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Brickell Toastmasters in Miami

During our trip to Miami, Fl we were so lucky to visit a regular meeting of Brickell Toastmasters Club.

And here is why.

It was our first visit of a Toastmasters club abroad. We were looking forward to see how meetings are conducted in the USA, the homeland of all toastmasters clubs.
So on the 8th of July we came to the Bank of America building in downtown Miami. The venue is a Merrill Lynch conference room with a stunning view of the ocean.

The Brickell toastmasters club has 54 official members, attendance was about 20-25 members which is very good considering the time (12.15 on Friday)

We came a bit earlier so the room was empty. But colorful agendas were already printed.
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What was unusual about Brickell Toastmasters and impressed us the most:
1) Time-management. According to the agenda, duration of the meeting was roughly one hour. We were a bit skeptical initially because we know from experience it’s very hard to organize meetings during lunch time. However, to our surprise the meeting had started at 12.15 sharp as planned. At exactly 12.14 everybody became silent and watched the hand of the clock on the wall to reach the beginning time!
Throughout the meeting every participant demonstrated excellent time-management skills – almost no one was over the limit.
Two interesting details: Instead of cards, Brickell Toastmasters has a special device for a timer. It looks more like a toy traffic light.
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However, it’s amazingly convenient to use. The timer’s role was masterfully performed by Korlan Bektassova who was recruitted by the toastmaster of the meeting on the spot..
Another interesting thing is a 30-seconds-rule – amazingly cool technique! Once speakers reach a maximum time limit, a timer counts until 30 and then begins to clap and everybody joins. Yes, it’s that easy and genius! No long boring speeches, no brandishing a red card! Though only one speaker during the table topic session was granted an applause from Korlan – everyone being so cool staying within the time limits! Also the club saves time on writing feedback. At ATC the toastmaster of the meeting usually gives one minute to write feedback note to the speakers. At Brickell all members write feedback during the next speech.
Here is a timer’s report form:
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2) New roles. Not only Brickell Toastmasters has a joke master – a separate role which is combined with the role of a grammarian in our club – but also they have two quite unusual roles:
 Vote counter. Actually, I took this role without even thinking – just wanted to try something new. But anyway how hard could be counting votes for the best prepared speaker, best table topic speaker and best speech evaluator?! In reality, I was overwhelmed by the flow of votes!Brickell Toastmasters uses the standard ballot for voting and brief evaluations. The Vote counter collects all feedbacks and votes, counts votes for the best prepared speaker, second best and most improved,  and also sorts feedback notes for the prepared speakers and distributes them at the end of the meeting.
– CL evaluator – Brickell Toastmasters assigns a special member to fill CL manuals of all the role takers. This is quite unusual, however, I suspect this practise leads to a very high rate of competent leaders in the club :-)
3) Little details:
– Ah-counter has a special clicker which he uses upon hearing filler words and sounds. I was SO annoyed at first – what the guy is doing?! He is DISTRACTING the speakers! But then it became obvious that the clicker has a powerful effect: after several clicks the speakers started to control his/her speeches and consiously decreased the number of filler words.
– Sergeant-at-arms opens and closes the meeting.
– The meeting begins with everybody saying a short oath.
– We’ve met an area director. It was the first Toastmasters high official I’ve ever met in my life. ))) It’s cool that area directors visit toastmasters club which they supervise.
We are very grateful to all toastmasters of Brickell club in Miami for their hospitality. As a token gift from ATC, we presented a bar of Kazakhstan chocolate to the best prepared speaker. He was so happy! :-)
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Everyone was kind and genuinely interested in Astana Toastmasters Club. They all asked questions about us, about Astana and Kazakhstan (- Do you all speak fluent English? – Of course! :)) And the area director even promised to visit us one day.
Overall we were extremely impressed by the Brickell Toastmasters CLub. How effectively it is organized, how time wise and productive.Korlan as a president promised to implement some tools in our club. Looking forward seeing best practice in our beloved Astana Toasmasters Club!
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A word from President: August

Dear Toastmasters!

