Recipe for Success: Hey You! by Yerlan Meirbek

Hey you!

You, who is reading this post.

I was asked to write my success story for getting CC (competent communicator) and CL (competent leadership) certificates; because VP PR Damira said that I had to do it!

Actually, I finished my CC in record 5 months, which means that I never lost the chance to give a speech.

We have strict rules In Astana Toastmasters Club, regarding speeches. Namely each member can give only 2 speeches per month, and we have more than 60 members and only 30-35 speakers’ spots each month. I’m sure you all know the high level of competition in booking speaker’s spots every time VP Education opens the Role Chart.

So, it was short background information for potential new members. But my target is current members, especially those who are one or two speeches away from completing CC. Those who stopped giving speeches after their 8th or 9th projects. Yes, I’m talking about you, Aikorkem Nurzhanova, Assylan Akimbayev, Aliya Zhumabayeva and others. I want to ask you: “Why are you delaying?” I’ve heard many complaints that it was difficult to choose a topic for the next speech. You know what? Sometimes I chose topics for my previous speeches just in 3 hours before the meeting. Now let’s stop here, you will say that the quality of the speech will be terrible and your speech evaluator will criticize you. To that I want to say this: “Practice makes perfect”, you should be ready for criticism, and you should be ready for challenges. Every step forward is difficult. You can finish last 2 or 3 projects. You have all resources for doing so. Just prove yourself that you can finish what you have started.

If you want to succeed in life, you should finish every project and every deal!

Just do it!

Watch the following video –


Behind the Curtain: What? Where? When? by Anuar Zhumabayev

Dear toastmasters,

Here, in “Behind the curtain” part of our blog, I would like to share with you information about how one of the regular social events of our club, recreational “What? Where? When?” game found its way to the community of those, who are looking to master public speaking skills.

On 10th of April, ATC hosted the last game, and I was an organizer. When I look back, it turns out that I participated in organizational teams of “What? Where? When?” games at ATC all 6 times, it was hosted in the club.

The idea was actually proposed by our former member and now a successful social entrepreneur and engineer Gaukhar Arystan. She announced that she wanted to introduce this game at one of our regular Saturday meetings and declared that she was looking for a host, who will be asking questions during the game. I had never played in formal “What? Where? When?” games before, however, during my student time in Arizona State University, we had our little version of the game at Kazakhstani Student Association there. So, I had had a little experience in searching for questions and was familiar with format a little. Therefore, I stepped up to be a host. Little I knew, I would be the host for 5 of 6 such games at ATC.


We also had Amina Kussainova and Elmira Muldasheva helping us organize the event, providing witty questions, I could ask our guests, and the very first game at ATC went quite well: we had four teams, 30 questions and fun evening. The event became quite popular and for all the next games, teams would be formed very quickly, peaking with 9 teams at the game in Astana Mall (third in ATC), when the host was Art Sergazinov.

The hardest job in organizing the event is to find the place, where we can host all teams and, of course, search for the questions. Every single game at ATC took place at different venues. We had fun time during some of negotiations. I just want to tell you that Azamat Khamza is the best negotiator ever. Seriously, two times he was in recruiting team, we were able to find bargains for our venues.

To find all 30 questions for the game, I usually spent from 3 to 4 hours in the web, so the questions would be at least interesting, hopefully challenging, and yet, rationally easy, since our members are not practicing players, who prepare for the game fiercely. After all, our game is recreational. Also, sometimes, I try to find questions, related to hobbies of our members, like football questions for our football fans, “Harry Potter” questions for our muggles and questions about public speaking. It is challenging, but totally worth it. It was so funny, when no one had the right answer for “a boy with a scar” question, though in each team, we had at least one J.K.Rowling fan.

Overall, I am glad I was a part of organizational teams for these events, but I feel, that with each game I am slowly losing interest in hosting, and, I believe, members felt it during the last game. Therefore, I think it would be in the best interest of the club, if there would be any “What? Where? When?” game in the future at ATC, to find a new host and organizer. To whom, I have only one advice: be sincere in your desires, have fun with questions and don’t be afraid to joke around with teams. It is a fun event. And we should have a blast every time we host it!

