win.
2. Risk failure by taking a risk and exposing yourself.
3. Be as close to your natural self as you can be. What I mean by this is deliver the essence of you. Obviously the performance needs to be slightly bigger for this competition, but be true to who you are.
4. Speak to make a difference, speak to heal, speak to inspire.
5. You can’t do it alone, if you can’t afford a coach, ask someone you admire from Toastmasters to coach you. Get two to four of you together and coach each others speeches. I have a Sunday night mastermind group with Bob, John and Mel Kelly, we all help each other and in the end, may the best speech win. Bring on the healthy competition.
To explore the potential of your vocal variety, join Olivia’s webinars:
The voice of success I: early morning voice training with Olivia Schofield 3rd April 2014 8:00 am - 8:15 am To freely register for the webinar click on this linkhttps://global.gotomeeting.com/meeting/join/146586373 (100 attendees allowed)
The voice of success II: early morning voice training with Olivia Schofield 17th April 2014 8:00 am – 8:15 am To freely register for the webinar click on this linkhttps://global.gotomeeting.com/meeting/join/468041813 (100 attendees allowed)
You can also attend the webinar by phoning locally (list of phone numbers provided when registering). Take five minutes to understand how gotowebinar works if you are not familiar with it few days before the scheduled webinar http://support.citrixonline.com/en_US/GoToMeeting/video/GTMV00012
To know more about Olivia Schofield’s work and upcoming seminars:
Olivia will be in London mid April. The 12th she will give us a 45' keynote, demonstrating her maestria, the 14th she will give an interactive workshop teaching us how to create and give motivational speeches.


Last books I studied

Those are not three books, in fact they are only two. The two books with different title (and I do not approve of that change) by Doug Stevenson, are the same book page by page, word by word published in different intervals.

But I have to admit, the Story Theater Method book (Strategic Storytelling in Business) as subtitle, by Doug Stevenson, has become my third "best book" about Storytelling, my Personal Storytelling now. Doug was actor for 20 years and Coach for more then 15 years helping people speak better and be themselves passing their message stronger and more lasting.

As I had a recent Cataract operation, I could read it only once in 2011 (I am studying it again now, three years later), but already I learned new things for my storytelling from it. It is a book to have and to study, whatever kind of Public Speaking or Storytelling you want to do.

One of the most important things I learned from Stevenson's book is that acting out is important and when acting out comical events, it is useful to exaggerate a bit, augment our movements, while when you act out a sad, tragic event, the movements and even face should be very moderate, restrained.

The third book, I have to study again, explains why the Interactive Workshop is more useful and gives a lot of useful suggestions about how to do it. Still a lot to learn from it!


TED Talk : the absence of information draws us in...

Listening to The clues to a great story, this morning, again, I discovered the wealth of information it contains. Some from it :
"The audience really wants to earn his meal. Just does not realise it." Andrew Stanton at TED.
"Let him work for it. The well organised ABSENCE of information that draws us in."

From Lisa's blog: embracing our mistakes

Lessons from the Olympics: Turning a mistake into a win

If you watched the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, you noticed that there was a snafu with the display of the Olympic rings, when an electronic snowflake that was supposed to expand into the fifth ring never opened.

I've written in the past about elite and Olympic athletes who don't dwell on mistakes, but get up from a fall or crash and keep performing, sometimes going on to achieve even more than expected. Well, clearly, Olympic ceremony designer Konstantin Ernst has the same die-hard spirit.

In the closing ceremony, the rings were formed by a group of dancers wearing glittering costumes. As the rings formed, one group of performers instead stayed in a small, tight circle (to represent the opening night snowflake) for a few hilarious moments, parodying the opening night mishap. But unlike the opening ceremony, the fifth ring finally expanded and joined the rest.

Very clever, Sochi ;) #CBCOlympics #ClosingCeremony #sochi2014 pic.twitter.com/IhwIvpUkcR
— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) February 23, 2014

By incorporating his mistake and poking fun at what initially was probably somewhat embarrassing, Ernst shows his sense of humor, his flexibility, his willingness to laugh at himself, and his ability to take a mistake and make something even better out of it. Here he is on Sunday wearing a newly designed t-shirt:

Love Olympic ceremony director Konstantin Ernst's new t-shirt. Funny guy. pic.twitter.com/gbwzeb269k
— NickdMiller (@NickdMiller) February 23, 2014

We're all going to make mistakes on stage. For most of us, millions of people around the world won't be watching. But for our audiences who are, demonstrating grace and resilience under pressure, a sense of humor, and the understanding that we're all human will go far to entertain and connect with the audience -- and perhaps give our presentation that extra luster that people will remember long after it's over.