It is the last month of a rainy summer in Astana, and if you need a life hack on how to survive a gloomy weather, here is one: Surround yourself with sunny people, such people can be found in Astana Toastmasters Club. I cannot stop being amazed with how kind, friendly, creative and supportive the people of ATC are. Every time you need support or advice there they are.

Last month we hosted a country day, went to a super-duper trip to Burabay and had 7 meetings overall with more than 20 speeches. Can you imagine? We heard 20+ different stories and learnt something new or maybe remembered something we knew but forgot long time ago.

In August we plan to continue to stay awesome and have a super guest speaker (fingers crossed), have an outside meeting-picnic (fingers crossed) and have our annual VI ATC Summer Olympic Games (everything will be as real as in Rio).

You need to be a part of all of this, don’t miss out all the fun.

Lessons I personally learnt in the past month is that your team is important and when you can rely on people everything is achievable. I’d like to once again thank my wonderful team for an amazing job they’re doing.

P.S. “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”
― Phil Jackson president of NY Knicks (NBA)

Sincerely,
Korlan Bektassova

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Follow-up on the Burabay trip by Korlan Bektassova

It became a good tradition that members and friends of Astana Toastmasters Club gather together in the mid-summer in Burabay to celebrate the beginning of the new term.

Last weekend July 16-17 Astana Toastmasters Club held its annual Burabay Trip. The first event in the 2016-2017 Officers’ Term were organized by the officers Assiya Babayeva, Anuar Unaibekov, Yerzhan Omirkhanov, Yerlan Meirbek, Damira Kulakhmetova, Kanat Bazaraly and me, Korlan Bektassova.

There were 29 people, mostly members, but there were a few guests who have never been to an ATC meeting before. I hope they will decide to join the club shortly.

Most of the people took the train and gathered at the railway station at 7 am. Three-hour-trip ended very quickly while people were chatting, playing boarding games and even sleeping.

The weather played with us that day; heavy rain was pouring from the early morning but soon after the lunch the rain surprisingly stopped giving us the opportunity to go hiking to Bolektau mountain, from the top of which there is an amazing view to Burabay. After hiking the Sun came out and people rushed to the beach to sunbathe.

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We stayed according to the Agenda and had an irregular meeting dedicated to National Treasures and I’d like to thank the Toastmaster of the meeting – sunny Zhanna Kussainova – for conducting the meeting in an easy and cheerful manner. We had three speakers:  Assiya Babayeva telling us a touching story “The Last Leaf”by O’Henry, Damira Kulakhmetova reading The Egg by Andy Weir , and past immediate president Anuar Zhumabayev who decided to redo his Competent Communicator award with his ice breaker. The best speaker award went to Anuar Zh.

The table topic session was prepared by Aidana Koptleuova who not only prepared thought-provoking and creative questions but also gave some facts about national treasures of Kazakhstan. She gave valuable gifts for best Table topic speakers and we had three of them Anuar, Yernar and Rakhilya. My personal favorite question was “Describe your day if you were a Golden man” and “How to win your lady’s heart with a dombyra”.

The best speech evaluator was Olessya Akimenko who gave a very constructive feedback to Damira’s speech.

While we were having a cozy meeting around the fire Aibek Bekenov- the chef together with his team was cooking shashlyks. After the meeting we had lots of meatand veggies followed by a lively outdoor disco.

Overall we did everything we had on the agenda: eating, dancing, performing speeches, playing games till 5 am, singing, hiking, cooking, swimming, sunbathing, playing ball, and etc.

I’d like to thank my amazing team for a wonderful job they have done and everyone for volunteering for preparing meals and cleanup.

Photos form the trip are posted on Facebook page.

P.s. The Budget is attached

The Budget of the Event 240 th. KZT(13 th. ATC budget 227 th. from participants)
Accommodation -70 th
Transportation -66 th
Food -83 Th
Balance 21 Thousand

 

The remaining balance will be rendered to ATC budget and spent for upcoming events.

