What Did I Miss: 10/22/2020

Last night we had fun and plenty of guests to get to know. Our Club Treasurer, and District 5 Club Growth Director, Joyce Persichilli led the meeting as our Toastmaster. Her theme was “If Only” and her word of the week was “Desideratum” (it was hard to pronounce but a lot of people managed to say it including the two guests who participated in Table Topics).

In his Pledge & Inspiration, Ruben Figueroa drove the 76 to Temecula where he reflected on feeling burnt out. He came to the conclusion that the material things he wanted were taking away from the things that would really fulfill him. He wants to place more emphasis on things that matter to him like meditating and exercising.

The meeting Timer, Greg Pitts, cleverly used green Granny Smith apples, lemons, and strawberry backgrounds to help speakers stay within time. In the absence of the timer light and laminated construction paper we use in person, I’m increasingly impressed with the ways timers are coming up ways to adapt and communicate the times.

Vice President of Education Christoph Kubitza led Table Topics by using the theme, “If only” to begin his questions and the respondents would start their answer with, “I would.” Area 9 Humorous Speech Runner-Up, Dave Zarella explained that if his pizza oven had wheels it would go everywhere with him and he’d sell pizza and eat it everywhere. Kalina Cardoso dreamed that if she had a genie, she’d wish for world peace and ocean-front property. Area 9 Director, Elaine Dusetzina (who held an excellent contest last weekend in which Bob Dietrich and Dave Zarella both took home 2nd place in their respective categories), said she would be able to remember everything she is studying to pass her upcoming Health & Wellness Certificate boards. Guest Freddy, said if he could make Quantum Leaps, he would make a movie like the film, “Jumper.” Guest Morgan won the Best Table Topics Speaker ribbon by daydreaming a reality where she could fly to Hawaii and to New York and be able to go and experience anything she wants.

Club Secretary, Kris Manske, took home the Best Speaker ribbon for delivering a speech about making small, incremental changes and embracing imperfection. She encouraged us to try something new and make small changes in things we’re already doing by taking small steps. All of the resources she generously posted in last night’s chat are at the bottom of this blog.

Lane Seidman took us through the seedy underbelly of downtown San Diego after midnight, armed with bolt cutters, on the prowl for…Comic Con Banners? It was a hilarious heist story that ends when he convinces someone else to break the law and sell him city property. The result is two banners that made Chris Hammell’s mouth water.

Vice President of Membership, Sureal Sparx, explained the life-changing lessons he learned from his amazing Grandmother. #1 Feel unconditional love & trust. #2 You only have one life, make the most of it. Sureal is living both lessons daily.

Jeremy Johnson did double duty as our Presiding Officer and General Evaluator. Even though it was impromptu, he ran the evaluation portion AND delivered an amazing General Evaluator’s report of the entire evening.

Chris Hammell took home (or stayed home?) the Best Evaluator ribbon for his feedback of Lane’s amazing speech (a speech he (or should I say, I) enjoyed very much).

Tomorrow, Oct 24th, Area 14 Director, Corinna Koehler has organized a speech contest so feel free to log in and watch as amazing speakers deliver great speeches and support Corinna: https://d5tm.org/event/southern-division-online-area-contests-area-12-14/

Also, there is one more contest being run by one of our members who are serving the district as Area Directors and they could use our help. Please reach out to him if you are free November 14th.

November 14 @ 8:30am: Matt Corrales, Area 23 Director (https://d5tm.org/event/northern-division-online-area-contests-area-18-23/)

I hope you’re all doing well,

Chris Hammell, DTM

PS: Here are the resources from Kris Manske’s speech:

Mini Habits – Smaller Habits, Bigger Results (Stephen Guise)

Source of the “1 push up” idea

Free list of mini habit ideas:

Nudge – Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein)

Source of the “1% per year increase” idea and many other “nudges”

I Will Teach You to Be Rich (Ramit Sethi)

Automate your finances

Book listed above – many ideas also covered in this podcast:


Happier with Gretchen Rubin (podcast) – Source of quotes “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” and “A 20-minute walk is better than the 3 mile run I never start…”


Podcast about manipulative self-improvement messaging:



The 76 to Temecula, Granny Smith apples, pizza oven on wheels, ocean-front property, Health & Wellness Certification Boards, Quantum Leaps, the 5-minute pick-up, banner heist, and life-changing lessons.  Feel left out? See you next week.


