May 31, 2020
[26:06] Learning a new language while abroad particularly during these unprecedented times can be a challenge yet rewarding. But our eight-time guest, Kevin Achtzener, who is currently overseas with his family in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was certainly up for the quest.
In this light-hearted episode, Kevin humbly shares how he was first inspired to learn Spanish the traditional way many years ago and some of the things he learned what not to do as he set upon a quest to learn Arabic – a much more challenging task.
Kevin also shares a number of techniques he’s been using like a language exchange as well as some of his valuable resources including: Anki– a Flashcard app, 50Languages– 100 Free Audio lessons; LingQ– which helps you learn a language from content you love and his go to book: Arabic Script Hacking by Judith Meyer, which helped him to learn to read signs.
Editors Note: Once you have a good working knowledge of a language, there are also many bilingual Toastmasters clubs around the world one can also check out.
March 28, 2020
[29:31] Keeping the COVID-19 pandemic from spreading has just about put the entire planet into lockdown mode. In this episode, Greg speaks with Lisa Wentz about her short article on LinkedIn about keeping mentally and physically stimulated and engaged and not feeling frozen during this unprecedented quarantine.
Lisa shares with us her recent journey of self-isolation. She explains how news overload and too much of the wrong kind of mental stimulation can affect people physically and how we can combat that and ensure we continue to pursue things that are relevant and important to us. Wentz explains how mental stimulation means different things to different people and how we need to find the time to reach out to others, not just those we know. You’ll also discover why getting through these times is not just about balance but about choices we make. You’ll even hear her interesting observations about changes in people like celebrity Stephen Colbert, who was forced to self-isolate, and more.
Lisa Wentz is from San Francisco, California and has an extensive background in psychology, professional acting training and live performance. Wentz is also featured in Episode 118 - Grace Under Pressure - A Masterclass in Public Speaking.
She can be reached at LisaWentz.com.
August 31, 2019
[28:19] It’s no secret we have a rapidly aging population. Many seniors today were never properly prepared for their golden years; We don’t know how to age properly and kids today have no idea what it’s like to be a senior. Those are the strong opinions of Angela Ostafichuk, our guest on today’s episode.
Angela is an educator, consultant, curriculum developer, writer, photographer, world traveler and Toastmaster. Based in Edmonton, Canada, she’s spear-heading and working in tandem on two projects: Future Seniors and Smart Strong Seniors. Together they are designed to not only inform and educate those who are already seniors to live better, but also to help society, regardless as to what generation they belong to embrace pro aging.
Today Angela will share some of her insights on the topic. This include highlights of her Pecha Kucha presentation Future Seniors, where she shares what we can do to take ownership for ourselves and others in an aging society. She’ll talk about getting Involved, Resources, Equality, Asking (the right questions) and Design, summed up by her acronym iREAD.
Angela Ostafichuk can be reached at SmartStrongSenior@gmail.com or TheFutureSenior@gmail.com. You can also check out her Pecha Kucha Edmonton presentation.
May 17, 2019
[25:00] In this episode Greg speaks with regular guest Kevin Achtzener in his 7th appearance on ToastCaster, as a follow up to Episode #97, “Memory Techniques to Remember Just About Anything.”
Today Kevin talks about how his techniques have evolved and shares with us a new concept he’s learned about memory and how he’s been able to not only memorize key facts for his University Classes, but also how he processes and synthesizes the information he’s learning.
Kevin reminds us that memory is not just about remembering or encoding, but also about being able to recall the information. He shares examples how he remembers things by visualization, creating images of phrases in his mind like avatars, placing then recalling them using the memories of his childhood home as a backdrop or storage grid.
Kevin also introduces the audience to the six levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, a process that helps people learn and how this model fit into the big picture. Ideas and methods you’ll hear in the podcast not only apply to courses, but also for preparing and delivering speeches, presentations reports and anything you really need to learn.
Kevin Achtzener specializes in Mind Mapping, memory techniques, productivity and learning. He can be reached at VisualProductivity.net.
March 31, 2019
[11:34] Simple crutch and filler words are sabotaging your speeches and crippling your communications and you may not even realize it’s happening.
In this episode, Greg takes a look at a number of these unwanted words and why we so often use them. He identifies some famous people who are also afflicted with this habit and offers tips and techniques as to how to rid them from your vocabulary as well as where to find help to do so. This is an updated version and reboot of Toastcaster Episode 42 and an article which can be found at GadgetGreg.com. (Please Note: The Ummo App mentioned in the episode is now no longer being supported by the developer)
October 20, 2018
[27:04] It’s not often we get a school teacher or principal on the show but there are things we might have learned back in the day perhaps we’ve forgotten or can still learn and add our skills repertoire.
