September 30, 2021
[29:55] Many people avoid meetings at all costs - they feel they’re unproductive, a waste of time and simply a bandaid for bad communication in an organization. In this episode Greg speaks with return guest Matt Abrahams, educator and coach whose extensive exploration, research and experience has led him to discover a collaborative approach to keep meetings fun and exciting. More importantly they be can productive in achieving the goals of the organization and add value to the teams. And you might even be thanked for running a meeting.
You’ll learn about the importance of planning, executing and setting expectations up front - and even determining whether there is an alternative to holding a meeting.
You’ll hear how to invoke emotion by leveraging meeting invites and making agendas valuable and how the information, emotion and actions are the three important key elements of any communication. This includes the importance of paraphrasing and how that leads to better communication and boost engagement during the meeting.
He also stresses the value of focusing on the experience and the creative order of things and not just the content and also using physical engagement and leveraging the use of technology tools and more.
Matt also touches on how to ensure the new way of running meetings endures and tips for running virtual meetings.
And finally, Matt talks about his new podcast, Think Fast Talk Smart from Stanford GSB.
Matt Abrahams teaches Strategic Communication for Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and Presentation Skills for Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program and co-founder of coaching consulting practice Bold Echo Communication Solutions. If that’s not enough, Matt is also the author of the book Speaking Up without Freaking Out, now in its 3rd edition.
You can also hear Matt on episode #93 Speaking up without freaking out and also on the Toastmasters Podcast, Episode 111, with Greg Gazin and Ryan Levesque where he spoke on how to be confident.
August 31, 2021
[15:26] In this episode Greg speaks about two incredible individuals whom we can call unexpected leaders. These are people who positively impact others not really with any intention but simply by doing what they do. In fact they may not even be aware of the impact that they are having on others and the long lasting impression they leave.
You’ll hear about, Reverend Kevin Fast (left) from Cobourg, Ontario, Canada is best described as a modern day Popeye and Brittany Walsh, a.k.a AcroBritt (RIGHT) from Portland, Oregon, U.S.A a dancer, a gymnast, former circus performer and acrobatic archer who both happen to be individuals featured in the 2020 Guinness Book of World Records.
Greg shares a little about each of their stories and 3 leadership lessons he’s taken away by speaking with them
If you'd like to read the related article Leadership tips from the Book of Guinness World Records you can find it at Troymedia.com.
To hear the full interview podcast with these two inspiring Guinness world record holder's along with a bonus interview with an official judge or adjudicator and hear them tell their stories, check out: Toastcaster 122: Setting a Guinness World Record – It Takes True Leadership.
A short link for that is bit.ly/toastcaster122.
Also please visit GuinnessWorldRecords.com
July 5, 2021
[32:53] Imagine the hardest speech you'll ever have to give.
In this episode you'll hear about that speech, the process that went into creating it and the speech itself and how on that day, I felt a rollercoaster of emotions the likes of which I’d never experienced in my life.
That day I was surrounded by loving friends and family as I said a final farewell to Elaine Baram, my best friend, my love, my wife, the sunshine of my life who I will miss forever . It will also explain why there were no episodes over the past months.
May 1, 2021
[27:28] There’s a plethora of resources spotlighting do a TED Talk or speaking on the TEDx stage, but few realize that a great host or emcee can make or break that event. In this episode Greg speaks with Noel Bentley, a three-time TEDx host who’s hosted both live and virtual events at TEDx Bear Creek Park in Surrey BC, Canada.
In Part 1 of this 2 part series, Noel inspires us with his own story, what it means to be a TEDx host, what the role entails and the excitement and opportunities it presents for speakers and individuals. You’ll as be introduced to TEDx BearCreekPark and a glimpse as to what goes on behind the scenes of a TEDx.
Noel enlightens us with his experience in his role as a TEDx host - how he got there, what he learned, how he (over) prepares mentally and physically and about the help he got along the way. You’ll also learn about other key players like the curator, speaker coach, program coordinator and of course the speakers and how the host interacts with them. You’ll also find out what speakers have to go through to be on that stage.
Noel will also share some of his best practices and things to avoid, touching on the topics of introduction, bridging between speakers, scripting and humour.
Noel Bentley is a speaker, humorist, storytelling coach, emcee and Toastmaster. He started project called Power of 3 Speaking, a new way of doing keynote speaking. He lives in Surrey, BC, Canada and can be reached at https://powerof3speaking.com or coming soon at NoelBentley.ca.
You can also watch the latest TEDx BearCreekPark 2021 at https://tedxbearcreekpark.ca
Watch for Part 2 (Toastcaster 149) coming up.
