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Tag Archives | Toastmasters

Meet Toastmaster’s April 2012 cover model: Me

The Great Wall of China is around 2,300 years old, but it's never looked better than on the cover of the April 2012 issue of Toastmaster

The Great Wall of China is around 2,300 years old, but it's never looked better than on the cover of the April 2012 issue of Toastmaster

A few months back, travel writer Beth Blair interviewed me for a Toastmaster magazine article on Toastmasters who are travel professionals. (I was a member of the organization, which promotes public speaking skills, from 2006 to 2008 and found the experience invaluable.) A few weeks later, Beth asked me if I had any pictures of myself on the road that the magazine could run. It took a while to find some in which I didn’t have a drink in my hand or a zit on my forehead, but I passed along four or five to her.

In late March, Beth emailed me once more:

Subject: Holy cow!

Well, you are famous. Toastmasters put your photo on the cover of the magazine! See attached. [In your case, see above right.]

The Toastmaster editors used a photo of me walking the Great Wall of China on a press trip to Beijing with the Ritz-Carlton as the cover shot. Thanks to Melanie Nayer for taking the picture and making me feel so comfortable in front of the camera that I forgot I wasn’t wearing pants (kidding, well, not about my appreciation). More than 270,000 Toastmaster members living in 116 countries read the magazine each month.

You can read a .pdf of Beth’s article, “Professional travelers: How they developed the confidence to explore the world” here (I’m quoted on pages 17, 18, and 19).

Promoting the website for Maestro, an English language institute focusing on American accent development

Cara Fulton was the president of the Global Links Toastmasters club, which I belonged to when I lived in Washington, DC. Cara is also the owner of Maestro, LLC.

Maestro helps people learn global English, English pronunciation, and how to speak with an American accent (known as American accent development, reduction, or modification). Maestro also teaches students how to speak English as a second language (ESL). Instruction courses are offered online or in-person in Washington, DC.

And Cara is an excellent teacher and speaker, frequently winning Toastmasters’ contests.

I’ve been helping Cara optimizing the Maestro website for better search engine performance. So far we’ve

  • revised the text of the website to emphasize the keywords people use to find instruction on American accent development or mastering English
  • reviewed 33 search engines for possible inclusion of Maestro’s website (it’s interesting how many second- and third-tier search engines come and go)
  • created links to the Maestro website

While it can take a while to see the results of search engine optimization, there already has been an increase in the site’s visitors.

If you are interested in finding out how I can help your website become more visible in search engine results, please contact me.

Me: In podcast form

Yvonne Perry of Write On! Creative Writing Services interviewed me last month for her weekly Writer’s in the Sky Podcast. Well, she just released the podcast this week: TGI Friday December 22, 2006–Zach Everson. Consider it a Christmas present for the Internet.

In Part One of our interview we discuss how Zach started his writing and editing career from the proceeds of a real estate investment.

Click here to listen to Part One…

In part two we discuss why he decided to become a Toastmaster and how his public speaking experience has been helpful to him as a writer.

Click here to listen to Part Two…

While it’s awkward to listen to myself, I’m happy with the result; hopefully you’ll enjoy listening to it. And feel free to share your thoughts about the podcast.

The thrilling conclusion to the Toastmasters’ humorous speech contest

Saturday was the final round of the Toastmasters’ Humorous Speech Contest. While I was pleased with my performance–I was told it was my best rendition of my speech, “Zach Everson’s entry in the humorous speech contest”—I didn’t place. As in the previous round, I had a few jitters beforehand, but felt calm when it was my turn.

I went first, which is a handicap. As in Olympic events like figure skating and gymnastics (and the comparison of Toastmasters with the Olympics ends here), judges often are reluctant to give early competitors high marks so they can leave room to score possible great performances from subsequent contestants. Also every other participant had been a Toastmasters member for at least six years; I’ve only been participating for seven months. All of the other speeches, however, were fantastic. They were both funny and well delivered.

Nevertheless, I didn’t join Toastmasters to compete, but rather to hone my public-speaking skills. And Saturday night I did just that, speaking on a stage and with a microphone, both for the first time, in front of 200 people. I am glad the contest is finished, however; I’ve been practicing this speech since August and am bored of it.

Tomorrow night I am giving another speech at my club. Standing before an audience of just 15 people is a lot easier now.

I advanced to the next level in Toastmasters humorous speech contest

Well, I joined Toastmasters to improve my public speaking by getting experience talking in front of an audience. And while I’ve tried to give a speech at every meeting I’ve attended, the Humorous Speech Contest is helping me achieve my goal.

A week from last Friday I won the district contest, meaning I will compete again—this time at the division level (pictures from the competition, including one of me looking like I’m about to get a hook in my mouth, are on my club’s site). There were about 50 people at the district contest; the audience at the next level is expected to be than 200.

As for the contest, I went fifth out of the six contestants. When it was my turn I knew that my speech was funnier than the ones I heard. My concern, however, was my delivery. Some of the other contestants were Toastmasters veterans with a polished stage presence. My other problem was that I came close to running over the 7:30 time limit and had to cut off the ending.

There’s a month before the next competition, however, so I have ample time to hone my delivery.