Important Announcement: Club Dues

Dear Chippewa Valley TM Members,
What is the purchasing power of $42?  It is your ticket into the camaraderie of our Thursday meetings.  It buys you the opportunity to hone leadership skills, strengthen one-on-one communication, practice presentations, excel at job interviews and become a more articulate and dynamic speaker.  In addition, for $42 every six months ($36 for Toastmasters International and $6 for the local club) you receive the monthly Toastmasters magazine and online access to professionally prepared resources at
Now is the time to pay your dues for April 1, 2012-September 30, 2012.  (I need to submit the dues by April 1.)  You may pay your $42 dues (checks or cash) at our March meetings or mail a check payable to Chippewa Valley Toastmasters to me at Arlene Radtke, S8195 Lowes Creek Road, Eau Claire, WI 54701.
I hope to see you at the next meeting.  We are enjoying a great variety of speeches and exhilarating Table Topics.  We all lead busy lives (ambition and drive to better ourselves through communication and leadership is what brought us to Toastmasters in the first place) but you owe it to yourself to join in the fun on Thursdays at 7 PM at Globe University.  The Chippewa Valley Toastmaster meetings are wickedly funny and empowering.

Christmas Speeches…A Call for Help

Good day, everyone

My annual company Christmas Dinner Party occurs in January this year. I thought that I should use my Toastmaster skills to speak about the Holiday season with emphasis on the New Year. Almost everyone at my workplace knows that I am with Toastmasters and they will be looking for my newly groomed public speaking skills.

I decided to search for ‘Christmas Speeches’ -and for ‘New Year’s Speeches’- and I was disappointed by the quality of what I read. Granted, I did not spend a whole afternoon searching for something but I did look for a half-hour and did not find the right tone, sentiments, or substance that I thought would be appropriate for a group of people that work together and who do not know each other’s private lives.

Can you help me locate some speeches that express the holiness of the season and also inspires people for the New Year? I will write my own speech and it would be very helpful to have something that I can draw ideas from.

Thanks for any help that you can provide.

Dale Lehner
VP Public Relations
Chippewa Valley Toastmasters

Congratulations, Barb Weisenberger!

Today the District 35 Northern Division held its Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contest in Wausau, Wisconsin at Rasmussen College. There was a packed house for this event!

Barb Weisenberger, of Chippewa Valley Toastmasters,  took First Place! Congratulations, Barb! Her telling of a story that had a runaway Rabbit, a Turtle, her seven year old daughter, and her husband in the Emergency Room was exceedingly well done.

Second Place was earned by Susan Engebrecht, Wausau Morning Toastmasters, with a story of her first ice fishing event with her outdoor husband.

Jeff Eble, Stevens Point Toastmasters, won Third Place with his telling of his one-game one-play football career.

Other speakers in the Humorous Speech Contest were Tim Kelley of the New Richmond Toastmasters, Patty Ann O’Hara of the Wausau Morning Toastmasters,  Carol Prince of the New Richmond Toastmasters, and myself.

The Evaluation Contest occurred immediately afterward. First Place went to Kathleen Wesselink of Eclectic Image Toastmasters and Second Place went to Jeff Viergutz of Marshfield Toastmasters.  Tim Kelley of New Richmond Toastmasters was the third contestant in the Evaluation Contest.

As usual, I was completely calm, during the Humorous Speech Contest, until the speaker before me presented. Then the butterflies hit me, my throat went dry, and I assumed the look of a stone sculpture… well, not quite that bad, it was easier this time than any other but there is still room for improvement.

I never understood the fear some people have of taking tests. Throughout my academic years I never had a problem taking any math, history, or other tests. I knew what I had learned and that I would not forget it during a test. Speaking publicly is different though for me. It is less about what I know and more about what I do. And for a guy who can never do the same thing twice the same way, it’s a challenge to take my “practice speech” and deliver it to an audience. My practice speeches are awesome, just ask me! I have the cadence, rhythm, timing, and ‘pauses for effect’ down pat. Yet that all melts away when it’s time to perform.