Yours,

President of Astana Toastmasters Club

Korlan Bektassova

 

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Meeting follow-up on July 7th from Marzhan Amanzholova

Dear fellow Toastmasters,

It is my short reflection on the meeting we conducted at Nazarbayev University on July 7th. Well, to my fortune, we started almost in time and held the meeting according to the agenda. Separate thankgoes to the role takers who made their duties very accurate!

As for prepared speeches session, there were three different speakers:

Aidana Koptileuova, delivered project # 3 from CC manual, with a speech title “My life lies in ruins”. Aidana had her own style of presenting the speech, with a distinctive voice pitch and various examples from field work.

Anuar Zhumabayev, speaker # 2 with a project title “Keeping the commitment” from Successful club series tried to encourage us to fulfil meeting assignments, increase our preparation before delivering the speeches and be a proactive member of the club by regularly attend the meetings.

Yerkenaz Zholymbayeva, told us two stories about popular water/rice experiment and new project dedicated to orphans growth “Nastavniki” in herspeech “The importance of care”, SP # 3.

Those two stories were completely different, but led to one important point, that we all are responsible for the things beside us, and so if we would like to see the growth of that things we should take care of them.

BPS: Aidana Koptileuova

Table topic session:

The table topic session devoted to “Favourite cities” led by Anuar Zhumabayev was highly motivational. In the very beginning, TTM promised to give delicious cookies (made by Tana) to speakers who will follow 2 simple rules: to speak from 1 to 2 minutes and use the word of the day. Mentioned rules gave results and almost all the TT-speakers were awarded by cookies.

Many answers were provided, however the best one came from a person with hands made of gold.

BTTS: Tana Seisembayeva

Word of the day “Concrete jungle”.

Evaluation session:

During the evaluation session which was coordinated by Tana Seisembayeva with a team of 3 speech evaluators – Anuar Zhumabayev, Assiya Babayeva and Kanat Bazaraly who provided evaluations to Aidana, Anuar and Yerkenaz. From the tips given from our proficient evaluators, I have memorised next ones: to re-hearse more, to repeat the speech for the bigger audience and work on the structure.

BSE: Assiya Babayeva

Meeting evaluation ended up by reports provided by ah-counter- Akbota, grammarian – Yerzhan , timer- Assel and general evaluation of GE, Tana Seisembayeva. The only suggestion from Tana was to prepare carefully for the chosen role.

In the very end we welcomed meeting new comers, giving them some questions regarding our club and receiving some interesting answers.

Toastmaster,

Marzhan Amanzholova

 

 

 

 

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Follow-up from Damira Kulakhmetova

Dear Toastmasters,

Below is a recap of the meeting on 9th of July.

On Saturday, we had a regular meeting with a theme “Top holiday destinations in the world” . We started a few minutes late due to the late arrival of some role takers. Two of the speakers, Anara Serikbayeva and ice-breaker Abylakhain Ganiyev canceled their speeches. Other than that everything went pretty smoothly.

At the meeting we were delighted to hear our three prominent speakers. The first speaker Olessya Akimenko did her project # 2 Speaking in praise from Special Occasions manual with the title “Speaking in memory of Millicent Fawcett”. Many of us did not know who Ms. Fawcett was, but thanks to Olessya we got to know a little about a suffragist of XX century who literally made a history and impacted the way we live now.

The next speaker, Anuar Unaibekov, introduced his HPL (high performance leadership) project called “Food Drive”. His speech was from the Persuasive speaker manual, project #5 – The persuasive leader. In the presentation, Anuar, touched our hearts by sharing a story supported by statistics on how unfortunate some people are in terms of food supply. Therefore, to solve this issue he presented his project “Food Drive”. A food drive is a form of charity to donate foodstuffs or money to people who cannot afford food. Contact Anuar if want to become a volunteer +7 707 709 9920.

The third speaker, Aigerim Akiltayeva, delivered her, believe or not, 9th project from the Competent Communicator manual! She’s been a member of ATC for not that long but already so close to getting her CC. Keep the speed, Aigerim. In her project she needed to persuade with power and she did by breaking the stereotypes of social dance. At the end Aigerim invited all of us to practice social dance in the Social Dance Academy “Bailamos Salsa” for beginners, +7 707 4694777.