Anuar Zhumabayev


Follow-up note/April 16, 2016

Dear Toastmasters,

On April 16, 2016, we had our regular Saturday meeting dedicated to the theme of Book Worms. The meeting started with a confession of madam Toastmaster about her being a book addict  However, according to Merriam Webster dictionary, a bookworm is a person who spends time on reading and studying, and well, obviously, the second part of the definition is not really associated with her… Just so you know…

There were 5 speakers in the Prepared speeches session. The first speaker, Anara Issayeva, presented her 4th speech from CC manual on the title “She was a girl, she was in love.” Her main message was that “love is sacred feeling, no matter what, insane, impossible, unrequited, ridiculous, it is worth living.” The second speaker, Assiya Babayeva, delivered her 2nd project from Storytelling manual, and told her story how she became a fitness trainer. Her personal story with genuine jokes made the audience laugh quite a lot. The third speaker, Anuar Zhumabayev, delivered a speech from the Leadership Excellence Series, and talked about visionary leaders. He nicely presented his prepared introduction to me, so I just had to read out it in front of others before welcoming him on stage. Thank you for that! The fourth speaker, Yerzhan Omirkhanov, completed his 3rd speech from CC manual on the title “Three books that have influence me.” Everyone in the meeting enjoyed his speech as it was thoughtful and sincere. The 5th speaker was Nurmukhammed Tashkenbayev with his ice-breaking speech. He talked about his name and Tashkent where he originally came from. As he told us, it was very advantageous to have such a long name as his mother used to forget what she was going to say to him while pronouncing his name 
The evaluation session was led by Anuar Unaibekov with his wonderful team of an ah-counter (Ardak Suleimenova), a grammarian (Lyubov Sartakova), and a timer (Elmira Baltabayeva) who successfully ignored my message on coming earlier to the meeting, and actually arrived at the meeting quite late. Anyway, thank you for coming! The speeches were evaluated by Damira Kulakhmetova, Korlan Bektassova, Anara Serikbayeva, Asset Abuov, and Bairam Orazov respectively.
The Table topic session was led by Zhanna Kussainova who handled the session in quite an unusual way (teams were formed to answer not-so-easy questions about books and create short stories on various genres) with prior tuning everyone to a positive wave with ChocoPie and M&Ms. The ChocoPie team was recognized as the winner of the Table topic session after delivering their love story about ChocoPie. Apparently, ChocoPie was in the trend that day  The session was full of laughter and fun. I am sure everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.

So, Yerzhan Omirkhanov became the Best Prepared Speaker of the meeting, and Bairam Orazov was chosen as the Best Speech Evaluator. Please, accept my sincere congratulations!
Overall, the meeting was nice and smooth. I could not enjoy it as it was my first time of leading it as the toastmaster of the meeting, but the experience was worth of doing this job  I express my deep gratitude to my mentor, Korlan Bektassova, for helping me out. You are the Best!
Thank you all, for being nice, positive, supportive, and energetic!
Your toastmaster,
Banu Ibragim


Follow-up for 12th April meeting at NU

Hello, fellow toastmasters!

Please find a quick recap for ATC Tuesday meeting held on 12th of April at NU premises.

Meeting started couple of minutes later due to our timer having face control issues with local security. Anuar Zhumabayev was a general evaluator of the meeting and presented his team. Anara was quite surprised with her being a timer of the meeting, but she handled her role very well. So well and committed that half of the meeting she was sitting under the table near the power socket to be able to charge/use her phone/stopwatch.

The first speaker was Yerzhan who told us about how he got his first job, unexpected job interview questions, Gelandewagen boss and project he is currently working on. Then the crowd took some time to write him a feedback. The second speaker was Aigerim with her Happy feet = happy mind speech. She was showing us some terrific dance moves whilst promoting (!) salsa school in Astana. Needless to say that Asset couldn’t help dancing on his chair. The third speaker was Anara with her Evidence based nutrition speech. The main idea = Want to live longer? Start starving… now!

