Steve Itzkowitz

Steve Itzkowitz

I would summarize myself as a driven and determined individual who takes life seriously, but not too seriously, and who believes in the concept of working hard and playing hard. At the end of the day, success isn't about what you have. It's about what you give.

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Photo by Jimmy KhathDMS LACEDaniel Midson-Short Gives Keynote Address at LACE 2017

With the end of yet another year for Toastmasters very close, there was a revelation that came out of the Founder's District spring Leadership and Communication Experience that is sure to set the tone for the new year that will begin in less than 3 weeks.

Speaking is a service.

It was the underlying message of the keynote address delivered by the Founder's District International Speech Competition Champion and professional speaker/ trainer, Daniel Midson-Short, in which the focus of his speech was about emerging speakers and the lessons he has learned on the path to becoming a professional speaker. To go along with a rather profound message of proclaiming that speaking is a service by which value is added to the members of an audience, Daniel offered up some great tips and suggestions for anyone that is serious about delivering more speeches out of Toastmasters as a professional speaker.

The first set of tips is encompassed in a simple number:

100

What that number symbolizes is the number of times to do the same speech once it's developed to eventually lead anybody to becoming a full-fledged professional speaker. After all, practice does make perfect and a lot of success in public speaking to infer from Daniel's advice is repetition, repetition, repetition. Or, as Daniel put it, consistency and volume leads to speaking greatness. That said, he went even deeper in his advice for emerging speakers regardless of where an individual speaker may be in their particular development by informing the audience of the 3 keys to going from 0 to giving the same speech 100 times. Those include:

  1. Know your topic
  2. Find the audience that will be most receptive to the message of your speech
  3. Deliver those 100 speeches on the same topic.

He also mentioned that getting known for a particular topic, regardless of the subject matter, can lead to other people finding audiences for that speaker, which can really spark a career in public speaking when it comes to frequency of opportunities to deliver a speech.

As important as the aforementioned tips are, it's even more important to develop the right mindset to ensure success as an emerging professional speaker. Fortunately for the audience, Daniel had words of wisdom to offer by pointing out the mistakes often made by rookie professional speakers.

  1. Trying to be perfect.
  2. Thinking it's about the speaker through worrying about such things as physical appearance or having a high level of nerves because a bunch of eyes are looking at you. As a speaker, it's important to devote all your energy and passion towards the audience and not worry about details that only the speaker is concerned about.
  3. Not listening. What Daniel meant by that is how aware is the speaker of the mannerisms of the audience as he or she is delivering his or her speech. These mannerisms can include nodding, falling asleep, audience members turning away, audience members who are distracted, folded arms and legs and other signs that the audience can offer up to let the speaker know how much they may or may not be engaged by what the speaker is saying.

Of course, the most successful speakers are the ones that can engage the audience in a way that is humorous. That humor, according to Daniel, is brought out by simply being real and the speaker sharing real stories about himself or herself that will help the audience relate to the speaker that much better because it's amazing how much audience members and a public speaker may share in common in terms of those human moments that we all experience in this life.

At the end of the day, and in the part of Daniel's keynote address that offered up the most crucial advice he can offer to emerging professional speakers was advice centered around what matters most when it comes to giving a speech.

  1. Audience response
  2. Clear consistent message
  3. Connecting with the audience

That's because what audience members take away from any professional speaker's talk that could add value to their lives is the whole point of effective public speaking. That's why a clear consistent message is very crucial to being successful in that endeavor.

All in all, those that joined Toastmasters to not only improve their public speaking skills, but to take those skills and parlay them into professional opportunities got more than their money's worth from one of the best in the business. Now, it's time for those emerging speakers to put the information into practice and make Founder's District proud as Daniel certainly has done with his contest speaking and now his professional speaking.

Then, the service that is public speaking will always shine through and Toastmasters along with Founder's District will continue to touch the lives of others in such an empowering and enriching way.

