Thursday, November 13, 2008

Visiting EBA Toastmasters Club in Kiev

Last Monday I was invited to Speech Marathon at EBA Toastmasters Club in Kiev. A great experience. Why great? Because I not only had a chance to physicly be there, but also to participate as a General Evaluator which was a big honor for me.

When you evaluate members of your club who you know well, who's strengths and weaknesses you know is way more different from evaluating totally new to you people. I don't know how well i did (although everyone said that i did a good job), but I did get strong butterflies in my stomack, which I rearly get at Lemberg TM club meetings now. I wish I had more opportunities to attend other clubs. We definitely need to invite them to our meeting in Lviv:)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's about Thinking, not Speaking

It's interesting how most people joining toastmaster think the ultimate benefit of Toastmasters is the ability to speak well in front of a crowd. Even most toastmasters below advanced feel the same way. I have a totally different opinion. While we do become better speakers, I believe the ultimately benefit of toastmasters is it teaches us to think better.

Years ago when one of the best toastmasters I know told me this it just confused me. "What's this man talking about!" was what ran through my mind. Then I started to observe the various speakers while considering his comment. Indeed he was right. While a toastmaster has to get past the basics of communicating in front of a crowd (speak clearly, display no nervousness, use enhancing gestures, etc.), it's those that learn to really think while on their feet that are the best and most entertaining speakers.

Being able to think clearly is what allows one to prepare the best speech. Those who think quickly are the best table topics speakers. (Don't worry, if you're not thinking quickly and clearly at table topics or viewpoint rebuttals it's only a matter of time and practice before you are!) No matter how well presented its the thoughts that truly matter. Whomever said "its not what you say but how you say it" assumed a pretty shallow audience. Sure, saying nothing well will appear to be a reasonably good speech. Saying something well AND intelligent will have a much deeper and lasting effect on the audience. This is what Toastmasters ultimately teaches us to do.

Stick to doing regular speeches, taking on roles, and jumping up for impromptu speaking opportunities. While you become a better and more comfortable speaker, you will find yourself a better thinker as well.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Our First Toastmasters Picnic

We finally moved out of the office room to a green park.

Last Saturday Lemberg Toastmasters had their meeting and a picnic outside in Kazervald Park in Lviv.

First we had the meeting with Table Topic Sessions. Sasha Yanov made us all speak on a sensetive topic--love and relationships. Olena, on the other hand, wanted us to give a piece of advice on personal letters " for help" sent by real people to Mrs. Web.

But for me the most challenging part was to lead an Auction. My goodness, it is really exhausting to be an Action Master. It is not just talking, it is about selling for a higher prise!!! I did have fun though:) And we raised 100 UHA for our budget which was the main point.

After the official part we gathered around the "table" to feast:) on backed sausages with beer and wine (boy, it was a challenge to open the wine without corkscrew). The unwelcome quests were annoying bugs and bees coming from all over.

And of course, there is no picnic without fun games. Do you think you can do a rabit or a mamonth? You should see Ira doing a wild cat. Who was there knows what i mean:)

All this fun lasted from 11 am to 5pm. And believe me --time flies when you are having fun!!
I surely hope this is not the last "Toatmasters going out event".

Share your experience....

Monday, July 21, 2008

Advantures in Kiev

If you missed our trip on July 6th to Kiev - Annual Picnic of all Ukrainian Toastmasters, then you missed some good stuff!

This has been our first trip outside of Lviv. Vera Viter (still as an Area Governor) invited us to this picnic that they have once a year for the Ukrainian TM clubs. And it was quite an advanture for us.

First of all the weather was not very friendly: it rained cats and dogs all morning. However, we decided to break the rain! After a good breakfast at the Puzata Hata place we headed for Pirogov's museum--where the picnic was planned to be.

