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Meeting Followup 21 JAN 2017 by Aliya Sariyeva

Last Saturday we had an amazing meeting!

It started with inspirational speech of Mr. John Register, the Associate Director for Community and Veterans Programs for U.S. Paralympics. He is a two-time Paralympic athlete and a speaker, inspirer and motivator who uses his life experience to challenge everyone to never settle into their setbacks, but to hurdle their adversity in all aspects of life. Mr. Register motivated us to never give up and find a lot of advantages in tough situations. Thank you very much for your time and motivation!
The next speaker was Aisha Beisenova who delivered her second speech “The foundation for a lifetime success”. Aisha told us about Montessori system of children’s early development. Her final  quotation of Dr. Montessori is still resonating in my mind: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” Thank you!
Third speaker Aidana surprised us by proving that eating cakes is really worth it. She made her own research required by project 7 “research your topic” and reached her objective. By the end of her speech she came up with pleasant surprise – diet cakes for all. Yummy! Please, consider making this good tradition in your further performances. =)
 
Speaker number 4 was Damira Kulakhmetova with amazing role-play from Mario Puzo’s “Godfather”. If you were not there you missed a lot! Damira is such a talented actress! She presented several scenes where different people came to the Godfather to ask for a favor. Damira made the exact voice of Don Korleone in the movie and even brought a teddy bear to substitute a cat she caressed. On the other hand, she cried, kissed the godfather’s hand and asked for justice roleplaying guests. I just can’t stop writing about my impressions. Thank you very much, Damira! Guys, consider taking this cool manual “Interpretive reading”!
 
And the last but not the least was our icebreaker Rakhilya Ibildayeva, whose desire to ask questions brought her to ATC. Rakhilya’s main intention is to serve people. I think ATC is just the right place for serving community. We enjoyed Rakhilya’s speech so much that voted for her as the best prepared speaker and new member of the club. Welcome to the family, Rakhilya! 
 
After prepared speech session we proceeded with table topics session led by creative Aigerim Kosheken. She had a VIP question where the volunteer had to show some statements written only using her body. Diana Kim successfully completed this task winning the best table topics speaker award and was also voted to be ATC member. Welcome, Diana!
 
During the evaluation session our wonderful team consisting of Elmira Balatabayeva (GE), Saule Temirbayeva (timer), Yuriy Kim (ah-counter), Diana Kim (grammarian), Raushan Satibaldiyeva, Korlan Bektassova, Aigerim Akiltayeva and Anara Badyrlenova (all speech evaluators) provided constructive feedback to all speakers. Our new VP Education Anara Badyrlenova won the best speech evaluator award.
 
My main takeaways from this meeting were:
  • face problems as challenges
  • deliver speeches and learn public speaking by doing, not just watching and listening
  • if you like something find reasons to do it
  • keep discovering new talents like acting within yourself
  • keep asking questions, they can take you out of your comfort zones to the places where magic happens

Thank you for reading this long follow up note till the end =) See you this Thursday!

 
Toastmaster of ATC meeting, Jan 21
Aliya Sariyeva, DTM
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Behind the Curtain: White Party / New Year Party with Sogdiana and Yuriy

Assiya: It was a White party dedicated to the New Year-2017! Our leading hosts Sogdiana and Yuriy, could you share your impression or funny stories related to the party?

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Sogdiana: The idea to make this party “white” was of Korlan’s, our president, who thought that it would look terrific! And it was! Just imagine people wearing white dresses and shirts! It was like in a fairy tale with a Happy End. Yura and I wanted to write a funny and romantic scenario to make the evening that set the mood for our members and guests for the future holidays.

Yuriy: Sogdiana and I doubted that it would be quiet fun, some contests could make our guess bored. I can’t judge but it seems we have a good time.

Sogdiana: Of course, the fun would be impossible without people who made it happen!