Our guest, Jock D. Mackenzie
has those credentials and more with 30 years in the field mostly teaching Language Arts to Middle School and Upper Elementary, now semi-retired, he takes those skills on the road. Jock is a published author having written the book, Essay Writing: Teaching the Basics from the Ground Up
(2007). He’s also a Toastmaster with the Sunrise Club in Red Deer, Alberta Canada.
In this episode Jock answers the question, “What makes a good story?” by illustrating his 3I-Racer plot structure of a short story, a mnemonic method that he still uses today for personal, social, business or work situations. He’ll share some writing techniques, elaborating on “picture a story,” that can also be used effectively to improve both our speaking and presenting skills.
August 31, 2018
[28:17] In this episode we speak on a more serious note – the topic of Mental Health. Our guest is Mona Cooley, family support advocate and founder of Cool Family Solutions, Calgary, Canada. She is also a Distinguished Toastmaster, Past District 42 Governor and regular guest on Toastcaster.
Mona has taken leadership in her community with respect to Mental Health. Not only is she a subject matter expert, her family has also struggled with it. Mental Health is everywhere and it affects people young and old and from all walks of life. All you have to do is turn on the news – people are stricken with anxiety, depression and death by suicide has gone out of control. Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, Rick Genest (Zombie Boy) are just a few who have taken their lives.
Mona says families are struggling and don’t know what to do adding that things can and are being done – and one way is through having honest conversations. In this podcast, Mona talks about this serious subject, shares some of her stories including one that saved a life and offers some thoughts on what people can do.
Our conversation with Mona is timely. According to a recent article in the Guardian (U.K.) Lady Gaga, had cast her friend Genest in her Born This Way video and wrote on Twitter. ”The suicide…is beyond devastating. We have to work harder to change the culture, bring mental health to the forefront and erase the stigma that we can’t talk about it. If you are suffering, call a friend or family today. We must save each other.”
You can reach Mona at Cool Family Solutions.com. There you can also find a great resource page.
July 31, 2018
[31:08] In this episode we see a little switch as host Greg Gazin takes the other side of the mic and interviewed by guest host Ryan Levesque co-host of the Toastmasters Podcast. Motivated by reading the book, Ryan takes the host chair and gets Greg to come clean to finally speak in detail about his 1st book, Corey OutSMARTs the Butterflies.
Greg shares with Ryan a little about what his book is about and how he stumbled upon the idea and what and who inspired him to take on the project which lead him to find a new passion - writing for a young readers. Ryan gets Greg to pull back the the curtain to talk about his shy humble beginnings (long before he joined Toastmasters) but also what he learned about his journey, the writing process, the illustrations and what he’d do differently the next time. You’ll also here how it’s changed him and what people of all ages can learn or take away from reading the book including a glimpse into the book’s SMART model (not the one you’re thinking about).
Ryan also give his take on the book and how he feels it can help his young daughter.
There’s also a book give-away, but you’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out more.
Categories: Public Speaking, Confidence, Youth Leadership, ESL
June 30, 2018
[25:07] We're so busy and bombarded with information that it's sometimes so hard to remember even the simplest things let alone details. In this episode, Greg speaks with Toastcaster regular Kevin Achtzener, DTM, a self-proclaimed Future Memory Expert who shares techniques for better recall.
Kevin’s obsession for remembering things and these techniques have helped him not only memorize a shuffled deck of cards in five minutes but also creative methods to recall large numbers – like part numbers and serial numbers to names and words. What might surprise you is some of his techniques involve using pictures, humor and even cartoon characters.
Kevin is from Edmonton, Canada and known as a Visual Productivity expert. Kevin can be reached at visualproductivity.net.
May 1, 2018
[30:59] Presentations and speeches way to long? Too short? In this episode Greg speaks with Freddi Dogterom DTM, AS from Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada who offers up some serious lessons on crafting your speech or presentation. She also shares insights and practical takeaways on the perils, pain and passion of editing, in particular when timing is of the essence - one way, building your speech like LEGO.
Freddi is a Distinguished Toastmaster, Accredited Speaker (AS) and professional speaker for more than 20 years delivering keynotes, workshops, professional development and train the trainer sessions. She also has over 30 years experience helping people build their lives, careers and retirement futures.
March 14, 2018
[28:08] In this episode Greg Gazin speaks with communications expert Matt Abrahams who shares six of his many techniques to calm presentation jitters and a whole lot more.
Matt is an educator and coach who teaches Strategic Communication for Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and Presentation Skills for Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program. He’s also co-founder of coaching consulting practice Bold Echo Communication Solutions where he helps presenters at all levels of an organization to become more confident and compelling speakers.
He’s also the author of the Speaking Up without Freaking Out, now in its 3rd edition.
You can also catch Matt on the Toastmasters Podcast, Episode 111, with Greg Gazin and Ryan Levesque where he spoke on how to Be Confident When Caught Off Guard.
Matt’s Six techniques are also available as an infographic for quick reference.