Of all the prepared speakers, the award of the best speaker went to Aigerim Akiltayeva.

A table topic session was led by Olessya Akimenko. Her questions were about top places that we wanted to visit, advantages of staycation, disadvantages of being a top place to visit, etc.

The best table topic speaker was Yerzhan Omirkhanov. Yerzhan talked about his favorite city New York and how people there try to avoid crowded touristic places, like Central Park or Times Square.

The evaluation session was led by charming Aigerim Kosheken. Her team of a timer – Daniyal, an ah-counter Aidana, and a grammarian – Yerzhan, did a good job.

I’d like to thank speech evaluators of the prepared speakers, Assiya Babayeva, Asset Abuov and Zhanna Kussainova. The award of the best evaluator went to Assiya Babayeva.

At the end of the meeting, the vice president education of ATC, Assiya Babayeva thanked everyone for coming and invited us to the Burabay trip next weekend.

Thank you all,

Damira

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Follow-up note from Anuar Zhumabayev – Country Day – Spain

2nd of July was the special day for Astana Toastmasters Club in many regards. It was the first meeting for the new officers’ team. We opened the speeches session with the guest speaker – his Excellency Pedro Jose Sanz, the ambassador of Spain in Kazakhstan and it was the first meeting, when we did not have paper agenda.

The last fact was not a plan, but rather an improvisation, since toastmaster of the meeting got under 10 minutes of heavy rain on the way to the meeting, which destroyed copies of agenda in a split of second. Therefore, we decided to put agenda on the projector.

Five minutes after 12:00 pm guests started to fill the room and we started. After toastmaster’s routine in the beginning, we had a chance to listen to the ambassador, who spoke a lot about his country’s economics, culture and place in this ever-changing world. During questions & answer session, enquires about ambassador’s opinion on football, education and Kazakhstan-Spain relationships were coming from members and guests passionately. Overall, this session went quite well and got interest of members in guests in Spain.

What helped to induce this interest with additional spark was table topic session. Though some of the questions were quite tough and challenging, resulting in long pauses of awkwardness, when no one wanted to come to answer them, we had a revelation during the last two questions, when Kanat sang and Asset danced. The best table topic speaker award went to Asset Omirzhanov.

Then the “diamond part” of the meeting came around – prepared speeches session. Our ice-breaker, Assiya Kurmanova, shared her flame of love to Spain; Zhantuar Yertayev delivered science fiction story with human essence in what seemed were 1000 different words; Sogdiana Akhmetova showed us again that she is “one of a kind” girl with sharing her experience on climbing the mountains; and Yerlan Meirbek delivered bad news (his manual project) in the manner, which only he could.

The best prepared speaker was Sogdiana Akhmetova.

Evaluation session was led by Yerlan Meribek, and all speaker received useful feedback which I personally hope they will take into account for their next projects, but the “best” title went to the rising star of the club, recent competent communicator, Asset Abuov.

In its entirety, the “Country Day: Spain” meeting was a good example of one of our club’s main ideas: learn by practice, strive to excellence, but always remember – there is a room for improvement in even the most “ideal” performance anyone can deliver, and it is our job to not forget about it, when we step up on the stage, which ATC provides us.

Toastmaster of the meeting,

Anuar Zhumabayev

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A word from President: July

Dear Toastmaster!

Today is the start of a 2016-2017 officers’ term in Astana Toastmasters Club. Seven people, devoted toastmasters were elected by you to serve for the best interest of the club and its members.

As the president of Astana Toastmasters Club I’m thrilled to begin a new chapter in the life of the club and together with you I’m willing to write a great story of success.

Toastmaster’s path is pretty straightforward; take roles, give speeches, speak up and step up whenever it’s necessary. The more you do – the more you learn. And the main goal of any toastmaster club is in providing the Encouraging environment where this path is possible.

Most of you consider ATC as a family. The place you feel at home. And I want it to keep that way.

