Friday, July 9, 2010

Area 44 Contests

The Area 44 Humorous Speech & Evaluation Contests are scheduled for Friday night September 10th at 6 PM at the Boca Raton Community Center.

I am looking for a Contest Chair to organize this event. Please give me a call if you have any interest in helping.

Thank you.

John Schneyer
Area 44 Governor

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

4 Steps to Speak Better in Interviews

This is my weekly VPE post.

Knowing some of our members joined us to work on speaking skills specifically to help them find a job and given the discussion we had last night about the Ah Counter using the bell, I was very pleased to find an e-mail from The Ladders in my mail box this morning.

This article gives some suggestions on sounding more professional in an interview by eliminating many of the filler words the Ah Counter brings to our attention. While it does not suggest a bell (most of the suggestions are done by the individual, not in a group setting), I thought you might find it valuable.

I personally prefer to have the Ah Counter using the bell when I am speaking in any context, prepared speech, table topics or meeting role. Hearing the bell helps me realize what I have done. Last night, the Ah Counter report listed me for 1 double start. I have no idea when I did it as I never heard the bell.

You can find this article on The Ladders site here: Career-Advice

I have copied it below for your convenience.

John Schneyer
Vice President Education

4 Steps to Speak Better in Interviews

Filler words like "um," "ahh," "so," "like" and "you know" can reduce your credibility as a speaker and hurt your chances in a job interview.

May 28, 2010

By Jayne Latz

Recently I attended a panel discussion with three speakers. One of the speakers was a well-spoken young woman, but she used “filler words” excessively and to her detriment. In her first two minutes speaking to the audience she used 10 filler words — most prolifically, “um.”

After the panel discussion I turned and asked the people sitting with me if they noticed the excessive use of the word "um." They responded, “Notice? I couldn't concentrate on a word she said. All I heard was ‘um.’ "

What are filler words? They’re tics of speech such as “um,” “ahh,” “so,” “like” and “you know” that we use to fill gaps and pauses in our speech. Most of use too many of them, and they can reduce your credibility as a speaker and hurt your chances in a job interview.

At Corporate Speech Solutions, we recommend speakers try to maintain a limit of two filler words in every two minutes of speech. Any more than that and you begin to sound less professional and less qualified.

During a job interview, you may be asked questions that you are not prepared to answer. Don’t fill your answer with excessive “um’s.” Even worse, be careful of “like” and “you know.” These speech patterns may stand between you and the job.

Filler words can dilute the message and make you sound timid. When you use them excessively, it makes you sound unsure of yourself and uncertain of your answer. You want the interviewer to see you as a confident executive and a subject-matter expert.

The key to reducing filler words is a relatively easy, four-step process. Like anything, it takes practice.

1. Awareness:
Listen to yourself on tape during a telephone conversation and count the use of “uh,” “um,” “like” or “you know.” Remember, if they occur more frequently than two times in two minutes, you need to work on modifying the habit.

2. Recognize your patterns.
I have noticed that many of my clients habitually start sentences with “um.” Others may use the word “and” as a connector instead of using a period. Still others have a tendency to add “you know?” at the end of a sentence as confirmation of what they said. Recognize your own personal pattern if you want to address it.

3. Anticipate that you are about to use a filler word! Once you are aware of your pattern, you will recognize when you are about to use a filler word in your speech.

4. Pause.
Once you know it is coming, take a pause. We call it “strategic pausing.” Strategic pausing will give you the time to think of what you want to say, say it and move on without inserting the filler word. Strategic pausing does not just give you time to think; it adds impact to your message. Resist the urge to fill the time with a “filler” word and you will automatically sound more impressive.

Practice these techniques every day until the filler words are no longer a part of your working speech pattern. Remember not to use the filler words when leaving voice mail messages. Notice how and when others use filler words. Does it sound professional?

Learning to eliminate your filler words will enhance the effectiveness of your speech and the professionalism of your interviews.

Jayne Latz, M.A.,CCC-SLP, is president of Corporate Speek Solutions. She has been providing speech therapy in New York as a licensed speech-language pathologist for more than 20 years. For details on our Speech Improvement Training Programs email

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Empty Chair

I think you will find this video of a Toastmasters International Speech contestant meaningful on several levels. Consider 'The Empty Chair' as it relates to your life and to your membership in Boca Raton Toastmasters.