Matt can be reached at NoFreakingSpeaking.com.
September 18, 2017
[20:46] In this episode, Greg speaks with Dr. Bo Bennett. Bo is a successful entrepreneur, author, podcaster, instructor and Doctor of Philosophy. Many of you may already know Bo as the creator of FreeToastHost, founder of e-bookIt and founding co-host of the Toastmasters Podcast.
Bo and Greg talk about on-line courses, but not just about taking them, but creating them and getting them up on-line. Bo talks about the skills needed to create them and how these skills, like Toastmasters are a great way to practise and learn to become a more engaging speaker and presenter in a live, on-line and in a multi-medium environment.
Bo also breifly introduces us to VirversitY, an on-line learning platform he created where you can learn to create and produce you own on-line courses. This platform cannot only help you with your skills improvement, it also opens the doors for many business opportunities. For example, you can create on-line courses without limiting yourself geographically or turn books or existing content into courses as Bo has done.
Bo can be reached at BoBennett.com.
July 29, 2017
[20:38] Julia Ewing joins Greg to share some communication nuggets with the audience focussing on delivering your message - whether it be good news, bad news or just information. Julia hails from Saskatoon, Canada where's she's both a community developement professional and business educator, holding an undergraduate degree in human ecology, with a masters in business.
Julia attended Greg's educational on Podcasting and Podcast Interviews at a recent District 99 Toastmasters Convention in Edmonton. Her name was selected from over 60 people who were willing to offer Greg feedback on his session in exchange for the possibility of an exclusive one-on-one opportunty to be either a guest or a co-host on an upcoming show. This is Julia's podcast debut.
June 30, 2017
[19:01] Using a Juice Box as metaphor for Toastmasters Club Officers is the brainchild of Rebecca Cuthbertson Hulst, ACS, ALB. Rebecca has been a Toastmaster since Jan 2014 and just finishing her year as Area Director for District 99, D29 in Edmonton, Canada
Rebecca is also a Registered Collaborative Family Lawyer, a Mediator, and a lawyer for children.
When I stumbled across her speech "Juice Box," delivered in a form of a toast, there was no doubt that she would have to share this and tell her story behind it on our podcast. You’ll have to listen in to find out more.
May 31, 2017
[18:41] Sometimes employers do not know or are unaware of the value of Toastmasters or any other Leadership and Communications training for their employees. Other times they may stress the need without really explaining their full value.
In this episode Greg speaks with Marc Haine
, DTM, a former District 42 PRM, keynote speaker, corporate trainer and business consultant specializing in the Hospitality industry.
Marc developed resource materials that can be shared with employers to help them understand using real-world tie-ins what’s in it for everyone and why their teams should embrace training - more specifically, Toastmasters.
April 30, 2017
[27:22] Mike Raffety, DTM, PID is very active on both the Official Toastmasters Facebook page and LinkedIn group answering many Toastmasters related questions. So we reached out to Mike in Chicago and asked him to give us his take on the Toastmasters Club Myths in the Toastmasters International April 2017 Leader Letter as well as a few other club, contest and speech myths he covered in a 2015 blog post at MikeRaffety.com. Even experienced Toastmasters may be surprised about some things many thought to be true, are simply not.
April 1, 2017
[07:08] In this episode Greg tells the story of the origin of April Fool's Day. Greg was recently the Toastmaster of the Day at his home club, New Entrepreneurs and the theme was April Fool's Day. After researching the topic, Greg perhaps over-prepared his opening remarks and although a little lengthy, they were well received by the members.
As a result, when Greg went home, he expanded on what he had said and wrote an article that was published at Troy Media. Then he decided to make a podcast of the article which is what you'll hear. Enjoy.
December 4, 2016
[27:41] In this episode we speak with Glenda Sheard, DTM, Social Media Manager for District 99. While not an official Toastmasters position, her role is a critical component in attracting new members and engaging existing ones as this medium has gained widespread use. Glenda, a newly minted DTM enthusiastically shares how Social Media impacts districts and clubs and all Toastmasters, enlightening us on the importance of her role and how it works; how Districts can benefit from having a Social Media Manager and using Social Media along with some tips, tricks and examples how D99 uses these resources and how others can use them too.
Glenda Sheard DTM is a speaker, facilitator, presenter and fundraiser and lives in Sherwood Park, Alberta.
October 31, 2016
[26:51] We accumulate all kinds of digital stuff but Visual Productivity expert and regular guest Kevin Achtzener tells us once and awhile we need to do a content audit. Even though content is King as some say and drive space is cheap these days, we need to review our digital clutter. Perhaps it's outdated, no longer relevant or represents who we are. And as Toastmasters as we progress, some of the old content no longer reflects our skill level. Kevin shares his experience and gives us tips and tricks as to what you can do with your content for yourself and your Toastmasters Club. You may be amazed that sometimes you can re-purpose it rather than delete it.