Be a Master of Ceremonies, by Brian Lee

Speaker Magazine | Be a Master of Ceremonies by Brian Lee

MC or Toastmaster of the evening, very similar tasks if taken seriously, very well described in this article. I copied here part of it. The actual tasks.
Speakers can enhance their value to clients by serving as a master of ceremonies, or emcee.
I remember when I spoke at a broadcasting conference of sales executives and TV personalities, CEOs and producers. As a featured keynote speaker, I always arrive early and stay late to build client relationships. This particular conference culminated with an awards banquet the final evening. The night before the banquet, the meeting planner informed me the scheduled emcee had cancelled. Would I fill in? Of course! I was intrigued that this association of on-air professionals asked me to be their emcee! Not only did my planned keynote go well, but my spontaneous contribution to the banquet was a hit. As a result of my increased exposure as emcee, I enjoyed multiple additional bookings.
Follow these six guidelines to be an effective emcee, provide added value for your clients, and create a new source of income.
1.      You’re the frame around the picture, not the star!
Your job as emcee is to present everyone on your program as stars of the event, not yourself.
 2.      There is no substitute for personal research.
My office forwards a 35-page prevent survey to every client. We go to exhaustive lengths to find out six essential facts about each individual on the program, including:
• How to pronounce first and last names
• Their career (with their correct title) or what they do in life that is connected to the audience
• Unusual facts and accomplishments that the audience would find interesting
• Why they’re being introduced
• A brief and slightly humorous anecdote about them
• A sincere, positive comment.
 3.      Get personally acquainted in advance.
Prior to start time, confirm each person you’ll be introducing has arrived and meet with them. Contact a family member, coworker or close friend and probe for an anecdote that reflects their character and personality. Share cute, but not embarrassing, information to add a personal touch to each introduction.
 4.      Take complete ownership of the event.
A professional emcee is aware of every program on the agenda, the time allotted for each, and the facility personnel who are involved.
 5.      Start off with a bang.
Build energy at the start of an event by marching the panel or head table guests into the room with music. Invite your audience to stand for the welcome and make it fun!
 6.      Transition, segue and link everything together.
A creative segue might be, “Thanks, John, for sharing your expertise on the benefits of nuclear-powered harvesters. While we’re on the subject of nuclear energy, I’d like to call upon our next speaker to present an award for our high-energy Employee of the Year.” Being an emcee can be a welcome change of pace. When clients see your range of talent, you’ll top their list of professionals who can pull off an event seamlessly.


Standup Comedy at Oscar opening ceremony 2014 Ellen DeGeneres

So much to learn from it! Applied Standup Comedy, from the beginning. That is her first joke, a phrase that in itself is not funny gets a huge laughter. "For those who do not know, it has been a tough couple of day here: it has been raining" gets a huge laughter.

But you have to know some to understand it, beginning from the most horrible dry weather in California this year: no rain at all. It is similar when I tell in my standup "But do not call me in the morning: Google me! or "I Photoshoped out" (hair from my face after 50) - because I am old, and to the audience it seems strange if I use any web or computer related activity.

 Listen and listen again to Ellen DeGeneres's very Oscar and actor's applied lines that get so much laughter from the audience. Write down and think about them.

 How important each word and it's place is in it. I also liked a lot how Ellen recognised immediately after one of the jokes, that what she told (at least once) was not true. Still used it before, to make laugh. Let us do like her!

 "She was nominated this year for two Oscars. That is so..... selfish." "and his godmother was Ellen Roosevelt, and he is here tonight ---- what went wrong?" and so on, so on.

 And now I found another video on YouTube with the same title. Other parts of her standup.
I do not understand, she is not dressed the same here.
Some other parts or the jokes look different.

Interesting to compare.

I did write a whole page from her jokes was I observed, liked, enjoyed them, but will now let you discover and enjoy it on your own.