The picnic started from the formal meeting. This was my very first time when i had to give a speech evaluation to a girl i never met before in front of 60 people. Kind of challenging....I was nerveous...Lena also had a difficult job--Ah-counting all of the participants!!!
Besides the general meeting procedure, they had an Auction led by Levon Petrosian (an experienced Toastmaster). If not for him, the Auction would have been very boring. Also i think it was way too long. People started to loose the interest. Sasha Sheremet even bought cool headset and some CDs. This way he donated to the TM area budget. I realized that the Auction is a great way to raise money for our club as well. We should try it.

All who wanted to have fun participated in team games. Some of them were so tought that i started to fear for my health:)
Since the seconod half of the day was warm and sunny we took a walk around that amaizingly large museum on the open air. Besides, it was the "Ivana Kupala" holiday that gathered hundreds of people to celebrate it in more or less traditional way: singing, dancing, jumping over the fire, etc.

Meeting new people, gathering tons of ideas for our club, making friends - made our trip interesting and useful. Inspired by this, I want to organize a picnic for our Lemberg Toastmasters in a nearest future. Hope the people will support it!!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

In Lviv with Kiev Toastmasters

After a fun Toastmasters meeting our Kiev guests and a couple of Lviv Toastmasters went for a tour around the city. This was the chance to get to know each other better and enjoy the company which we used to the fullest:)

The first stop was in dungeon Ravlyk museum. Everybody wanted to get under the ground world of Lviv. Me too actually... But not much was there, just a couple of statues of lion, one big, empty and mysterious sarcophagus, and a good old man telling us a story of ancient Lviv.

Long walk gets tiering. Good Lviv beer and a delicious snack was the best decision. We stoped at everyone loved Dzyga caffe.

See how Tania and Andrey enjoy the beer:)

Of course we could not miss the provokative statue of Mazoh near the Mazoh caffee. Mazoh actually was born and lived in Lviv for some time. Lviv really got quite a history:)

Anyway, it was a great day with lots of positive impressions and memories.
We should do it more often:)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hilarious Meeting

Who said that Toastmasters meeting can be boring? Who said that Toastmasters meeting is no fun?

Last meeting AGAIN proved wrong everyone who still had doubts about how fun and hilarious (who attended know what i mean:)) Lviv Toastmasters can be!!!
This time it was a joined meeting with experienced toastmasters from Kiev:

Area Governor - Vera Viter
President of ArtTalkers - Tania Knyazeva
President of DniproHills - Lily Nabochenko
President of EBA Toastmasters - Iryna Nikolaenko
VP PR ArtTalkers & Treasurer DniproHills - Greham Seibert
ExVP PR DniproHills - Andrey Yaroshenko

Our hilarious participants were:

Olena Derzhko told us all about how hilarious extreme activities could be . She had her 2nd project titled "Extreme Activites: sports vs. lifestyle".

Olena Koronenko with her 5th speech "The Best Advice" gave us advice not to give an advice:) Now, every time i mean to say " here is my advice.." I think twice..

Sasha Sheremet as a Table Topic Master made everybody remember our hilarious childhood.

The most challenging topic was: how do you decode this abriviation YMPA as a child? What is your guess?

The fastests Ah-counter so far:) has been Bohdan . After his hilariously fast evaluation we should invent a competition "The fastest ah-counting":) It definitely saves time and makes everyone listen to it carefuly.

Who was the most on-time?

Zoryana - our Timer (she knows what i mean):) Never heard such a deep introduction of the Timer role and such a profound ending (and i am serious). Understanding that time is extremely important in our meetings she made an extra stress on it. Man, i wish we had it recorded...

The most hilarious word of the day:) was provided by our Grammarian Krystyna, and counted how many times it was used. Vera used the most-15 times. Bohdan was second-13. That was quite a competition:)
In that hilarious atmosphere amazingly she could also pick the most commonly used mistakes.