Every member should be able to strive for excellence in what he/she is doing, have respect from fellow toastmasters and be ready to serve for the club and the society. But the most important thing, that I’ve learnt from my toastmaster and officer experience, is that nothing can be achieved without a Teamwork. No wonder is that Integrity is one of the toastmasters’ values, which means not only honesty but also unity, being whole.

The first month of the term July will begin with a Country Day dedicated to Spain thanks to the efforts of the previous officers’ team and especially Secretary Indira Kiylybayeva who had been negotiating with the Spanish Embassy for several months. Later we plan to invite another important guest speaker and have once-in-a-year event in Burabay dedicated to the beginning of the new term.

There are many adventures ahead us, and as practice shows there may be some ups and downs along this way but I’m sure that together we will overcome all of them and in 12 months from now we will look back and say: That’s been a wonderful year!

ATC is definitely the place to be.

Sincerely,

KorlanBektassova

P.S. Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. Henry Ford

Anuar-Zhumabayev

A word from President: June

Dear toastmasters!

It is the end of the June of 2016, and also the end of our officers term at Astana Toastmasters Club.

First of all, I would like to thank every single member of the club, who took any role during last 12 months. As we all know, our club is built by those, who were eager to learn by practice, and do it through team work, which is developing every single meeting, when, on one day, you present a speech and recieve effective evaluation, and on another, you are helping speaker to control his/her time or organizing the possibility to present a speech. All role takers are indespensible for our community and I send you my grattitude from the deepest part of my heart.

Secondly, I want to highlight the exceptional work of such officers as Korlan Bektassova and Elmira Baltabayeva. All officers were ready to fullfill their responsibilities and showed great respect to the honor they received, when they were elected. But Korlan and Elmira have showed for 12 months that they are ready to do even more, when necessary. And I am eager to witness what Korlan is preparing for her presidential term. Indira and Damira joined our officer team later in our term, but both took the initiative and proved myself wrong, when I felt that I cannot trust people hundred per cent in fullfilling their responsibilities. Anara, Asset and Daulet taught me a ton on leadership skills and I would like to thank them a lot. Whenever I had doubt, they showed me the alternatives and helped our officer team to see processes in our club from different perspective. I am proud that I was leading such people for past 12 months and, to be honest, I don’t think I deserved such opportunity in first place.

During last year, we reached a lot of goals, what our members aimed for. We had great events and some entertaining speech contests. So many members had fascinating ideas, and so many times I was surprised by creativity and desire people showed during organizing meetings and gatherings. During 2015-2016 term thrice I had personal moments, when I thought that I am failing as a president, four times I was told by members that I should consider resigning and twice I was recieved strong approval from members to continue work our officer team is doing. It proved to me again that ATC is the great platform to learn by practice your leadership skills and understand the basics of project management.

Astana Toastmasters Club is the place to find friends, opportunities and revelations. My last kind request as a President of ATC to our members is to not forget why you decided to join the club in first place and don’t be afraid to changes, don’t be afraid to speak up, when you think something is wrong, but be respectful in discussions and communicate more, talk more, connect more with each other, because, as a former civil enginner, I can say that bridges are very hard to build and so easy to damage.

Anuar Zhumabayev

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Meeting Follow-up by Assiya Babayeva

Dear Toastmasters,

Here is the follow-up note from the passed Saturday meeting, June 18th.

The meeting was devoted to pop culture. We had a full house of advanced speakers, 3 out of 4.  The first speaker was Olessya Akimenko presenting the 4th project from Storytelling manual. Olessya told us a beautiful story titled “The train to the warm lands”. The second speaker was Aigerim Akiltayeva who showed us three ways to discover our inner natural reserves.Then we were offered to pay our attention to music and wonderful things it might cause by our super advanced speaker, Assem Panova who was delivering a speech from Professional speaker manual. Assem discussed how music with only 7 notes is able to create miracle. The last but not least was another brilliant experienced speaker, Indira Kyilybayeva. Indira presented the 4th project from Speaking to inform manual and gave us a detailed and informative speech – Air Astana: 2015 annual report for the board of directors. The best speaker within that tough competition among titaniums became Assem Panova. Congratulations!