Table topic session was led by Anuar Unaibekov who prepared dope questions about outer space and stuff. Participants provided great answers. Asset started to advice others how to utilize energy that doesn’t even exist in nature and Anara Kasymbekova shared with her unusual life perspective.

Evaluation session went incredibly well. Followed by Let the guest talk session.
After that voting results were announced. Best prepared speakers were Yerzhan and Aigerim. Best table topic speakers were Asset and Anara. Best speech evaluator was Anuar Zhumabayev. Best ah-counter was Assylzhan Akynova.

Overall meeting went well and we managed to finish quite on time.

Thank you for your attention.


Meeting Follow-up Sat 9 Apr 2016

We had a delightful meeting on Saturday and below, please, find my follow-up.

On April 9th we had a regular meeting with a theme “Volunteering”. It consisted of three sessions: prepared speakers session with 4 speakers, table topic session led by Olessya Akimenko and evaluation session led by Anuar Unaibekov.

First speaker of the day, Anuar Unaibekov, started his first project from advanced manual: Specialty Speeches. He presented his impromptu speech as an alumnus of school to its students on how to find something for yourself and how to live right and effectively.

Next, Elmira Baltabayeva got comfortable with visual aids in her speech “Danger to Life”. In her speech she warned us to watch out  the most dangerous place in Astana called McDonalds. Her main argument was that if we consumed fast food we might end up with unpleasant future of obese and unhealthy generation.

The third speaker, Asem Panova, gave a sales training speech as a professional speaker. Her main message was that everyone was a seller in a way and therefore the training would be useful for all of us. My favorite tip: “listen carefully what words a customer uses to describe her need” and repeat those exact words when selling the product.

The last speaker, Yernar Zhylkaidarov, gave his speech called “300 spartans”. There he compared us, 17 mln people of Kazakhstan, to 300 spartans because we had little population and we needed to work hard to be successful. He asked us to be in charge of our own future and be willing to change.

Of all the prepared speakers, the award of the best speaker went to Asem Panova.

After the first session we moved on to the table topic questions. Table topic master, Olessya Akimenko, encouraged everyone to volunteer and come up stage to answer her questions. I saw many hands willing to participate in the session. Among all of the speakers, the most votes for the best table topic speaker went to Bairam Orazov.

At the evaluation session, we had four very useful and to-the-point evaluations given by Assiya Babayeva, Yerlan Meirbek, Asset Omirzhanov and Korlan Bektassova. The best speech evaluator award went to Korlan Bektassova!

Thanks to evaluation team for giving nice feedback to all speakers: Sogdiana Akhmetova (ah-counter), Zhantuar Ertayev (timer), Banu Ibragim (grammarian) and to Anuar Unaibekov for leading the evaluation session.

At the end of the meeting we had many volunteers who wanted to speak at Open Mic. Elmira B invited all to Board Games later that day, Samat P encouraged us to run for officer positions for next year, Nurmukhamed asked for mentor to help with his icebreaker next week, Bairam O invited to provide any help to a local family, Assiya B reminded about ATC RUN marathon next week, Yerlan M asked to vote for the next advanced manual for him to do.

That’s about it. You can find more photos from the meeting on the
ATC Facebook page.
Have a wonderful week and stay cool!

Thank you,


Recipe for Success: How I got my Advanced Communicator Bronze with Korlan Bektassova

On April 2nd 2016 I delivered my tenth speech towards receiving Advanced Communicator Bronze award. It took me 198 days in comparison with 903 days in which I did my CC. Of course doing projects in ATC is no competition and there is no need for rushing when quality may suffer for the sake of quantity.

But the difference in my pace made me think what was different this time. It was the same amount of 10 projects as required in CC. But this time it felt so much easier. I wonder if I became more professional than I had been before, because now I have all skills acquired during CC completion.

I chose Storytelling and Speeches by Management Manuals, these two were delivered free of charge from Toastmasters International when I became CC. Speeches by Management offered projects which could be used in my work experience, like giving briefings, delivering bad news or motivate the employees, and good Storytelling skills were something I admired in other people and wanted to learn for myself. I’m sure you all have that one friend who can describe his morning routine in a way it is an adventure of his lifetime.