Photo by Siri PayakapanToastmasters at LACE Jan 14, 2017Marguerite Bonnet Presents 'Structure Your Speech Like a Movie' at LACE January 14, 2017

Over 500 Toastmasters invaded Chapman University on January 14 to attend the Founder’s District Leadership & Communication Experience (LACE) seeking training for their club officer positions, new skills as well as wisdom and truth.

It was the wisdom and truth part that was well-addressed by 2005 World Champion of Public Speaking and the keynote speaker for the festivities, Lance Miller.

Lance’s keynote address proved to be inspiring, irreverent, informative, humorous and passionate. The one thing that stood out about Lance from the very beginning was how much he credits Toastmasters for the skills he has developed and uses to help individuals and companies all over the world.

Tuesday, 01 November 2016 02:05

Robots and Remarkable Results

Photo copyright by A&A Symphony, CaliforniaIMG 7993Evaluation Contest Winners. L-R Marie Hulett, Trey Stroud, Ed Smith, Mark Longanecker, Siri Payakapan

It was bound to happen.

The members that attended the 2016 Founder’s District Fall Conference at the Sheraton Hotel in Cerritos, CA were bound to feel full and satisfied once the festivities were completed.

No, it wasn’t the chicken marsala, caesar salad, vegetable lasagna, steamed vegetables, bread, tiramisu, chocolate-covered strawberries and cookies that filled attendees up, although that didn’t hurt.

Rather, it was all the wonderful benefits of Toastmasters the attendees were reminded of and all the nuggets of wisdom they received from the keynote speaker of the day, Craig Valentine, as well as the Communication and Leadership award recipient, USC roboticist, Maja Mataric.

Saturday, 03 September 2016 16:34

Founder's District Looks Back

Photo by Lawrence CrandallDistrict Award RecipientsLeft to Right: Rose Abbott, Michelle Bender, Michael Alexander, Ligia Molina, Lorrie Briscoe, Jeanne Cassidy, John Barry

In the afterglow of the 2016 Toastmasters International Convention, it was time for Founder’s District to come together for its first District Executive Committee or DEC meeting of the 2016-17 administrative year that took place at the Garden Grove Community Center and was attended by just under 100 members.

There would be the usual discussions of approving meeting minutes from prior DEC meetings as well as the annual budget. Having been part of district boards in the past, budget discussions usually are long and, at times, a little contentious.

SmedBBQ 2Peter Wang and Josephine Lee Pose with Ralph Smedley

It wasn’t just another Tuesday night in Founder’s District.

It was a great summer night to bring Toastmasters together from all over Founder’s District in order to celebrate the spirit of Ralph Smedley with the club that is the epitome of his vision, Smedley Chapter One, as part of their annual Independence Day barbecue.

And, what a celebration it was with dignitaries showing up to contribute their time and talent to the proceedings at hand.

Sunday, 26 June 2016 17:06

Founder's District Gets Audacious

Photo by Jimmy KhathInstallationDinner 20160623 101Richard Snyder, PID, presides over Installation Dinner Meeting.

It was fitting that outgoing 2015-16 Founder’s District Director, Pan Kao, set the tone for a fun and varietal Founder’s District Installation Dinner for the new district council as Founder’s District found itself back at the Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel in the 9th floor ballroom.


He instructed each audience member to fold up blue pieces of paper to ultimately make paper airplanes after instructing everyone to write down an audacious goal that pertains to their leadership position going into the 2016-17 Toastmasters International year. After the folding was done, blue paper airplanes were flying everywhere as if the Blue Angels were part of the festivities. It was as fun as much as it was a great message by Pan to dream big as part of the leadership opportunities all the incoming leaders have going into 2016-17.

Thursday, 12 May 2016 16:25

Founders Gone Cosmic

Pizza Party 1

The free pizza proved to be the 2nd best part of the experience.

Members from clubs that achieved 5 new members during the Talk It Up Toastmasters event in March and February walked in to find pizza from such establishments as Pepz and Valuetina’s among others wondering what else was in store for them.

Then, all the attendees walked into an assembly hall filled with fog machines, laser machines, strobes and 3 projection screens that is equipment usually reserved for a big concert.

However, the attendees were in for something very different.

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