To access the schedule, go to toastmasters7.org, click “Members Only”, click “Schedule”, go to the bottom of the screen and click “Open Schedule.”  

Or you can go to https://sites.google.com/a/toastmasters7.org/intranet/schedule, then go to the bottom of the screen and click “Open Schedule.”.

On the schedule, you can see previous weeks (most are hidden to make it easier to view, but you can unhide the columns to look at everything in the current Toastmasters year if you have the proper permissions).

Club Secretary, Kris Manske updates each week’s schedule with what happened at the meeting. She highlights in red, each ribbon winner. If you scroll down, she also puts in each Table Topics speaker so we know who spoke. If you keep scrolling down, she also puts in what we discussed under Club Business and lists all of the guests as well as the members who didn’t have roles on the agenda.

We use the schedule to answer a variety of questions. Christoph uses it for the metrics used to give out the awards like Best Toastmaster of the Year in our club. I use it to remind myself of what happened at the meeting so I can compose a “what you missed” blog.

The VPM can use it to see how many times a guest has attended so they can ask a prospective member to join. When I was VPE, I could see who hadn’t given a speech in a while so I could ask them if they’d like to. As VPE, I could also see if someone hadn’t had any role in a while and try to encourage them to get on the agenda. I haven’t done all of the roles in the club so I’m sure there are other ways people use the schedule to answer questions.

The schedule is an accurate record of who did what at the meeting and who attended. And our google drive has Master Schedules for previous years as well. As a member you have access to it as well so take a look and see if it doesn’t answer some questions for you as well.

A Message from Leadership regarding COVID-19

A Message from SDTM7 Club President, Alberto Alvarado, as of 03/15/2020

To SDTM7 Members and Guests,

San Diego Toastmasters 7 is committed to provide a safe environment for all its members and guests.

With the current evolving issue that is happening with COVID-19/Coronavirus, we ask all members to review the information provided by District 5 and Toastmasters International. Each member has been sent and email notice. It has also been included in this posting below.

I feel it is safe to say, we have all received notices, on how to practice healthy life choices and personal hygiene during this time; as preventive measures, as well as collecting information from valid sources, like the CDC website. We encourage you to continue healthy practices and precautions.

As always, it is important we work together to ensure our mission as a club and organization is accomplished. As of Friday evening, we have received notification from our venue that we will be unable to host our club meetings for the next two weeks. Due to this, we are planning to reconvene our regular meetings on April 2nd, pending any further developments.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Alberto E. Alvarado, DTM
SDTM7 – Club PresidentDistrict 5 – IP PRM

A Message from District 5 Director, Lucille Shaw, as of 03/12/2020

Dear Member,
The evolving issue with the coronavirus and its effect on Toastmaster Clubs continues to be a growing concern of members. The District 5 Leadership team will follow the guidance provide to us by Toastmasters International and we will post and send updates to our members as directed by Toastmasters International.
Attached you will find the letter that was sent to all club officers on March 9, 2020 from Toastmasters International to share with their members. Letter to Club Officers.
We encourage you to determine how to successfully facilitate online attendance at meetings if you club is impacted by venue restriction. You can learn more about online meetings here.

Lucille Shaw, DTM
District Director
District 5 Toastmasters

Message from Toastmasters International as of 03/09/2020

Dear Club Officers,
Toastmasters International is monitoring the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on clubs and members. We extend our empathy and compassion to those who are and may be affected. Around the world, the impact of the virus varies greatly. Some members and clubs have been significantly affected, while others have been impacted less.

We encourage you and your club’s members to continue monitoring the status of the virus near you to determine how it may affect your club’s meetings. Information is available from the World Health Organization (WHO) here, the United States Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) here and from your local government’s health and safety authorities.