Preparing for speeches was easy, at least much easier than before. I used to have troubles choosing the topic of what I wanted to speak about, but this time various themes just popped in my head when reading the project assignments. I think it could be due to the fact that these manuals are not that broad as in CC and give you specific instructions of what you should do. And I guess I have always been a person who abides instructions. And when there is a theme in your head it’s easier to write and prepare. By the way I always write my speeches, thus I remember them better and I rehearse many times before I feel I don’t need notes.

My favorite speech among ten was one from a Storytelling manual – Moral of the story project – when I talked about What Women wanted. The moral of the story was quite humorous and meant that ALL women are witches no matter if they are beautiful or not, smart or silly. I think the audience received it quite well.

I think these two particular manuals are a must-do for any Toastmasters member. If you need some advice from me I’d say explore your surroundings, observe your daily life, there is always something happening which can be eligible for these projects.

P.S. I’d like to thank Anuar Unaibekov who assisted me during my 2nd project from Speeches by Management manual.


A word from President: April

Dear toastmasters!
It is April in Astana, but spring is yet to come to us with its full force. Oh, I know, that jokes about long winter in our city is not funny already, but, will you let me be a little mischievous on the pages of this blog, won’t you?

As a matter of fact, April is promising to be a fun month for Astana Toastmasters Club. It is not just that we start a new official period with opportunities for speakers to find those sacred speaker spots, since a lot of our members forget to extend their membership. And it is not that we are planning to have a lot of energetic events such as “ATC Bike Tour” and “ATC RUN”, as well as intellectual games – “What? Where? When?” and “Boarding Games”. It is also a feeling in the air, where you can find rumblings about on who will be in the next officers’ team. People are interested, people are eager to try, people are ready. And it couldn’t make me feel more confident about the future of our club.

April has come. Spring is around the corner. I’m sure our club is at the beginning of the most fun period of its calendar year.
Anuar Zhumabayev
P.S. Below, please, see highlights of March events and meetings

Follow up note/ 2nd of April

Dear toasmasters!
2nd of April, on Saturday meeting, we had a regular meeting dedicated to Jokes and Pranks. The meeting has started on time with some changes in agenda but overall it was smooth and very Fun. As I noticed, speakers are getting better and better. Very good job! Thank you to our excellent speakers for their outstanding preparation.
The prepared speech session opened VP Education Korlan Bektassova. She presented Storytelling Project 5, bringing history to life with the Title “The Warrior Princess”. She brought up a story about gracious Tomiris and brave Rustam as usual using great rhetorical devices and rich vocabulary. Thus quote stuck in my mind: ” Behind every successful man is a woman, behind every successful woman is herself”.
The second speaker, Sogdiana Akhmetova, has completed the 5th project from CC manual, Your body speaks. She shared us a personal extreme story, and she greatly involved us in experiencing the bungee jumping and we really felt like we were jumping with her too.
The third speaker, Indira Kyilybayeva presented Interpretive reading #4 The Play. Anton Chekhov, Backboneless. She made us laugh and cry. I was speechless after her presentation, nowadays it is so actual. Dear toastmasters, always know and protect your rights. Read a play.
Anara Issayeva completed Project 3, Get to the point with the title “Cheap. Effective. Easy.” Anara did a hilarious job! She persuaded us to make compliments and she proved us how effective they can be! Сheap, effective, Easy! Definitely!
Askar Aitymov, Anuar Unaibekov’s little brother made his first entertaining ice breaking speech! Very soon, he will be among ATC members, hopefully!

The evaluation session was lead by Damira Kulakhmetova. Her team: Ah counter – Bairam Orazov, Timer- Ali Akiltayev, Grammarian- Myrzakhan Omarbayev arrived on time and performed their duties very well.
Evaluators were all professional speakers and they gave very useful feedback: Asem Panova, Aidar Abrayev, Asset Omirzhanov, Anara Serikabayeva and Assiya Babayaeva respectively.