We had a great team, who sacrificed their own time for the party! Yerlan was the one who was responsible for our budget. And we earned 250.000 KZT from 34 people. Sometimes, we are trying to save money for others meetings or gifts, but White party required full commitment from us. Money was spent for beautiful decoration, gifts, food and a “yummy” cake with lettering “White party”! It was a painstaking work of everyone. Sometimes, I didn’t have time to control everything, but on my request – everyone helped, when it was necessary. I was so proud of the power that we had, of emotions and feelings that we could put to the Day!

Yuriy: I didn’t know how it would be going because we had an empty room without tables, decorations: nothing was ready at 4 p.m. When Sogdiana and I entered the room we didn’t feel exuberance and realized “We have much stuff to do”.

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Sogdiana: Assiya, Anara, Raushan, Yura and I, came very early, to make sure, that the place would be prepared on time, tables were in a right place and lights could be turned off, when we needed for scenes. It was a bit unfair, but a lot of boy’s work, girls did by themselves. We didn’t ask for help, but we thought they might know, that we needed them. Anyway, we could solve it. And we had Yura, who helped with heavy stuff.

Yuriy: Actually, our glorious girls created a holiday table and decorated the room by 6.30 p.m. Everything was ready except the music. It was quite clear – the equipment was in bad condition, the sound was awful with lots of buzzing overtones, microphones were out of repair and Saulet was forced to spend a lot of time to repair but any attempt ended in the flop. Again a miracle….the equipment suddenly started to give us the music without buzzing, both microphones made us possible not to damage our vocal cords.

Sogdiana: It was really going to disrupt our party but everything worked out. I am thankful to all officers, newcomers and delivery agents. Everything was on time and with festive moods. Aisha brought fabulous posters of White party and logo of Astana Toastmasters Club. Yerlan and his wife Aigerim brought and served food on tables. Saulet tuned equipment and sound. Damira and Yerzhan were our Ded Moroz and Snegurochka with funny competitions and poems. Aidana and Zhanara took pictures. Girls made a dance of snowflakes. Aigerim Kosheken sang a song. Everyone was involved in process that is why it was a team-success!

Yuriy: Thank you very much who organized it! Sogdiana encouraged me to take part, wrote the scenario and I got real delight to meet and write it with her. The ATC white party was our miracle.

Sogdiana: Happy New Year!!!

Yuriy: Happy New Year!!!

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Toastmasters’ Speech Contest Follow-up Note from Korlan Bektassova

26th of November 2016 became an important milestone in the history of Astana Toastmasters Club and the whole Toastmasters’ community in Kazakhstan.

That Saturday afternoon 6 speakers representing 6 different Toastmasters Clubs, officially chartered in Kazakhstan, gathered together in a cozy hall of Hilton Garden Inn Hotel, to compete in the art of public speaking.

Though the idea of having such a contest was in my mind for a long time and it was one of my promises during the presidential campaign, the actual preparation for the event started in the last decade of August. It was the first time when I addressed all the Toastmasters Clubs I know in Kazakhstan: NCOC Toastmasters, Atyrau Open Toastmasters clubs in Atyrau, NU Toastmasters and Samruk Kazyna Toastmasters clubs in Astana and Almaty Toastmasters Club in Almaty. All the clubs immediately supported the idea, and showed willingness to participate. I expected nothing less from a community of true leaders. First step was done.

From that very moment, a busy season began. We had many tasks to fulfill: finding the venue with a good location, finding judges, recruiting volunteers to help with organizational matters, promoting the Contest to attract visitors, preparing certificates, and gifts for winners and participants and many other little details that seemed to be unimportant but actually meant a lot.

The most challenging part was finding a perfect venue. Location was important.   

There are many venues in Astana with necessary equipment and capacity, and Hilton Garden Inn was indeed a perfect location for the Speech Contest. However there was one main restraint: being a non-profit organization, we do not have financial resources to be able to “buy” any venue we want. Thus, we needed a venue for free. That doubled the challenge and this challenge was accepted by the Sergeant-at-arms Kanat Bazaraly. He successfully tackled the problem by applying his leadership skills and persuading Mr. Michael Adams, the director of PwC Kazakhstan, that there were benefits in sponsoring the Speech Contest. Perhaps one would say that it was an easy task, since Mr. Adams was supportive with the ideas and values of ATC, and once again, I’d like to thank him and PwC Kazakhstan management for believing in good causes of such an event and agreeing to sponsor it.