January 1, 2021
[22:13] Kevin Achtzener, DTM is in the process of doing his practicum at a Spanish bilingual school to earn an after degree in Education. He had the idea to teach his students new material as part of a Spanish Language Arts curriculum by getting them to create their own podcasts.
In this episode, Kevin, a regular on ToastCaster, shared his experience as to why he chose podcasting as a teaching medium, what he was trying to accomplish, how the class took to it and how the podcasts turned out. He talks a little about the methods he used, the subjects he selected as well as what both he and his students learned from the process.
He also tells how he got our Podcast Host Greg Gazin involved by interviewing him as both a sample podcast and as a way to share his knowledge with the students through a podcast which was to be played in the classroom.
Kevin Achtzener is from Edmonton, Canada and can be reached at VisualProductivity.net.
November 30, 2020
[43:52] When I first started podcasting 15 years ago, the most frequently asked question was, ‘What’s a Podcast?” Five years ago, It was, “Why are you doing podcasts? It’s going the way of the radio, video is where it’s at. Today I’m often asked, “What are the benefits of podcasting?” And “How can I get involved? How do I get started?”
In April 2020 Apple Podcasts had over 1M podcast and over 35 million episodes. With the lockdown I’ve heard estimates ion 1.5 million and many many more episode. So Podcasting is not going away any time soon.
People do want to know more. In fact I’m questioned about podcasts and podcasting everyday.
As luck would have it, I recently came across a 2018, recording of a Podcast educational session I delivered - in a last minute request, to a group of Toastmasters which covers many of those questions and more. And while podcasting certainly continues to evolve, the information presented is still relevant today
This episode is not only for Toastmasters but for any communicator or leader who may be curious or interested in this topic.
- We’ll look at what a podcast is, what it can do for you; the benefits of podcasts from a listeners, guests and a creator’s perspective.
- You’ll hear stories along with tips and tricks in preparing, creating, hosting and moderating a podcast.
- You’ll discover how to preparing effective questions and interviewing Techniques.
- We’ll also make reference to a number of resources, other podcasts,
- and more.
You can also download a PDF of the slides used in the presentation. http://bit.ly/gregtli2018
You may also want to check out The Toastmasters Podcast: Creating Interesting Podcast Content (Part 1) episode #157 and (Part 2) episode #158, featuring yours truly and co-host Ryan Levesque.
I also encourage you to read, "Is there a Podcast in Your Future," feature cover story in the Jan 2021 issue of Toastmaster Magazine.
Look for other upcoming podcast themed episodes here at ToastCaster and the Toastmasters Podcast.
July 31, 2020
[27:41] Looking at how a pandemic has changed the way we dine and how restaurants operate and literally ravaged the industry. As some cities begin to re-open, you can’t help but wonder what the new normal is or might be or what future looks like moving forward.
In this episode, our guest Brittain Brown offers us a little insight into that arena. From his experience, he’ll share some of his observations what’s going on in the minds of restaurant owners and operators, staff and patrons. You’ll hear about some of the changes in store beyond merely servers in face masks, constant cleaning and reassuring customers as factors whether restaurants can successfully reopen and stay in business.
He addresses some of the challenges today’s leaders are facing, but also some of the opportunities that this represents including some food for thought on how leaders need to rethink and evolve their business models and adopt new technologies which are already driving the new normal and what might happen if they don’t.
What you’ll hear will be of interest and value to you regardless as to whether you’re a restauranteur, a patron or a leader in any other industry. Brown’s insights can apply to anyone.
Brittain Brown, B.A. is from Toronto, Canada. He’s the President of Givex, a global company that provides the restaurant, retail, and other industries with the latest tech solutions and analytics that help clients drive sales and make better business decisions. He can be reached at Givex.com.
June 30, 2020
[29:33] Sometimes the best way to be a better leader and communicator is to learn from others’ stories. In this episode we hear from Paul Finkelstein who created OMGTalk, the small business owners podcast which he publishes on 5 different platforms.
Paul tells us why he created it; how he interviews small business owners and its value to them and other small business owners. Paul also shares his own takeaways and what he has learned from the process.
I invited Paul to Toastcaster because when he asked me to be on his show OMGTalk, the four simple questions he indicated he was going to ask I found quite reflective. It forced me to think back and dig deep - which I found quite inspiring. Please have a listen to to our interview on Paul's show.
Paul Finkelstein is from Delray Beach, Florida, USA. He’s involved in the Medicare insurance industry and loves running and fundraising. He’s a Distinguished Toastmaster and is the producer of the OMGTalk Podcast. Paul can be reached on all the major platforms and at OMGTalk.com.