The tabletopic session was lead by humorous Asset Abuov. The audience loved his questions and laughed a lot. ATC loves a black humor, but some of them like Asset Omirzhanov and Korlan Bektassova spit further :)
It was very challenging for audience to make their choice because all the speakers were different and outstanding. However, Indira and Anara were chosen as favorites one! The best evaluator became Asset Omirzhanov. in this life no one can surpass him! The best table topic speaker- Samat Panov! The same thing as with Asset. Not in this life :)
With best wishes,
your toasmaster
Zhanna Kussainova


Behind the Curtain: Скала. Дотянуться до небес

Как помочь расправить крылья?

Некоторые сравнивают умение достигать своих целей с беговым марафоном, когда человек, превозмогая боль и усталость, отодвигает ее на второй план для достижения поставленной задачи. Когда отказывают ноги, руки, дыхание сбито и ощущение, что весь организм наполнен каким-то землетрясением внутренностей. То же самое происходит, когда вы карабкаетесь на гору, хочется остановиться и сдаться вершине, признать ее победу над собой, пав безвестным воином… Но не все так просто! Вспоминая, что стоило тебе всех предыдущих усилий, ты делаешь глубокий вдох и продолжаешь путь.В прошлые выходные, я смогла показать некоторым ребятам с Astana Toastmasters Club (where leaders are made), как это здорово карабкаться вверх. Мероприятие прошло в ТРЦ «Мега», в городе Астана, на скалодроме «Skala». Мне помогали составлять план очень грамотные инструкторы и следить за каждым участником во избежание несчастных случаев. В этом помогает также инструкция по технике безопасности, с которой каждый участник ознакомился перед началом. Это был мой первый Leadership project, где я должна была организованно провести мероприятие, на которое пригласила всех желающих.PR-team предложила несколько вопросов, на которые я ответила в своем посте:
1. Как пришла идея провести мероприятие?
В свое время мне самой было очень интересно узнать про скалолазание и альпинизм в городе. Неужели, если Астана – город степей, мы не любим лазать по горам? Многие точно так же, как и я, просто не знали куда обратиться. Но я девочка настойчивая, узнала контактные данные алматинского клуба (уж там-то они точно должны заниматься в горах), и уже они подсказали, как я могу связаться с их представителями в Астане. Мне показалось, что проведя мероприятие, я смогу ознакомить ребят с основами, вызвать их интерес к спорту, после которых они уже точно решат, хотят ли посвятить себя горам.12888675_958904927496107_5706240807159695195_o
2. Что было самым сложным и самым легким при подготовке?Начать заниматься спортом никогда не поздно. Но с годами это всегда сложнее. Все мы имеем разную физическую подготовку и умения. Сложно было подбирать задания и упражнения, с которыми смог бы справиться любой участник, не чувствуя себя ущемленным в каком либо отношении. Так как мой проект был рассчитан на командную работу и каждый участник должен был попробовать свое умение в каждом из конкурсов. Легко было от того, как ребята восприняли идею о скалодроме, они были полны энтузиазма и постоянно поддерживали, ожидая чего-то интересного. А, как организатору, мне было это очень важно. Непосредственно в день мероприятия, очень помогли мои коллеги по цеху (PR-team). Они пришли пораньше и сотворили наше оформление.
3. Что было на мероприятии вкратце, сколько длилось, сколько человек пришло, какие команды были?
Люди набирались с переменным успехом. Изначально, когда был объявлен набор, я не почувствовала никакой энергии и ребята считали, что у них есть еще предостаточно времени, чтобы определиться с походом на мероприятие. А мне нужно было рассчитать бюджет, призы, конкурсы, места… Еще за день список превысил 5 человек, из отведенных 20, то есть еще за несколько часов я ожидала, что буду тренировать 25 человек, за которыми нужен будет пристальный надзор. Но бывают случаи, что возникают дела в самый неподходящий момент и в итоге до Скалы дошли 16 человек участников, ну и я сама была 17-ая. Что было достаточно удобно, потому что они поровну смогли разделиться на команды по 8 человек. Тема мероприятия должна была связывать 2 мира – Черную и Белую сторону ангелов.Самое первое, что пришлось нам выполнить – это разминка – основа всех нагрузок и занятий. Важно подготовить тело и дать ему разогреться, от хорошей циркуляции крови повышается гормон счастья, который дал нам позитивный заряд на предстоящие восхождения, потому что именно подъем ребята хотели освоить больше всего!  А потом пошло все по плану. Разделились на команды с белыми и черными ленточками на руках для опознавания «своих». Определили капитанов команд. Байрам возглавлял армию «Черных фурий» ведя игроков за собой, прикрывая наших нежных девушек своей могучей спиной, постоянно страхуя и не разрешая сдаваться. А наш президент стал капитаном команды нечеловеческих возможностей «Белых барсов», их речевка говорила сама за себя об их сплоченности и желания к победе!12916120_958909960828937_6057624108236762143_o