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The next thing to do was to recruit judges.

The task was complicated by three factors: 1) we needed someone who is familiar with public speaking principles, 2) we needed someone who speaks and understands English at the highest possible level and 3) we needed unbiased parties, unrelated to any of the competing clubs.

The problem was solved when Aliya Sariyeva, the only Distinguished Toastmaster in Kazakhstan and Central Asia, called me and said that she wanted to lead the event and be the toastmaster of the Speech Contest. I could not have imagined a better candidate for this task.

She was also the one who recommended Miss Mary Francis and Miss Jane Knight from Haileybury School in Astana as judges. The third judge was Trevor Hogan from PwC Kazakhstan. I’d like to thank these lovely people for agreeing to take such a responsibility and sparing their time and efforts.

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The other thing which was still on the table was Gifts for the participants.

At first we thought we’d have a participation fee for the contestants, however later on we waivered this prerequisite as it is not a common practice in Toastmasters. However we still needed funding. That is when a little fundraising campaign started within the club. With the help of members of ATC, we managed to raise enough money to buy books for gifts for each contestant. I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the fundraising, and my special thanks is to Banu Ibragim, a member of ATC, who recently moved to another city and could not be present at the Contest, she was the one who contributed the largest amount. That’s what we call true devotion to the club.  

Speech Contest was a great opportunity to raise awareness about Toastmasters. A press release about the event was sent to media and published on social network. Thanks to the efforts of PR team from ATC and PwC, we were able to attract an audience of nearly 100 people and even had some TV journalists.  

Conducting a Contest of such a scale by gathering Toastmasters together was the key goal I announced during my presidential campaign and now I can say that the mission is successfully accomplished. Thanks to teamwork and dedication, the event turned out to be a tremendous one.

For me it was never about winning but I’m happy that Aigerim Kosheken who stepped up to represent Astana Toastmasters Club reached the hearts of the audience and the jury by winning the 2nd place and Audience choice award. Thank you, Aigerim!

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Look at these courageous women and men who stepped up to represent their clubs, without them it would not have happened.

The results of the Speech Contest turned out to be as follows:

1st place Sayagul Berdenova from NCOC Toastmasters Club

2nd place Aigerim Kosheken from Astana Toastmasters Club

3rd place Yernur Satybaldiyev from Almaty Toastmasters Club

Audience choice award was split between Aigerim Kosheken and Yernur Satybaldiyev, who got equal number of votes.

Videos  of their speeches are here.

Photos are here

In the end I’d like to thank officers’ team for supporting the idea and making the it happen, each member (ex, current or future) who contributed their time and money, great photographers Matthew Charnetski and Makhmud Baikhodzhayev, Saule Temirbayeva, who prepared the ballot box and voting sheets and Aikorkem Nurzhanova who promoted the event by all means possible.   

More great events to come!

Sincerely yours,

Korlan Bektassova

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Country Day Followup by Aidana Koptileuova

Dear Toastmasters!

It is pleasure for me to write Follow-up for our past Country Day meeting at ENU dedicated to beautiful, enchanting country – India. I am glad to narrate about this wonderful event, which was provided by Aigerim Kosheken – toastmaster of the meeting.

The president of Astana toastmasters club Korlan Bektassova, who was dressed in a sari (present from our сharming Kanat Bazaraly), gently opened the meeting.

Then toastmaster of the meeting presented her role and team (she was in sari as well), which consisted from General evaluator – Yerlan Meirbek, ah-counter Gulimkhan Abdikhalik, timer – Daniyal Nugerbekov and grammarian- Saule Temirbayeva.

Prepared Speakers session was opened by his Excellency Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan H.E. Shri Harsh Kumar as our guest Speaker. He told us a lot of facts about his country and relationship with Kazakhstan. After his Excellency’s report as usual participants asked some questions.

