Saturday, May 8, 2010

Communication '10 Redux Part Three

Last Saturday, I attended my first Toastmasters convention. Yesterday and the day before I talked about the keynote speeches and the workshops. Today I would like to talk about the contests.

Why contests?

Toastmasters International states contests provide an opportunity for speakers to improve their
speaking abilities and to recognize the best as encouragement to all. Contests also provide an opportunity to learn by observing the more proficient speakers who have benefited from their Toastmasters training

Winners from each club contest proceed to an area contest. Each area has about 5 clubs. Winners from each area contest proceed to a division contest. Each division has about 4 areas.
Winners from each division contest proceed to a district contest. Our district has 9 divisions.

The Evaluation Contest

The model speaker was Sandra Kolb who explained how to maintain a professional attitude at work. Then 8 different people evaluated her speech giving her wonderful feedback on how to improve her already spectacular speech. The judges judged (evaluated) the evaluators based on their analytical quality, recommendations, techniques and summation.

First place was Cleon Cox.
Second place was Carol Van Atta.
Third place was Jamie Ross.

The International Speech Contest

There were nine different contestants one from each of the nine divisions in District 7. The judges were looking at their speech development, effectiveness, speech value, body language, manner, appropriateness, grammar, word selection, etc.

First place was Jason Leon.
Second place was John Contreras.
Third place was Brett Madsen.

The winner continues to the semi finals which will be held at the International Convention in Palm Springs. If he wins, he will compete in the finals on the last day of the convention.

In Summation
I had a great time. I learned some new things, took in many different inspirational, awe inspiring speeches, met new people and reconnected with old friends. I look forward to the next district convention, which will be in the fall. I think it is called Leadership '10

Friday, May 7, 2010

Communication '10 Redux Part Two

Yesterday, I started to explain about the Toastmasters convention I attended last Saturday, May 1, 2010.

Today, I would like to share with about the workshops I attended.

There were 18 workshops along three different tracks: personal development, career development, and business communication.

I attended three. Each was about 50 minutes long

"Connecting With Your Followers: Leadership and Communication" by Peter Okantey

He talked about the interdependance of leaders and followers then split us into groups to do a couple of exercises. The first was to put a puzzle together, first without the picture, then with the picture. This highlighted how it is important to communicate the vision of the goal to the people doing the work. The second was to have us stand in a line facing the next person's back. He gave a word to the first person who had to write it on the back of the next person and so on. This showed us the importance of not only communicating repeatedly and confirming the message was received but also that different modes of communication are needed

"High Performance Leadership" by Le and Ann Snelling

This was by far the most lively of the workshops I attended. The attendees were split into four groups, each a different department of an imaginary start up company. Each team wrote up an action plan, developed a time line and gave a short presentation to everyone at the end. This was designed to show how the High Performance Leadership model (one of the modules needed to complete an advanced Toastmaster award) can be applied to real life situation and I think they succeeded.

"The 7 Wonders of Clear, Concise, Professional Communication" by Seamus Kennedy

He gave us a number of helpful hints to improve communication then split us into small groups to prepare short, 5-sentence speeches to explain each of the 7 wonders.

Tomorrow, I will finish up with the contests!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Communication '10 Redux Part One

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of being able to attend Toastmasters International District 7 Spring Convention Communication ‘10

Toastmasters International is a organization composed of clubs all over the world where people can practice and improve their speaking and leadership skills.

District 7 covers all of Oregon plus part of Northern California and Southwestern Washington. People from all over came to this all day affair held at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon.

I had a great time and would like to share it with you.

The pomp and circumstance

There was a parade of banners in which I marched, hold the banner for Columbia Center Toastmasters There were also bagpipes at the opening ceremony and at the start of the Speech Contest.

The keynote speeches

The first speech or "opening session" was delivered by Ruth Robinson an 80+ year old teacher who has been a member of Toastmasters for only 4-1/2 years. The title was "Toastmasters: Its Promise, Its Risks, Its Legacy. She ended with a beautiful poem, The Dash” by Linda Evans.

The keynote speech after lunch was delivered by Lou Radja, an international speaker and humanitarian. His title was "Moving Beyond Communicating to Connecting."