And now on a serious note:

Lemberg Toastmasters first time had guests from Kiev and were very happy to meet new friends. It was definitely a fun meeting with interesting speeches and a variety of jokes and discussions. We also managed to impress Kiev Toastmasters by the level of our organization, performance as speakers and hospitality:)

Lemberg Toastmasters welcome everyone who wants to visit us!!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The oldest Toastmaster from Lviv

My first interaction with Toastmasters was in November 2006. Since then I became the first member and the founder of this club and now I am the oldest Toastmaster.

Everyone knows me...

I am the one who encourages people to participate, and I am the one who makes officers to work for the good of our club. In other words - ladies and gentlemen, please get acquainted with Lyuba Lazarenko - the President of Lemberg Toastmasters.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Lets get acquainted

Hm, it's been a year now since my first TM meeting... How fast the time flies :)
Wait, let me introduce myself properly. My name is Lena and I'm currently the VP of Education and the President's right hand :)
Of course, that's just my off-hour job. My main occupation is software development. And I must admit that I'm a typical representative of the species, a real nerd; I prefer reading to speaking, computers to humans and gadgets to fancy shoes :). That's why sometimes I wonder how I even ended up being a Toastmaster, considering that I have to communicate, convince, entertain and sometimes even inspire... and of course, the scariest: to expose my thoughts to a relatively large and reasonably strange audience — the things I don't do every day.
But I guess the question already contains the answer: I don't do it every day. Where else would I train my persuasion skills? "standing in front of an audience" skills? I'm not mentioning my English skills because I'm already an ace in that :P
And now back to nostalgia...
I remember the first time I came to the meeting. When I stepped out to the floor to give an impromptu speech. Can't remember what it was about, but it was good and made everyone laugh :) Kinda made me proud. And hooked up. Ever since then I try to make every meeting interesting for myself and as a result to the others (hopefully :))
Having that said, I'm really glad that I joined the club, hope you are too.

P.S. For those of you still wondering who I am, here's my photo:

P.P.S. What about you? Got something to share? ;)

Our Members

Our proud members are:

Olena Koronenko
Sasha Sheremet
Bohdan Rak
Iryna Pantel
Dima Martynov
Reno Derosier
Sasha Yanov
Tetyana Naychuk
Glenn Rogers
Ivan Kravets
Lyuba Lazarenko
Olena Derzhko
Dasha Leskiv
Andriy Mudryy
Olesya Dzyben
Fady Haek
Yaroslav Kisylychka
Tania Knyazeva (from Art-Talkers club)
Vera Viter (ex Area Governor, EBA club)
Taras Kohut

Friday, May 23, 2008

Experimenting a bit

Having a demonstration speech has proven to be worthwhile. We decided to experiment a little bit with our speech delivery presentations and add some creative touch to them. This is how we've come to idea to have a demonstration speech: speaking and demonstrating.
Olena K. had an interesting speach about origamy. Very-well done speech. And the theme for demonstration was perfect. Even the audience got a chance to try it. For me that was kind of magic:)
Me dancing could also cut as a new thing:)) I found it was difficult to explain dancing steps to the audience which is not paricipating. Thus, they cannot grasp the whole fun of it. Next time (if there will be next time) i'll make some one dance with me.

Who else wants to show what you can do?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Surviving First Toastmasters Meeting

This has been my very first time at the meeting. There were over 15 people-most of them from SoftServe. Being a new person there, I was called to try to give my first small impromptu speech on a given topic (common practice with the beginners). The theme I had to speak about for 2 minutes without any preparation turned out to be Philosophy of life: should we take life serious or not. I morally supported the first 4 speakers because I realized that it was very hard to talk about different things for 2 minutes. Feeling that my turn may come too, I was trying not to be nervous; however, it was extremely difficult to control the emotions. My heart was pumping so hard that I could hear the beat in my ears and my mouth got really dry. I was thinking what kind of challenge was awaiting for me and whether I would be able to accept it from the Toastmasters.