The second speaker was Saltanat Tangbaeva with her Competent communication project #3 “Never say Never in This Country”. Third speaker was me, I performed my CC project #6 “Hardness of honesty”. I tried to explain why we shouldn’t lie to our children. Fourth speaker Serob Manukyan brilliantly detailed about interventional cardiology and he urged us not to muss up this expression with intersexual cardiology, which is not existed. I am sure, everyone got it very well. Dernier speaker was Dauren Aubakirov, who performed his ice-breaking speech.

Next part of the meeting was devoted to Table Topic Session, organized by Raushan Satibaldiyeva. We enjoyed ten questions and got candies for correct answer. Btw, she was our third girl in sari.

Succeeding section was Evaluation session. Yerlan Meirbek, Aigerim Akiltaeva, Kanat Bazaraly, Sogdiana Akhmetova gave their feedbacks to the speakers in course. Also General evaluator and his command made detailed report of their duty.

At the end of her role toastmaster provided Award Session. Lucky of the meeting were:

Best speaker – Serob Manukyan,

Best Evaluator – Yerlan Meirbek and Aigerim Akiltaeva.

Our guest speaker his Excellency enjoyed our meeting till the end and it was the right decision, because our three ladies in sari did not just wear it, they performed Indian dance in flash mob with all of us.

As details want to add: Korlan Bektassova announced that Aigerim Kosheken will be representative of ATC at Toastmasters Speech Contest 2016.

The latest news was, that Astana toastmasters club finally have found VP PR in my person. Everyone except Yernar Zhylkaidarov voted in favor of me. 😉

Afterwards I would like to thank Yerlan Meirbek and Kanat Bazaraly, for believing in me and inspiring to become VP PR. And a lot of thanks to Korlan Bektassova, who was happy to accept me as a new officer. I sincerely love ATC and promise to do my best in future.

Always yours,

Aidana Koptileuova.

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Meeting Followup 5 NOV 2016 by Assiya Babayeva

Dear Toastmasters,

Let me briefly remind you what a wonderful meeting we had last Saturday.
First of all I’d like to emphasize the fact that the majorityof roles were distributed beforehand. Great job! The rest was excellently appointed by our General evaluator, Korlan Bektassova.
There were 4 speakers doing various topics from Competent Communicator manual, the first and basic one in Toastmasters educational program. Yerzhan Omirkhanov opened our meeting with his speech entitled Top US Schools. He shared with us some essential features and personal charecteristics which Ivy Leagues schools strive to discover in their candidates within the 7th project, Research your topic.
Then Daniyal Nugerbekov pressented the 4th project which was aimed to communicate the message accurately ad vividly. Daniyal talked what was behind Donald Trump’s campaign and his figure. Lots of curious, intriguing thoughts and ideas.
The third speaker brought a difference into a male company – Aidana Shaniyeva gave her scientific point of view regarding talent, simultaneously the meeting topic. Aidana completed the 2nd project, Organize your speech.
The fourth performer was traditionally an ice-breaker. We were lucky to hear Mathew Charnetski and the reasons he chose Kazakhtsan as his next adventure destination. Personally Mathew persuaded me that the cold particluarly in Astana is not bad….It is fun and joy!
As far as the meeting topic was ‘What’s your talent?’ the table topic master, Gulimkhan Abdikhalik, prepared terrific questions. I especially liked the last one, challenging and creative. It required to show up your talent, which Raushan Satibaldiyeva brilliantly did. Ton francais est magnifique, Raushan!
The evaluation session went on very successfully as each speaker got valuable feedback. Thanks to Aigerim Kosheken, Aikorkem Nurzhanova, Anuar Zhumabayev and Aidana Koptileuova. Evaluation is a gift, and good one is priceless.
The best of the last Saturday meeting became:
BEST prepared speaker – Mathew Charnetski
BEST evaluator – Anuar Zhumabayev
BEST table topic speaker – Chandan Sarma.
Kind regards,
Assiya Babayeva
Toastmaster of the meeting, NOV 5th
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Halloween 2016 Follow up note from Aibek

