Tips for Toastmasters, Effective Communication for Life

I owe my first toastmaster experience to my Mom… which began 25 years ago in New Bern, North Carolina while I sat under an 8’ table, grabbing bites of my Hardee’s Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits (worthy to capitalize) when you spend a decade in the in between playing with Transformers and GI Joes. I can still hear the marble drop in the tin can for every “umm” & filler word mentioned in those meeting (sounds a bit old school, now).

Fast forward to today, I presented a speech for my Buffalo Toastmasters public speaking Club. As part of the Advanced Communication Series, I presented my “Mastering the Toast” speech project which challenged me to present a two- to three- minute toast in honor of a person. I chose my Mom, since she has been a model Toastmaster in my life. I share my list below.

Top 10 Things I Learned from my Mom About Communication:

10. God gave us two ears and one mouth. We shall use them in that proportion. Many of us forget the importance of listening

9. You’ll get farther with sugar than vinegar. Especially when it comes with dealing with the IRS on the phone. Steady persistence using patience and a sense of humor usually pays off more than stinging words.

8. Simple IS better. And that goes for preparing for a family dinner, writing a cover letter, or planning a wedding. Less can be more.

7. ‘Thank you portions’ can open your eyes. Instead of turning away Brussels’ sprouts, as for a small “thank you” portion. Our taste buds change with age and being opening up to new things, whether it be foods or Toastmaster speaking opportunities can open up amazing new doors. Never thought it would take me 33 years to like Brussels’ sprouts.

6. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Which do you think feels better? Mom, I love you. OR. Mom, I LOVE you !!!

5. “Why do you ask?” A perfect response to someone asking a personal question you choose not to answer, simply respond in a nice way: “Why do you ask?” You might be surprised at their reaction.

4. Back pedaling isn’t easy, especially when you are on your mountain bike with a flat tire miles from nowhere and didn’t want to bring a spare tube/pump because of not wanting to lug the extra 300 grams of weight. Same goes with not telling the truth. You never know how much you can do until you try to undo what you have already done.

3. Smile. Actions really do speak louder than words. A smile & sparkle in the eyes goes a long way.

2. Thoughtfulness is never over rated. Homemade jam always tastes better than Smuckers.

1. Never underestimate the power of a simple compliment. Mom, you’re awesome.

Mom, I send you my best wishes for health, happiness, and your continued source of inspiration for those around you. And I must say, of all the toasts I’ve given in my entire life, this one, this very Top 10 toast, by far.. is the most special!

Here we enjoying simple things in life: a Starbuck’s gift card and a handwritten thank you note card from someone special (you know know you are):
wpid-rjkern_mom-2011-08-17-16-10.jpgPS – A special thanks to the support of my fellow Buffalo Toastmasters, kind enough to not hand me a ticket for going 15 seconds over the {speaking} limit.


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9 Responses to “Tips for Toastmasters, Effective Communication for Life”

  1. Krista — August 17, 2011 @ 8:30 pm (#)

    What absolute pearls of wisdom… “mother wisdom”… there is nothing better! So glad that the two of you were able to share the experience together!

  2. Tom Pehrson — August 17, 2011 @ 9:06 pm (#)

    Wonderful post, R.J.!

  3. Chung Nguyen — August 17, 2011 @ 11:03 pm (#)

    You look like your pretty mama. (You guys have the same smile.)

  4. becky g. — August 18, 2011 @ 7:43 am (#)

    Great pearls of wisdom and a sweet tribute to your mom.

  5. Sean Kern — August 18, 2011 @ 2:35 pm (#)

    Well done bro. Mom you really are awesome. Very creative and it made me smile. Wish I was there with you guys. By the way, I remember those cinnamin raisin biscuits, those were great.

  6. Misti — August 18, 2011 @ 6:19 pm (#)

    Great tips…and Brussels sprouts are even better fresh, grilled with a bit of olive oil and s&p!

  7. Carole — August 18, 2011 @ 6:42 pm (#)

    Your mom taught you well! Can’t wait to meet her.

  8. Brooke Summer Photography — September 4, 2011 @ 10:39 pm (#)

    I can’t remember the exact number, but in college my communications professor said that about 98% of communication is non-verbal. Meaning a VERY small portion of what you say is actually the words you use. How you say things is SO important! Moms are smart. 🙂

  9. Pingback: My pictures would be better only if I… | Kern-Photo

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