If some of your club’s members have significant health and safety concerns, you may wish to allow online attendance for those members. If your club is impacted by government restrictions, please notify your District Director so an exception to allow online-only meetings can be granted for your District. We encourage you to communicate with all club members to determine how to successfully facilitate online attendance at meetings. You can learn more about online meetings here.

In recent weeks the Toastmasters Board of Directors has extended authorization to clubs in certain Districts in Asia (Districts 67, 76, 80, 85, 88, 89, 93, and 118), in Europe (District 59, 71, 91, 95, 107, 108, 109, and 110), and in the United States (District 2, 4, 9, 57, and 101) to conduct meetings that are exclusively online.

Visit www.toastmasters.org/covid19 for a message I recorded and encourage you to share with members of your club. You can also contact our Club and Member Support team at World Headquarters with any questions or concerns at clubquality@toastmasters.org


Deepak Menon
International President
Toastmasters International
Daniel Rex
Chief Executive Officer
Toastmasters International

How To Master the Art of Evaluation and Improve Your Public Speaking Skills

Constant evaluation is the key to long-term, personal and professional growth. Why? Because constructive feedback is essential to improvement. Even if it can feel a little awkward, the benefits you receive from gathering meaningful and tangible feedback far outweigh any short-term discomfort. 

Toastmasters facilitates a constructive feedback loop as an essential part of its educational program. If you truly want to improve your speaking and leadership skills, you must learn how to give and receive helpful evaluations. Here are some valuable tips on how to give and receive effective evaluation from seasoned evaluators at San Diego Toastmasters 7:


The main purpose of the Evaluator is to provide constructive and encouraging feedback that helps the speaker improve his/her speaking skills and gain confidence.

Toastmasters International promotes the “sandwich technique” as its model for evaluations. Here’s how it works: 

  • State the positives of the speech
  • Suggest an area or two for improvement
  • Finish with another positive comment

Simple, encouraging, yet effective. This feedback style is also recommended for written audience feedback. If you find yourself acting as an Evaluator, remember to only evaluate areas the speaker has the power to change. Just because you personally don’t like a speech, doesn’t mean your opinion is warranted. Unless your criticism is productive, keep it to yourself. 

Shadi Abudayyeh, seasoned member at San Diego Toastmasters 7, shared why Evaluator is his favorite role.

Competent Communicator Shadi Abudayyeh, presenting an evaluation at a San Diego Toastmasters 7 meeting on March 16, 2019, at Normal Heights Community Center in San Diego, CA.

“By giving constant evaluations, I have become better at giving the most direct and straightforward advice. Being an Evaluator has helped me stay constantly focused during speeches, provide individualized feedback, and helped me become a better communicator,” Abudayyeh said. 

It helps to remember the speaker you are evaluating likely spent hours (or even weeks!) preparing for a project. They deserve a meaningful and thoughtful evaluation. Here are some tips to help Evaluators provide the most value to the speaker:

Do your research. Chat with the speaker beforehand, find out which Pathways project he/she is presenting and look up the specific project objectives. Be sure to ask if there are any additional areas beyond the project evaluation form they want you to focus on. 

Listen before you evaluate. DTM Chris Hammel, explains why he rarely takes notes during evaluations. 

Distinguished Toast Master Chris Hammel presenting a speech at an improv show in February 2019, at unknow location in San Diego, CA.

“Evaluation is effective if you hear the entire speech. Otherwise, you’re evaluating a speech the speaker didn’t give because you missed key parts while you were taking notes,” Hammel said.

Now, Hammel only takes notes on the key points the speaker lists in his/her introduction so he can monitor their chronology. That being said, evaluation is an art, not a science. Toastmasters International offers comprehensive resources to help guide speakers through the process, but don’t be afraid to try different strategies to find what works best for you.

Don’t tell someone what to do. When presenting constructive feedback, always preface your suggestion by saying, “In my opinion” or “I feel.” These statements will help the speaker feel less defensive because you’re allowing them to take your feedback with a grain of salt. 

