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