Tomorrow, I will talk about the workshops!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Five Temptations Forces You to Think

A review of

The Five Temptations of a CEO: A Leadership Fable
Lencioni, Patrick
Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint, San Francisco, CA, 1998

The author, Mr. Lencioni, relates the how of Andrew, a CEO experiencing his lowest point of his first year in that position, receives guidance from an unlikely mentor, Charlie, while he dozes on his ride home on the commuter train. The mentor explains to Andrew about four of the titular five temptations while introducing him to previous CEOs who all happen to be riding on the same train. Andrew figures out what the fifth temptation is, awakes from his dream, ready to set things right at the board meeting the following day, which he does to the benefit of the company.

After this fable, the author provides a summary of why executives fail by listing the temptations again and a self assessment for the reader to gain insight.

The author appears to be qualified to write on the subject of leadership as he runs a management consulting firm, The Table Group, and has written a number of other books, including The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

The author's purpose was to introduce five temptations and provide examples of how they can undermine a CEO (or any leader) if left unchecked. He did this by having each of the previous CEOs in his dream explain them in easy-to-understand terms. The author's writing was effective and powerful in these parts.

He was effective is showing what the temptations are but gave few examples of how to combat them or handle situations differently. One could see this as a weakness, but perhaps by forcing the reader to think of their own ways to handle them, one could see this as a strength... or an opportunity for reader to contact the author's management consulting firm for much more guided direction.

Personally, I found it to be a quick read and interesting in parts and applicable to my own life, even though I am not a CEO. I recommend this anyone interested in improving their leadership skills regardless of whether they serve at a company or not.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Google Wave and You Part Three

This is the third of three articles about Google Wave.

Part one showed how you can collaborate real time.
Part two showed how you can work with someone who speaks a different language.

Of course, it's not all about work. Sometimes you want to visit your peeps on Facebook or MySpace.

You log in and see what updates there are on Facebook and update your status there.

You log in and see what updates there are on MySpace and update your status there.

You log in and see what updates there are on Twitter and tweet your status there.

With Google Wave, you can set it up so that you can see the updates from your friends without visiting all the different sites.

You can update your status from inside the Wave. No need to log in and remember seven different passwords for seven different sites.

Again you are communicating real-time with Google Wave.

Real-time collaboration. Editing the same document at the same time.

Real-time translation. Writing in one language so --pow-- someone can read it in another.

Real-time communication. Keeping in touch via Facebook, MySpace, Twitter at the touch of a button.

Three of a great number of things you can and will be able do in Google Wave.

The wave is coming.

The wave of the future is here.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Google Wave and You Part Two

This is the second of three articles about Google Wave.

Part one highlighted the online collaboration.

Speaking of collaboration, what if your colleague is in a different country? In France? On the other side of the world?

What do you do if you don't speak the same language? Maybe you spend time bugging another co-worker who does.

"Excuse me, could you translate this for me? It's only 3 pages in 8 point font."

"Well, yes and no. Yes, I can, but no, I am busy right now. I have my own work to do."

Or maybe you can try to translate it yourself, but it takes time and it is another step in the process.

With Google Wave, you can set it up with your colleague so that when you type in English, -- pow!-- it shows up in French.

He or she types in French and --pow!-- you see in English.

English --pow!-- Anglaise.

Francais --pow!-- French.

Vous etes traduie --ahem-- you are translating real-time with Google Wave.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Google Wave and You Part One

This is one of three parts about what you can do with Google Wave.

In case you have been living under a rock, Google has this new application called Google Wave, currently available as a preview to friends of those who helped out with the beta test.

It's called an online collaboration and communication tool.

What does that mean, really? Let's break it down.

Collaboration is working on something together.

When you work on a proposal or some other important document with someone these days, you use a word processor. After your first draft you print it up or maybe you attach it to an email and send it to your colleague.

He or she receives the email, opens it up, reads the document, makes their corrections, saves it, attaches it to another email and sends it back to you.

You receive the email, open it up, read the document, make your corrections, save it, attach it to another email and send it back.

He or she gets it and does all that again and sends it back.

You get it and do that all again.

He or she -- again.

It gets exhausting.

With Google Wave, you and your colleague collaborate on the document the same time.

You type and what you're typing shows up on his or her screen.

He or she types and that shows up on your screen.

You are collaborating real-time, with Google Wave.