May 19, 2020
[11:39] For a dedicated athlete or fit individual, walking a minimum of 10k steps a day for almost three years might seem like nothing. For me, a few decades older with ancient injuries walking roughly seven to eight kilometres a day that seems more like a pipe dream.
Amazingly, I did it. I never thought I could. In this episode, I share a little about my journey and how beyond the usual benefits of exercise the experience was transformational; I learned new things - many about myself.
The text version of this podcast is entitled “What I learned from a Journey of over 11 million steps.” There’s also an earlier related article, “One step at a time: a simple solution to a better life.” The companion podcast is Toastcaster Episode: 90.
Articles can be found at Troy Media.com
Note: The photo shows me as I reached the 1000-day milestone. As I recorded this podcast 70 days later I had reached 12.3 million steps. Sadly as I publish this podcast my journey has come to an end as a time slot has come up for my long awaited and overdue hernia operation. But I will start again and learn many new things.
April 30, 2020
[22:06] Many businesses are finding themselves in an emergency state and are desperately looking to ensure smooth continuity.
In this episode, Greg speaks with Chandrashekar LSP, Head Evangelist for the Zoho Corporation in Canada.
Chandrashekar shares his observations on this new unprecedented business landscape and gives us an insight on what people and businesses can do and tools they can use to shift from typical office environments to the new reality without recreating the wheel
Working from home for over 15 years, he also offers his personal take on this subject as he currently has three kids under five years of age at home 24/7 and with his teams in India, and clients, partners, analysts and media in North America and around the world.
You’ll hear about Zoho’s Cloud-based business services for all departments in an organization including their new Remotely bundle consisting of 11 of their 45 applications in four categories, including: Internal/External Communications, Project Management, Remote Assistance and a collaborative Office Suite, which Zoho is offering at no charge for a limited time through their Small Business Emergency Assistance Subscription Program to help businesses get through the pandemic. (zoho.com/remotely)
Chandrashekar LSP is based in Montreal and has been with Zoho Corporation, a 24-year old privately held company for almost two decades. He can be reached at: email@example.com
February 29, 2020
[24:42] Although Fear is commonly associated with public speaking, it’s ubiquitous; we find it in many areas of our lives and it can be debilitating.
In this episode, Host Greg Gazin speaks with Donald Lee who shares his insights on the origins of our fear; its physiological effects and how we can use our minds to counteract the natural effects of those fears. You’ll also learn why the opposite of fear, is love.
Donald Lee is from Peace River, Canada. Now in his 3rd career as a spiritual author and speaker, he’s also been a musician, teacher, band director, athlete, and economist who has over 60 years of dealing with fear across many disciplines. He’s also returned to Toastmasters after a 20-year hiatus. having competed in the 1995 World Championship of Public Speaking. He is one of the keynote speakers at the upcoming District 42 Conference in Lethbridge, Alberta.
Lee’s 1st book, published December 2019 is: The Band Director’s Lessons About Life: Volume 1 – 50 Parables on Life’s Performance Cycle - modern-day parables, with stories inspired by his teaching experience.
Lee can be reached at ComingHomeSpirit.com. There, listeners can also sign up for a free copy of Lee’s mini e-book containing five of the 50 parables.
January 31, 2020
[24:28] It’s amazing what a difference one man can make in the world. In this episode Greg speaks with Dan Johnstone, a.k.a Can Man Dan. Dan shares with us a little about his humble journey about how growing up in a less fortunate environment motivated him at a young age to begin a lifelong journey of helping others in need and make a difference in their lives.
He shares some of the tasks, activity and projects he’s taken on, including camping out in a truck for 4-5 days at a time 24/7 in sub-zero, -30 degree Celsius weather to collect much needed food of the Edmonton Food Bank. Dan shares an encouraging message that anyone in the world no matter the age or economic status can also do the same if they take a first step. His actions and leadership in this area are living proof of that.
Dan Johnstone is an award-winning activist, philanthropist, community organizer, and motivational speaker. Alongside his newly created non-profit organization, the Can Man Dan Foundation, Dan works hands-on to alleviate poverty, assist vulnerable populations, and strengthen communities in Alberta, Canada. At 32, Dan has already raised millions in resources for people in need while bringing awareness to today’s most relevant issues.
Dan lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and can be reached at CanManDan.Org or on his website DanJohnstone.Com.
Can Man Dan at Safeway - Southgate Centre
November 30, 2019
[11:03] On Black Friday our minds seem to wander towards the subject of shopping and for many us, it’s the time to think about getting new gadgets for work, home or when we’re out on the road. In this episode Greg takes a look at the all-new for 2019 Amazon Fire HD 10 which he recently had the opportunity of reviewing.