John Schneyer

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Evaluate to Motivate

John Schneyer delivering 'Evaluate to Motivate' from the Successful Club Series

Click the black box to see the video

Would You Like to Break a World Record?

Fellow Toastmasters, a unique opportunity has come our way.  District 47 is organizing an attempt to set the world record for the longest, non-stop speekathon and we have been invited to be a part of the effort! Wouldn’t you like to hold a world record?

This will be a great way to publicize Toastmasters (hint, VPPR), sign-up new members (hint, VPM), gain experience in front of other audiences (hint, all members), etc.

Beginning Thursday 6/10 going through Sunday 6/13, we will be going for a target of 80 hours!

Here are some details:

We need to have someone speaking at all times during the attempt with no more than 30 seconds between speakers

All speeches must be at least 5 minutes long; that includes evaluations.  Speeches can be longer than that, way longer if you want an can.  This is a great opportunity to give some speeches from advanced manuals but, you don't have to do a manual speech.  You could give a training class, seminar, sales pitch, etc.

While you can give the same speech more than once, you can not give it more than once every 4 hours.

All speeches have to be logged in our official log book - speaker name, speech title, time

All speeches will be recorded with video to document the attempt
2 timers with stop watches must be present at all times

We need volunteers - speakers, evaluators, organizers, coordinators, promotion, publicity, etc. We need shifts of independent witnesses who are neither participating in giving speeches at all nor are related to anyone involved.

What I want from you:

Let me know right away how much you will contribute to this effort. How many speeches, how long, how many hours you can sit as an audience member.

If you are going to speak, we ask that you also contribute your time in another capacity. Remember that we need to go round the clock so, expect to be speaking and working sometimes in the wee hours of the night and early morning.

I suggest that we break this down a little and see how many hours we as a club can commit to and then fill them any way we can. We will need to be able to jump in if something happens and a speaker cannot go on (think looong table topics).

I am personally ready to provide several hours of speaking on a range of topics that I teach.

More information will be coming out shortly but, time is short and I need to know who is interested. Get back to me right away.

John Schneyer

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Successful Club Series- Setting the Stage for Success: Meeting Roles and Responsibilities

John Schneyer delivering the Successful Club Series- Setting the Stage for Success: Meeting Roles and Responsibilities to the Boca Raton Toastmasters 5/4/2010.

Click the image below to watch the video.

From Toastmasters 5-4-2010

Filling Meeting Roles

This is my weekly Vice President, Education post. You can find information on filling meetng roles on the Toastmasters International site here.

You are the Toastmaster for an upcoming meeting, how do you get the meeting roles filled? You expect everyone has joined because they buy into Toastmasters. They want to speak and lead and learn how to do both better. But does that mean they will volunteer? Does it mean they are available? Does it mean they communicate the same way you like to?

The answer to all three of these questions is often, No! As a Toastmaster, we all have to stretch from our comfort zones every once in a while. That applies to how we fill meeting roles as well.

Last night, Karen Novek approached everyone as they came into the meeting. She had a clipboard and roster for next week's meeting. She asked everyone to fill a role, gave choices, and information about the roles. Well done Karen! If you have ever felt overwhelmed by the number of e-mails you get looking to fill meeting roles, you will probably appreciate what Karen did last night. I expect I will get fewer e-mails this week as a result.

We seem sometimes to fall into the expectation that sending out an e-mail and having the roster available online should work all the time for everyone. We are a very diverse group in many ways. We come from different countries, speak different languages, and have different social norms. That's one of the big advantages I see from our club. It also means, we have to s-t-r-e-t-c-h sometimes in order to be effective.

If you send an e-mail and don't get a response, how about making a phone call? How about starting your planning early enough that you can get members to volunteer face-to-face at a meeting like Karen did last night?

When you take a little time, it's not hard to get the responses you want. Our club always comes through one way or another.

Knowing how many roles available each week makes it easy to find one that fits your needs. Don't wait for an e-mail, phone call, or personal visit, sign-up today using our online roster. Click here to reserve your place for future meetings:

Online Roster

Have a great week!

John Schneyer
Vice President, Education