When every guest got a chance to speak my time has also come. Doubting for a few seconds, then I stepped on the floor while everyone’s eyes were watching me. The topic was quite deep, and I was thinking how to unveil it well in 2 minutes while being evaluated by attentive Timer, captious Ah-counter, precise Grammarian, and prudent speech evaluator. I started to speak and my hands immediately moved to the pockets because I couldn’t figure out what to do with them yet understanding it was wrong. When I saw green and yellow sign on the Timer’s devise I knew that I was reaching the final point of my speech. Without a blink of my eye I saw a red sign—had to finish the speech. Hurrah!

I felt a huge relive going back to my seat. Being a part of auditory it seemed to me so simple to go and speak in front of the people: it’s easy to get up and talk about general things without much of thinking and preparation, all you need is a good English vocabulary and ability to put the words together. Hell No!! Go try yourself?

Yulia Kovalyova

Monday, March 24, 2008

Is laziness a virtue or a vice?

I was always convinced that laziness is a vice. However, after our Toastmasters meeting last Wednesday, i started to doubt it.
Bohdan, one of our Toastmasters, have delivered a speech with the interesting message - laziness is good, you just need to know how to use it. Never thought that being lazy can actually help you become effective at work? Maybe his speech was so well done that he managed to alter my attitude about laziness. Here are some of the tips Bohdan shared with us:

  • Delegate your work to someone else

  • Don't rush to do the task, if you wait sometime, it may won't be needed anymore

  • Automate routine work (this might take some creative thinking)
Maybe I should try that, will see how effective my work will get. Although so far procrastination did no good to me but added up more stress....

Monday, March 10, 2008

When do we meet?

Lemberg Toastmasters meet every Wednesday at 7:40pm in the facilities of SoftServe by the address: 52 V.Velykogo Street, room 110

We welcome everyone who wants to consider joining our club.
In order to be present at the meeting, please contact our VP Membership – Yaroslav Kisylychka at

Our Officers

President - Lyuba Lazarenko
VP Education - Olena Koronenko
VP Membership - Ira Pantel
VP PR - Yulia Kovalyova
Treasurer - Sasha Sheremet
Secretary - Ira Pantel
Sergeant at Arms - Ivan Kravets

Our Club Mentor - Yulia Usova.
Yulia has initiated the establishment of our club in November 2006 and has been giving us her continuous support ever since.

Feminism: pros & cons

On the threshhold of Women's Day during our last Lviv Toastmasters meeting we had a vivid discussion about feminism. Two our devoted Toastmasters presented their Get to the Point speeches about this movement. Olena Koronenko with her speech "Wolf in a Sheep's clothing" was quite convincing about feminism being an evil to the society, whereas Yulia Kovalyova could give us the proves of a woman's superiority. I personally after her speech wanted to jump up and sing this famous old song "I'm a Woman" by Melinda Doolittle (originaly sang by Peggy Lee)

Bohdan Rak as a Table Topic Master developed the theme of feminism in a more detailed mannare involvening some of the guessts of the meeting and it's permanent participants.

Who can join Lemberg Toastmasters?

Our members are the people who share the goals of mastering public speaking and leasdership skills. So, anyone who speaks English (upper intermediate level minimum) and is willing to speak in front of the audience, and meeting new people can join our club.

What benefits one can get from Lemberg Toastmasters Club?

It's been proven that communication and presentation skills are crucial to success in a working place and in everyday life. People pay high fees to get trained in those skills, whereas Toastmasters club offers a much less expensive option to become a confident speaker in informal and friendly environment. So as a member of the club you:
· Become more confident
· Get rid of stage fear
· Learn to communicate effectively
· Learn to express your thoughts clearly
· Improve your presentation skills
· Learn to motivate and to persuade
· Increase your leadership potential
· Reach your professional and career goals

Friday, February 29, 2008

Who are the Lemberg Toastmasters?

No, we don't propose and don't make toasts!

Lemberg Toastmasters Club is a non-profit organization with the vision of empowering people to achieve their full potential through improvement and development of their public speaking, communication, and leadership skills. Toastmasters offer inexpensive, interactive, friendly, supportive, and simple programs to help every member become more self-confident and successful.