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February 28, 2007 [ More archived home pages here ]

Reached Advanced Communicator Bronze

Today's song is Talking Loud and Clear, by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (OMD), released in 1984.

Today I finished the requirements for my Advanced Communicator Bronze (AC-B) award at my Twin Oaks Toastmasters club. This means I presented the last of five speeches from each of two advanced manuals: Storytelling and Special Occasion Speeches in my case. My first of these was on May 7, 2005. My other speeches may be searched on this site.

The project for that tenth advanced speech was to Accept An Award. My speech's title was The Four-Year Journey and acknowledged my time and efforts I've dedicated time to this club and the Toastmaster mission since 2003.

Below is the prepared text of that five to seven minute speech, presented in front of the club, without notes.

The Four-Year Journey

Thank you for this award, it's been four years in the making. Allow me to tell you about my journey to this time and place today.

The reason I came to Twin Oaks Toastmasters was to be involved in the community. I already knew how to give technical presentations and wasn't afraid to speak in public. It turns out, I had a lot to learn.

At my first meeting, held in another building, I was impressed by three people that day:

1) Former President Bonnie showed strong leadership traits. I would come to know Bonnie as a person who had a great sense of humor, yet could be firm in her decisions. She led by example as if it came natural to her. Bonnie nominated me for VP of Education on the day they held elections in June of 2003. I accepted and it started the great adventure.

2) Tanis inspired me with her duties as Grammarian on my first visit. She was an attentive listener and very professional in her manner. I would come to know Tanis as a person with a big heart always willing to present a smile on her face and leave one on ours.

3) Sassan impressed me with his polite, yet disciplined demeanor. He spoke with a strong and clear voice. His words flowed in a logical sequence, expressing clear thinking without hesitation.

I could tell this was a place where I could find a home, where I could contribute and receive useful and effective lessons.

I returned two more times before I joined officially, in March 2003.

Two more people directly helped shape my views from that time onward:

1) Tom, helped me as a beginning VPE several times. He was VPE when I joined and guided me along during my first few months as VPE. At times I was stubborn in my early views of the club. Tom enlightened me with a firm argument and I saw the light.

2) Loren, was my mentor. He was my President when I became VPE. We were in this building then, July 2003. After the regular meetings were over, Loren and I would often spend another hour outside talking about the club. Together we started the club on its path towards its first Presidents Distinguished Club award. I learned a lot from Loren with his laid-back style. I miss him at our meetings.

I gave back to the club. I directly mentored over ten new members. I served as President, VPE, Acting Officer, and at times I swept out the place.

I've attended around 200 meetings. That means I've heard about 400 speeches; same number of evaluations; and over 800 Table Topics answers. I learned a lot just by listening. When you attend regularly you can't help but learn.

We had a member, Tamara. She is the best storyteller I've heard in my life. She inspired me to be an attentive listener so that I wouldn't miss a single word of her speeches. She suggested I use the Storytelling manual to achieve my dream of being a professional storyteller. She's a big part of my AC Bronze award.

I couldn't have earned this award without the members help. The evaluations, the comment slips, the personal dialogs, email messages, telephone calls, they all made me a better speaker and leader.

I learned to speak on a variety of topics. I learned to use vocal variety, Lela made sure of that.

I have many people to thank. My AC Bronze badge will have my name and rank on it. I know the badge is made up of all former and current members contributing a part of their time and efforts to helping me.

I am very proud of Twin Oaks Toastmasters. I wouldn't trade a minute of all the hours I devoted to this club because each of its members is worth it. My time is well spent here on club activities.

I will always wear my AC Bronze badge with honor and as a reflection of the strong spirit of humanity that we share between us.

Today we celebrate eight years as a club. The majority of members here today joined in the last two or so years. I've read the club's records of those early years. It was a constant struggle to find a place to meet. There was pressure to get speakers and all the other functions on a regular basis. The club surely looked much different then.

This club evolves about every six months. Some notice those subtle transitions. Others notice changes after a year's time. I've witnessed many changes.

When I joined the club, members giving their eighth speech would still stand behind the lectern and read from notes. Elections were held on the same day that people were selected to fill those positions. We didn't have an effective web site or our own domain name. Club members were satisfied to only achieve Distinguished Club Status by earning five out of the ten goals.

Nowadays we see "Ice Breaker" speeches without notes, incorporating natural gestures, using body movements, presented out in front of the audience.

We set the bar high in this club. No one person did that; it takes everyone to make this a strong club. It's not an accident that we achieve the Presidents Distinguished Club award repeatedly. It takes work to accomplish that award. We are one of the few clubs that ever reach it, and more rare to do it repeatedly in the first eight years.

We expect every member to serve as an officer and a mentor while you are with us. That's part of the club's success.

When you reach your next educational award, you'll understand a lot more than when you started. I look forward to what you teach me. I still have a lot to learn.

I plan on giving the two leadership speeches I need for my next level award AC Silver at the upcoming March Speech Marathon our club holds in a few weeks. After that I only need to complete two more advanced manuals of five speeches each to reach that next step in my progression. I already have two speeches completed from the Technical Presentations manual. I might be able to reach that AC Silver by the end of June 2008.

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I published the review for Bob Katzman's third book. He's making a lot of progress recently promoting his books. Buy one and help him out.

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According to this PC to Mac Switcher story, about 9,000 people a day leave Windows behind for the Mac OS X. A quote from that article is below:

"I know someone who is of that very mind-set. She has used Windows since 3.0 and has never seen any reason to use anything else. Her computer, she says, is a tool, not a toy (jab); she needs neither a point-and-click nursemaid nor eye candy, and she's too busy to see how that other half lives just for the sake of broadening her horizons. I can't argue with any of that. These are the unmistakable words of a hardcore non-switcher.

Nonetheless, I piqued her curiosity when she happened by while I was working a project that brought together the UNIX command line, X Window, Windows, OS X, and Mac application resources. I was running a two-headed Mac Pro, and she said that I made it all look so easy. That's as much credit as she's ever given a Mac. I saw in that an opportunity."

Here's another article that perhaps explains one of the reasons why so many people switch to a Mac.

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My sister-in-law, Rita, sent me this link. Pass it along to those you care about as a sign of appreciation. Thanks, Rita!

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You can get started with a convenient truth about Al Gore, recent Academy Award winner for his environmental film known in some quarters as, "Do As I Say, Not As I Do". I haven't seen the film. I'm planning on coming back in my next life as a fish; so I need all that extra water to live comfortably. Back at ya, Al! ;-)

Don


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