The table topic session led by Dzhamilya Serikbayeva was full of colourful images and curious questions. The audince were asnwering them easily and with pleasure. The best table topic speaker became our Mr. President, Anuar Zhumabayev. 

I’d like to express my gratitude and impression to the evaluation team, particularly to the speakers’ evaluators, Asset Abuov, Anuar Zhumabayev, Assiya Babayeva and Olessya Akimenko for giving great feedback and recomendations. The best evaluator of the last meeting was Anuar Zhumabayev. Mr. President you rocked that day.

Overall the meeting was nice and our current President proposed one interesting thing regarding word of the day… Which one…? Join us next meeting and I’ll share it with you 😉

Best regards,

Assiya, Toastmaster

Assel-Stambekova

Success Story: My ACG story with Assel Stambekova

Why I joined ATC

I joined ATC in February 2014 because initially I wanted to make friends in Astana. I’ve already known about Toastmasters so my motivation to join the club was not linked to public speaking per se. However, as time goes, thanks to the club I’ve met a good number of smart enthusiastic and hilarious young people that shape ATC accordingly. Interesting young people and their hobbies is still the main source of my motivation to come back to the club from time to time.

What manuals I have chosen for ACG and why

Last two manuals I’ve chosen to complete during ACG were Interpreative reading manual and Professional Speaker. ACG is the last step in Communication track in Toastmasters which means that by this time you are expected to have grown as a speaker, as a professional speaker. You are able not only to conquer stage fear but also deliver great public speaking experiences both for the audience and for yourself. I knew my strengths and weaknesses as well as my personal goals in public speaking, that is why Interpretive Reading was chosen on a basis of pampering myself and Professional Speaker to test my public speaking skills.

My favourite speech from ACG manuals

My favourite speech among all ten for ACG was The Sound of Silence from Interpretive Reading manual. The first challenge was to recite a poem which demonstrates differences between poetry and prose, and recognise how poets use imagery, rhythm, cadence, and rhyme to convey the meanings and emotions of their poetry. Additionally, I had to meet time requirements of up to eight minutes. The second challenge was in the choice of the “poem” which originally was a four-minute song, and I twisted it differently to meet all project  objectives and also to have fun.

My preparation to speeches

In February 2014 I made a draft planning of delivering 2 speeches per month without skipping or missing an opportunity so that by 2016 I’d finish the Communication path. The rationale of this planning lies in experiential learning, seeing progress or if there is no progress, working on how to improve my public speaking skills and at the same time enjoying participation. In other words, my goal-setting on the whole and speech preparation process in details were connected to these values. Having understood that, it was clear for me to see my strengths and weaknesses. Thus, for example, I wrote one of my 46 speeches only once simply because speech scripts never work for me.
During my officer’s term in 2014-15 I was delivering slightly more speeches connected to my officer’s responsiblities as well on the topics of Success Leadership , Better Speakers or Success Communication.
The way I choose topics for speeches is based on many perspectives. It depends on the manual I’m doing, external reality, audience age range and their interests, etc. So I never choose topics from my self-perspective only.

What was the easiest and the hardest part in projects

There was never the easiest or the hardest part in projects I did. I believe apart from the stage fear that many speakers experience, the audience and how they will swallow and digest the speech is the ultimate challenge that speakers shall always keep in mind. Whether you’re a successful speaker or not depends on how the audience reacted to your speech content and delivery. If you made a difference at least in one person’s life, you’ve already done a lot!

What advice can I give to all members who want to complete or struggling to complete this manual

I’m not the best advisor 😉 However, I’d suggest to anybody who’s decided to do public speaking. Eventually we all want to be remembered for doing good things and delivering great speeches. Great speeches is a very vague notion. Define for yourself what you want to be remembered for and Why, and do your best to accomplish it.

 

I’d like to thank members of Toastmasters worldwide because they can make you feel home and treat you as a friend even if you do not know them very well or they’re complete strangers for you.

Enjoy your TM journey and have excellent speeches ahead!

Regards,
Assel Stambekova
ACG, ALB