Customize your communication style. With experience, Abudayyeh has learned to tailor his evaluation style to each individual speaker to provide them with the most effective feedback for their development. In most clubs, it’s common for advanced speakers to prefer a direct approach while newer members generally respond better to an encouraging tone. However, if you’re unsure, don’t assume. A simple question posed to the speaker about his/her preferred evaluation style will help set you and the speaker up for success.  

Speak with intention. Speakers can easily tell who took the time and effort to offer genuine and intentional feedback. They can also quickly tell who lacked attention and resorted to lazy observations. Remember, when Evaluators only share positive takeaways, they are usually doing more harm than good when it comes to the speaker’s long-term growth. 


Once a speaker finishes presenting, he/she has a moment to step back and relax. This is the waiting period when the audience members prepare written feedback and the evaluator presents a 2-3 minute evaluation. It can be an intimidating experience at first, but the club makes a concerted effort to ensure the speaker feels supported and encouraged. At San Diego Toastmasters 7, we take pride in creating a positive experience for all members and guests that walk through our doors.

Many new members, though nervous at the start, walk away with a strong feeling of encouragement and support after presenting their first personal speeches. Members at San Diego Toastmasters 7 have even been known to follow up via email after connecting with a story and go out of their way to acknowledge newcomers. San Diego Toastmasters 7 takes pride in itself as a place where members not only talk the talk, but walk the walk when it comes to valuing the experiences of others. 

Speakers that practice humility and open themselves up to the evaluation process reap the rewards of the development and support the club offers. 

Here are some tips to help speakers successfully navigate evaluations and utilize feedback for improvement:

Take it with a grain of salt. While it’s important to review all feedback, don’t feel obligated to absorb everything. Some nights you may walk away with 50+ slips of audience feedback, which can be overwhelming. It’s important to implement your own filtering process to identify the comments that are most valuable to you.

Pay attention to trends in audience feedback and suggestions from your mentor and other trusted speakers. If you receive the same piece of feedback on numerous occasions, this may be something worthy of greater exploration. 

That said, do your best to avoid defensiveness if you disagree with your Evaluator’s feedback. Instead, ask for further clarification after the meeting. Hammel explained the evaluation process has helped him receive feedback in his personal life. Before Toastmasters, he would immediately react and become defensive when presented with constructive feedback. Now, he takes the time to assess the value of each point before responding. 

“Evaluations have made me more approachable because people aren’t afraid of correcting me,” Hammel said. 

Practice self-reflection. Most importantly, if you find yourself in the role of the speaker, be sure to take time to reflect on your speech. Some helpful questions to ask include: 

How did I feel on stage?

Did I cover all the main points? 

What parts of my speech went well? 

What areas could have gone better? 

This reflection process will help you identify the most valuable pieces of feedback that resonate with your own perspective. The more self-aware you become, the more effective you will be in your communication going forward. 

Learn from others. Don’t wait until your next speech to make improvements. You can continue to learn by watching others! Gather inspiration from speeches you enjoy and take note of the feedback they receive when creating your next speech. Long-time member and DTM Eric Linder shared his take on evaluations. 

Distinguished Toast Master Eric Linder, presenting an evaluation at a San Diego Toastmasters 7 meeting on June 13, 2019, at Normal Heights Community Center in San Diego, CA.

“I learn how to improve my presentation skills at every meeting, whether or not I have a speaking role at one. During the evaluation section of the meeting, the Evaluators provide insightful suggestions to everyone on how to fine-tune and improve presentations,” Linder said.

As effective communicators and leaders, we need constructive feedback in order to enhance personal and professional growth. Without it, you run the risk of becoming complacent and stagnant. After all, a comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there. Embrace your Toastmasters journey and Pathways education with an open mind and willingness to improve, and you’ll reap all the benefits it has to give you.

For further information on evaluation, Toastmasters International offers various resources including a more in-depth version of “The Art of Effective Evaluation”. Or you can reach out to the VP of Education at ckoehler@toastmasters7.org for questions.