Dear Toastmasters and guests!
On October 30th Astana toastmasters club held its annual Halloween party.
Before beginning all the fun the participants introduced their characters using vocal variety and body language. We had Caesar and Cleopatra, The Broken Doll, Office Plankton, Zombie, Comics Girl, The Buffon, Desperate Housewife and a Vampire.
Then we had a small warm-p session and held a trivia “We know you, Halloween” where participants answered tricky questions about the origin and history of Halloween. Later the rival teams tried to cut a Jack o’Lantern Jack in pumpkin-carving activity.
We even watched some abstracts from horror movies and tried to guess which movie it was, The Office Plankton (aka Damir) and Vampire (aka Akbota) were the only ones who watched horror movies because they won in “Guess the name of horror movie” activity.
There was also some acting involved when the participants have demonstrated their artistic talent and skills in the activity where they had to play a scene from the horror movie. The participants did their best, especially the Comics Girl (aka Aikorkem) who played in scene from the Alien.
“The best thematic costume” (since it’s Halloween) was won by Akbota (vampire) and Raushan (the broken doll).
The Halloween party was decorated with cobweb pizza, pepper skulls with spaghetti brains, egg spiders and sausage mummies.
At the end of the event we played games like “The voice in the dark” and “Zombie”.     
I hope you had a wonderful time and those who did not have a chance to be with us see the  Photos on Facebook.
Leader of the project
Aibek Bekenov

Дорогие члены и гости клуба!
30 октября АТС провел мероприятие, посвященное Хэллоуину, празднику святых.
Прежде чем начать веселье, все участники представили своих героев с помощью голоса и мимики. К нам в гости заглянули сам Юлий Цезарь с Клеопатрой, Сломанная кукла, Шут, Зомби, Офисный Планктон, Отчаянная домохозяйка, Девушка из комиксов и Вампир.
Сначала для разогрева была проведена викторина «Хэллоуин, мы тебя знаем», затем участники состязались в вырезании фонаря Джека из тыквы.
Затем мы смотрели отрывки из фильмов ужасов с викториной «Угадай название фильма ужасов». Офисный Планктон (в миру Дамир) и Вамир (в миру Акбота) угадали по одному фильму.
В конкурсе «Изобрази отрывок из фильма ужасов» участники продемонстрировали свои актерские таланты, особенно Девушка из Комиксов (в миру Айкоркем) изобразившая сцену из фильма Чужой.
В конкурсе «Лучший тематический костюм» призовые места заняли Акбота (костюм вампира) и Раушан (костюм «сломанная кукла»).
Праздник украсили пиццы из паутины, череп с мозгами из спагетти в перце, пауки из оливок с яйцами и мумии из сосисок в тесте.
Мероприятие завершилось играми  «Голос в темноте» и «Зомби».
Спасибо, что были с нами. Надеюсь вам понравилось.
Лидер проекта,
Айбек Бекенов

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A Word from President: November

Dear Toastmasters!
Growth and Comfort never coexist.
I have just read this quote and it made me think how true these words were. We are often hesitant to step out of our comfort zones, dreading a failure. However, it is the only way for us to change, develop and grow. In toastmasters’ doing that first step towards change is delivering an icebreaker speech. Some may say that speaking in front of the audience is not big a deal, for some however, public speaking is the greatest fear of all.
The good news is that Toastmasters is not only about public speaking, it is also about taking responsibility and doing things that require a great deal of leadership and creativity. That is where you may find the room for improvement. I am sure each of us can use extra opportunity to sharpen the skills we already have or acquire new ones. The question is: are we always ready to grab that opportunity?
As the president of ATC I have faced many challenges and one of which is that people are hesitant. Having a great potential and willingness, they hesitate: hesitate to step out of their comfort zones, because they are afraid they are not ready. They hesitate to take meeting roles, thinking that they are not experienced enough; hesitate to give speeches, because they think they are boring, hesitate to lead a project, because they just do not know where to begin; hesitate to fill in the vacancy of VP PR in the officers’ team, because they are afraid it’s just too much responsibility.
The truth is that we all do. Did I hesitate when I applied to president’s position? Yes. Nevertheless, I overcame it and now I am getting so much more than I have ever imagined.
My advice to all of the Toastmasters who are struggling with hesitation is: Do not let fear steal what you can get from that experience.
November is going to be a historic month in the Toastmasters’ history in Kazakhstan. Because this is the month when we are going to have a Speech Contest among all six Toastmasters clubs in Kazakhstan, an event that never happened before. And you need to decide whether you want to be a part of this event or just stay aside hesitant.

