Toastcaster Communication Leadership Learning Lab
ToastCaster 163: Reinvention & Tips for When Business is Slow – Stephanie Northcott

ToastCaster 163: Reinvention & Tips for When Business is Slow – Stephanie Northcott

July 31, 2022


[23:52] Ever wonder how to fill the gaps when business is slow? There are a number of productive things we can do - some we already know but are often forgotten. But what about when things are so slow and choices are so limited that you have to totally reinvent yourself?

Our guest today is an expert in both those areas. Stephanie Northcott, a former corporate project administrator from Calgary, Canada in the construction and electrical utility industries found herself in a position of having no position that fit her skills due to a corporate. 

With a decade of extensive experience under her belt, Stephanie decided to take matters into her own hands. She put her administrative skills and strengths to work becoming an entrepreneur specializing in helping sole proprietors and online entrepreneurs as a virtual assistant, relocating her family and now working from the paradise of Guanajuato, Mexico.

In this episode, Stephanie shares a little about her journey, what a virtual assistant does and shares a number of tips that she has discovered and things you can do when business slows to a crawl.

Many of her tips and nuggets of wisdom come from the article: Filling the Gaps when Things Get Slow that can be found on her blog as well as on LinkedIn.

Some of the tips include: Examining your business from the outside in, posting past content and cleaning up those nagging “tolerations” and more.

You can find Stephanie Northcott on LinkedIn or reach her via her website:

Toastcaster 153: Making Freaking Meetings Fun & Productive - Matt Abrahams

Toastcaster 153: Making Freaking Meetings Fun & Productive - Matt Abrahams

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.

Toastcaster 133: Working Remotely in Unprecedented Times -  Chandrashekar LSP, Zoho Corp

Toastcaster 133: Working Remotely in Unprecedented Times - Chandrashekar LSP, Zoho Corp

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. (

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:

Toastcaster 102 How Wearing a Fitbit Can Help Manage Your Day

Toastcaster 102 How Wearing a Fitbit Can Help Manage Your Day

September 23, 2018


[13:11] In this episode we take a little break from the interviews and have a look at a gadget Greg wears 24/7 - except when it's on the charger. You'll hear about how wearing his Fitbit Charge 2 not only motivates him to keep fit but also about a few of its features that he just can't live without to help him manage his day and how they might just help yours too.

The podcast is based in part on a Troy Media article.

Toastcaster 97 Memory Techniques to Remember Just About Anything - Kevin Achtzener

Toastcaster 97 Memory Techniques to Remember Just About Anything - Kevin Achtzener

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

Toastcaster 75 Doing a Personal Content Audit with Kevin Achtzener

Toastcaster 75 Doing a Personal Content Audit with Kevin Achtzener

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.

Toastcaster 53 - Visual Productivity with Kevin Achtzener

Toastcaster 53 - Visual Productivity with Kevin Achtzener

April 11, 2015

Looking to jumpstart your productivity? DTM and expert Kevin Achtzener returns to Toastcaster and speaks with Greg Gazin about Visual Productivity the new Mind Mapping. He also introduces his new book appropriately entitled - Visual Productivity. (25:33)

Toastcaster 38 - Time Blocking 101 for Toastmasters

Toastcaster 38 - Time Blocking 101 for Toastmasters

November 5, 2012

timeblocking.jpgTime is something we just never have enough of. As Toastmasters, we sometimes struggle to find extra time to work through the program in addition to all the things we need to do in every day life. We know its important. Distinguished Toastmaster and productivity expert Kevin Achtzener from joins us here at Toastcaster to to enlighten us about Time Blocking, very different than just having a todo list or just creating your daily schedule and picking on yours truly as his volunteer guinea pig. Time Blocking is just one element of good Time Management which Kevin covers in his new course, Mega Productivity.

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