One of the advantages of joining Toastmasters is to develop your  public speech delivery just as well as your private. It is a joy to watch and listen to speakers and learn from them. It’s not an easy process but the journey to speak publicly has to begin sometime. Why not now?

If you are uncomfortable speaking in public like I am, please come join us at Chippewa Valley Toastmasters. Every meeting is filled with examples of what to do and , of course, what not to do. Learning by doing, developing experience, and sharing your experience with others is the best way to gain skills to speak well in public.

I hope to see you at our next meeting, November 3rd, 2011… See the header tab for location and directions.

Honoring Claude Schilling

On September 29th, after the Humorous Speech Contest, Claude Schilling was honored at a small event at a local hotel. Claude is putting a hold on his Toastmaster activities while he pursues another dream and the three clubs in Eau Claire wanted to thank Claude for his leadership over the years.

Vic Galafano, of the Chippewa Valley Toastmasters, presided over the evening activities and was at his best by deftly telling all of us jokes about Claude’s parrot.  Claude does not actually have a parrot but as Claude himself has said, “Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story”.

Many people rose to tell personal stories of Claude’s leadership in Toastmasters and it was easy to see that he has earned the respect and admiration of all Toastmasters in Eau Claire.

Claude’s wife,  Corrita, took the center of the room and gave a heartfelt recognition of Claude that was emotional for many of us.

I won’t go into all the memories and the humor that was shared that evening but it was a wonderful tribute to a community leader. We should all strive to become the leader that Claude has been in this area.

The evening concluded with an Ode to Claude Schilling .

(Later we  learned that this was also his birthday and it made this more fitting.)

An Ode to Claude Schilling

May Happiness seize thee, Claude, our friend,
O Toastmaster leader extraordinaire!
Your service to mankind will surely append
Another one’s history here in Eau Claire.

Your Time and your Talent share a witty blend,
And your precious wisdom, spoken with a smile,
Reveal true greatness and they do but extend
The myth and the legend of you without guile.

‘He was no myth of history,’ the historians defended.
‘Claude led the area through the difficult days.
All here know he frequently wended
His Wisdom to everyone like a fire ablaze.’

‘Older than dirt’is his friendly approbation,
And ‘Toastmaster sandwiches’ are now eaten every day,
‘The meat is the substance for the evaluation’,
Our Toastmaster Leader communicates this way.

Our Leader among Leaders respectfully teaches,
With an integrity and courtesy that we commend,
That in Toastmasters there are ‘No Free Speeches’
And that we should complete objectives to the very end.

May Happiness seize thee, Claude, our friend.
May the shackles of mediocrity never arise,
The misfortunes of this world you will surely transcend,
To us, your fellow Toastmasters, you are ‘Claude the Wise’.

Chippewa Valley Toastmasters
Club 6173 District 35

Toastmasters To The Rescue!

Our club president Barbara Weisenberger writes:

“I had an issue come up here at work that really involved a company-wide solution.  To handle things like that we have an “Innovation Committee” set up which considers and often interviews people who make suggestions.

I made a suggestion and was told at 12:30, that they would like to have me speak about my idea at 2:20.  I had several projects scheduled, so I was not able to work on what to present until about 1:15.  I put to use everything I’ve ever used at Toastmasters that has been successful and was amazed when I was told what a polished presentation I had given.

Only the gentleman who asked me to give the presentation on such short notice and myself knew how little time I had, but because of the “power” of my comments, it has been passed on for further review and it certainly didn’t do anything to hurt my standing in the company.

I think, too often, we can forget how important what we practice at our meetings is.  It truly does develop our abilities to speak clearly and effectively, even with short notice.

I know the training is this weekend and look forward to listening and learning much more — and I also know that this time, I’ll be paying even closer attention.  It’s kind of like my eyes were only half open before — they’re wide open now and I can’t wait to pick up some more tidbits.”

Barb’s experience perfectly illustrates many of the benefits of Toastmasters.  By attending Toastmasters meetings and developing her skills on a regular basis, she was ready to step up at a moment’s notice when it was really important.

Whether you’re a seasoned speaker who could use some polish, or a novice starting from scratch, there’s a friendly, supportive place for you to learn and grow at our club.  We invite you to attend a meeting and see for yourself!