Sincerely,
Korlan Bektassova

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A Word From President: October

Dear Toastmasters!

As the air gets colder and days shorter, the more you want to stay tucked under a warm blanket and cozy in your bed. Luckily, members of ATC are not like everybody else. Toastmasters are not afraid to step out of their comfort zones and challenge themselves.

Every day I hear success stories about former members of Astana Toastmasters Club. However, to call them “former members” would not be accurate since there are no Ex-toastmasters.I believe there is always a special connection between people who relate themselves to toastmasters, whenever and wherever you meet them.

I am glad to see many new faces at ATC meetings – people who want to become a part of a great community and want to learn and grow.

In October we are having a special Homecoming meeting for the members of ATC from different times. They will perform their ice-breaking speeches for the first time in a long time – it is the same atmosphere but different people. It is a definitely must-see-event!

I’d like to welcome our new members of September: Akbota Sabetova, Chandan Sarma, and Zhibek Ussembayeva. I am confident that you would be a great asset to Astana Toastmasters Club.

Special thanks to Bairam Orazov for organizing a Culinary Contest with Wine Tasting. It was an incredible event, where we all learned that cooking can be fun and easy.

There are many more events and activities are ahead. Stay tuned and see you at the meetings.

Sincerely,

Korlan Bektassova

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Meeting Follow-up 17 Sep 2016 by Zhanna Kussainova

17th of September, we held a regular meeting dedicated to “Festivals around the world.” The meeting started two minutes late by VP Education Assiya Babayeva and smoothly continued by me, toastmaster of the meeting, Zhanna Kussainova.

A general evaluator, Elmira Baltabayeva, introduced her team: ah counter -Gulim Aimagambetova ( not a member), timer – Aidana Kopteleuova ( she stepped in to be a timer instead of Gabit Matayev) , grammarian- Aigerim Kosheken. Aigerim Kosheken introduced a new word Rib-tickling which means very funny and amusing.

The first session, Prepared speakers one, consisted from six speakers according to the agenda. However, life is not that predictable and as usual it added some colors. One speaker didn’t show up, others were extremely late except one-two.

So the third speaker, Myrzakhan Omarbayev, jumped to be the first one. He made his ninth project, Persuade with power from Competent Communicator. His title of the speech was “New generation of labor classes”. It was science oriented and he provided a really good analogy on how poor the government invests on technology whereas supporting football teams. He tried to persuade and popularize new work zones, fab lab, where everyone has an opportunity to create new products.

The second speaker, surprisingly, was an ice breaker- Yuriy Prokopenko. He made his first speech with the title “ Moscow never sleeps”. He talked about his active student life: theatre ,debate clubs. We could feel how much he enjoyed his student life and how it shaped him as an individual. If you have a notion that Moscow is a cold and cruel city, Yuriy’s speech would definitely clear this illusion with the words: “Don’t be afraid of Moscow”.

The third speaker was Nuni Asker, she made her Competent Comminicator, project #5,   Your body speaks, “Brand name vs. Generic drugs” talked about generic and  brand  drugs and has persuaded all of us that there is no formula difference between them except price. She was confident and used interesting slides to support her ideas. Here we learnt not to be afraid to buy cheap medicines.
The fourth speaker, Aigerim Sanayeva, made her 8th project, Visual aids  from Competent Communicator manual. She shared how she and her team created non profit “ Naiza Toastmasters” club and hardships she faced along. We learnt how it is important to be stoical and optimistic on achieving our goals.
The last speaker was an icebreaker, Akbota Sabetova. She was sincere and confident and she shared how much she loves travelling and learning new things. She also told us how vital to be surrounded by kind and good people on our pathway.