You’ll hear his thoughts on the new model, some of the features, what it can be used for and how it compares to other tablets. It’s a follow up podcast for his upcoming article of the same name, which can be found at GadgetGuy.ca on Dec 1st.
October 19, 2019
[29:57] In this episode, Greg speaks with Diana Peterson-More about her new book: Consequential Communication in Turbulent Times: A Practical Guide to Leadership. Peterson-More draws from her experience as a labor lawyer, HR executive and organizational development consultant to show individuals and business leaders the way to clear, concise, and intentional communication--vital to successful human interaction in today’s fast-paced, volatile (and #MeToo) world.
A short read, this book has a unique format, for example, incorporating step-by-step how-to lists for each chapter, a number of case studies, analyzing what went wrong and food for thought through “What-if“ scenarios, often circling back to previous case studies as new concepts are learned.
The book is based on real stories and practical advice, some of which Diana shares with us during our conversation including using “I” statements and the Platinum Rule and more.
Diana Peterson-More is from Pasadena, California and can be reached through her website or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
July 26, 2019
[22:35] People use images in their Powerpoint presentations, blogs and there’s no end to photos posted and shared on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and more. But just because you find them on the web, are you sure you have the right to use them? In this episode, Greg speaks with Samantha Lile who wrote an article with adapted flowchart for ViseMe.co entitled, Can I Use That Image?
Samantha talks about her article and shares some things people need to be aware of and things to consider before using, posting or sharing a photo - primarily from a U.S. perspective with Greg offering up additional Canadian insight. However, it offers some some food for thought for people all around the world as many similar rules exist in other countries.
You’ll hear about terms like Copyright, Creative Commons, Public Domain and Fair Use and some of the step involved in determining if an image falls into those categories and what to do. She also shares some of her favourite sources for free images including: Pixabay, Pexels and UnSplash.
Samantha Lile is an independent journalist, editor, blogger and content manager from Ozark, Mo. U.S.A, whose work can be found on sites such as: The Huffington Post, Thrive Global and Buzzfeed. Her original article and the companion flowchart can be found at Visme.co. You can reach Samantha via SamanthaLile.Carbonmade.com.
In case you're wondering, Samantha’s photo is used with her permission. : )
June 30, 2019
[12:22] Our smartphones have become the default goto gadget for pictures and videos as the ability to take photos have become an invaluable tool in both our personal and professional lives.
In this episode Greg looks at why one should consider taking along a point and shoot digital camera on their next trip, to their next conference or anywhere one would need to take pictures or shoot video and the advantages to do so. We also see how far they’ve come.
Greg offers a glimpse at the newer FujiFilm FinePix XP140 point and shoot as one example. Some of its incredible features include wireless photo transfer and even smile detection. It’s also waterproof, rustproof, shockproof, freezeproof and amazingly inexpensive.
You can find a modified print version of this article at Active-Life.ca.
April 16, 2019
[31:57] We’ve all heard the term Authentic Leadership, but what is it really all about? In this episode we demystify the topic as Greg speaks with entrepreneur, TEDx speaker and author and Jeff Davis. Davis, who is passionate about Authentic Leadership, shares his personal experiences and offers an insight on why it’s important and practical strategies on how we can all become authentic leaders.
We learn that the road to Authentic Leadership begins way before we become a leader or even get our first job. We will realize that things you have been afraid or embarrassed to share before can help you and others. In fact, Jeff demonstrates the value is of being vulnerable wearing his heart on his sleeve about how he was bullied in school, how that followed him into college and how he had to deal with it. We also learn about some of the challenges of becoming an authentic leader especially in an environment or culture that doesn’t value it.
We also hear a little about his books with big titles, The Power of Authentic Leadership: Activating the 13 Keys to Achieving Prosperity Through Authenticity and Reach Your Mountaintop: 10 Keys to Finding the Hidden Opportunity in Your Setbacks, Flipping What You’ve Heard on Its Head, and Achieving Legendary Goals.
Jeff Davis, originally from Newtown, Connecticut, USA now lives in Rotterdam, Netherlands. He can be reached at JeffDSpeaks.com
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)
March 24, 2019
[15:22] The right stage presence can make or break a performance regardless of whatever words that may be coming out of your mouth. But what about an off-stage presence, that virtual presence, those times when you’re giving a presentation on-line, a webinar, doing an interview or recording a podcast anytime you’re in front of a computer screen?
In this episode, Greg, a.k.a The Gadget Guy offers an extended look at three pro tips and one bonus tip and things to consider when you’re presenting in a virtual world, things that may differ from when you are presenting on a traditional stage. This can help you take your next delivery from good to great.
Photo Courtesy Zoom.