Изначально, мы договорились об аренде на 2 часа и согласно этому времени был расписан график проведения конкурсов, но время работало против нас, поэтому количество конкурсов значительно сократилось. Это не помешало нам получить максимум удовольствий от каждого из них. На тренажере висели облачка, на которых были написаны вразброс высказывания великих скалолазов и альпинистов, в конце мероприятия им предстояло собрать их всех воедино, чтобы расшифровать. Вот некоторые из них: «Скалолаз не тот, кто залез на скалу, а тот, кто потом спустился», «Альпинисты, как яйца, либо крутые, либо всмятку», «Никто не запрещает тебя считать царем горы, но прошу, знай свою гору» (Ватари Ватару)

4. Понравилось ли тебе проводить мероприятие?

Безусловно! Несмотря на долгую подготовку и постоянно меняющиеся планы – я была заряжена энергией ребят! Каждый принес частичку позитива, которая была распределена между нами поровну. Я изначально была инициатором сделать что-нибудь необычное, волнующее, и как оказалось, практически никто не пробовал со страховкой на высоте в несколько десятков метров, свисать под тяжестью собственного веса.

5. Получилось ли реализовать все, что задумала?

Можно сказать, что по большей части – да! Моя цель была – порадовать ребят новыми ощущениями, провести время за пределами нашей зоны комфорта, где мы привыкли обычно видеть друг друга. Работа в командах лишний раз доказала нам, как мы умеем слажено двигаться и как переживаем за своих со-товарищей, даже тех, кто находится в соперниках. Несмотря на то, что происходили форс-мажорные ситуации и заминки, как-то это стиралось за общим смехом и специальными подарками из альпинистского магазина. Хотелось оставить в памяти каждого, время, проведенное на Скале.


6. Есть ли советы для организаторов, в особенности, спортивного содержания?

Конечно, предугадать многие вещи мы не в силах, как оказалось уже во время  соревнований, я не подумала о человеке, который будет записывать результаты команд, подсчитывать очки, советоваться… У меня прошло это немного наобум, но ребята вроде не обиделись, когда я раздавала призы и объявляла результаты. Так что сами результаты так же важны, как и участие, стоит принять во внимание, что за игрой у людей есть собственные амбиции для достижений целей. Все-таки Astana Toastmasters Club для лидеров, и пусть, в шуточной форме, но мы пытаемся развить здоровое чувство азарта.

Дату мероприятия, количество человек желательно знать задолго до начала, это сэкономит вам кучу нервов и поможет быть полностью уверенным сколько времени уйдет на прохождения какого бы то ни было задания. Несколько участников, готовых прийти, отказались перед самым началом, из-за позднего вопроса «о недавних травмах». В спортивном мероприятии очень важно учесть факт состояния здоровья персонально.

Чтобы подытожить интервью, хотелось бы пожелать удачи и больше импровизации, она обычно всегда заводит застоявшийся мозг! Не бойтесь просить помощи, если что-то не получается или вошли в тупик, более опытные и неравнодушные люди не откажут в совете. Личный Опыт получился колоссальным.

Оригинальный пост по ссылке: Скала. Дотянуться до небес