The table topic session “ Festivals around the worls”  was held by Myrzakhan Omarbayev, He prepared six questions and everyone was active and involved.

The evaluation session was held by a general evaluator, Elmira Baltabayeva. The evaluators gave their short and relevant to the project feedbacks and comments.

The best speaker and tabletopic master became beautiful and charismatic Akbota Sabetova. The best evaluator was announced experienced and concise President Korlan Bektasova.

In open microphone session Korlan B. and Aidana K. reminded everyone that members need to renew their membership by paying a fee of 12 000 KZT.

As a toastmaster, I would like to say, please dear toastmasters, be mindful and responsible. I beg you to improve time management skills and value other’s time, especially yours.

Sincerely your toastmaster,
Zhanna Kussainova

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Xplorers club in Milan, Italy

One of the activities every toastmaster should certainly engage yourself with when traveling abroad is to visit other toastmasters clubs to share experience and meet like minded people.
During my short stay in Milan,Italy I was lucky to have a chance to visit a meeting of the bilingual Xplorers toastmasters Club. It was their first meeting after a month of vacation in August. (Everybody in Italy is on vacation in August).
VP membership coordinates the visitors to the club since the space is limited. There were about 30 people present and at least 10 of them were visitors like me.
Since the club is bilingual only one speech out of four prepared speeches was in English. Everything else was in Italian. As one of the members sitting next to me said and I quote : “we are too lazy to
speak English” 😉
However, I still managed to grasp the main idea of the speeches delivered and now I’m 100 percent sure that our body language and vocal variety are strong tools in delivering any message.
The general evaluator of the meeting who is also the president Catherine Balavoine performed her role in English as a courtesy to me.
The agenda is very informative: I liked that it had project objectives and indication of min-max time limit.

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So here are the highlights of the meeting, some details which members of Astana Toastmasters Club may find interesting to know and perhaps later to implement in the club:
1) Everyone, even the visitors had a badge with his/her name which is really helpful when meeting new people. VP membership prepares and prints our all badges beforehand. Since I was not sure if I would be
able to make the visit: my badge was filled at the spot.

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2) Timer is equipped with a special device with green, yellow and red lights, as well as a bell which he rang from time to time to remind that, for example, it is time to move to the next point of the agenda.
The timer also rings the bell when a Speaker exceeds the maximum time limit for more than 10 seconds (I believe). There was also a honk which was not used. I guess it is used when someone severely violates
the time limit 😁

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3) All visitors receive the agenda and evaluation guides for all of the speeches. So everyone gives feedback following the guidelines on evaluation sheets. Three minutes are spared for that after each speaker. All feedback is collected by sergeant of arms and given to the speaker at the end of the meeting. Personally I found it too complicated to write a feedback for the speaker according to the evaluation guide, since there is an assigned speech evaluator and not everyone in the audience might be experienced enough to give such evaluations, especially it might be too much for the newcomers.

4) Voting is at the end of the meeting. And the votes are counted by the vote counter.
5) There were two grammarians: English and Italian. Each of them give their feedback at the end of the meeting. I especially liked how English grammarian explained the new word.

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6) There were two people in the agenda assigned as leadership evaluators. I didn’t have a chance to learn what their responsibilities were, but I guess they were responsible for filling out competent leadership manuals.
In general, I loved the meeting. The atmosphere was super relaxing and supportive. Everybody was so friendly and invited me to join for dinner after the meeting.
I wish I could stay to talk to people and share our practices but I couldn’t.
Though I don’t speak or comprehend Italian, two hours spent with Xplorers toastmasters made me once again understand that Toastmasters unite people around the world.

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