15 Years Later: Toastmasters Accredited Speaker

Speaking Events| 13 Comments »

15 Years Later:
Toastmasters Accredited Speaker

Today, August 21, marks 15 years since I earned the elite designation of "Accredited Speaker" from Toastmasters International for "professionalism and outstanding achievements in public speaking." The journey to the award, and to the final judging in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, was truly the journey to the depths of my core.

At that time, the marketing materials read the headline "Are You Good Enough to Be Pro?"  I challenged myself to find out – by applying the program.

This prestigious award is only presented to those of professional platform caliber, as demonstrated in communication skills of: informing, persuading, motivational, inspirational, entertainment and humor, and seminar/discussion leader.  Less than 1 in 20 ever pass, and even fewer pass the first time.

To date, there have only been 58 honorees, out of 235,000 current members (4 million members since 1924) in 93 countries, and of those 58, only 6 are women. I had the privilege of being the 3rd woman and 28th overall to be recognized, and on the first time.

As I reflect on what the award meant to me then and means to me now, it’s about courage to boldy go, to push myself harder and higher than I ever have before, constantly raising my own bar of performance levels, and more so, of authenticity. My speech title that afternoon, "Perc-U-Lating Power: The Magic of Having More Passion and Purpose in Your Life" still rings true for me personally today (as is one of my two top keynote presentations). In the process of preparing for this final level, I prayed for guidance and meditated on what message would God what the world to hear. The energy-charged presentation received 12 minutes of standing ovation, and the International Director needed to request people finally be seated to proceed with the program. I opened with magic (which I’d done before) and ended with singing (which I’d never done before either). Today, I still maintain that level of trust in my Maker.

Receiving the award gave me a new found confidence in my skills, deepened my level of trust in what I am doing, confirmed use of my gifts, as well as increased credibility in the field of speaking. To do well in the field of speaking and training, one must be whole-heartedly committed to it!

As I review what I have done SINCE receiving the award…

With increased confidence, I applied to SkillPath Seminars and CareerTrack Seminars, and was accepted by BOTH companies as a contract trainer… becoming the top-rated international trainer in marketing communication skills in eight countries for seven consecutive years, was awarded "Most Interactive Trainer" and the "Rising Star Award." As a result, CareerTrack asked me to co-author two full-day presentation skills and train-the trainer seminars, then serve as Lead Trainer for them. What a joy!

Sharing my expertise in marketing communication and graphic design, I wrote a business "how-to" book, Solid Gold Newsletter Design, which is now a coursebook at the University of Ottawa, Canada, and presented on the topic in eight countries. Also authored numerous seminars, CDs, DVDs, videos and more…

Being a student and teacher of inspiration, helping people and organizations rekindle the spirit, raise the bar and create excitement, I’ve written a series of inspirational books…Sparkle-Tudes! (quotations by and for women), Heart of a Woman (and translated into Spanish, Corazon de Mujer), Heart of a Mother, Heart of the Holidays, and releasing next month Heart of a Woman in Business.

As a result of having the designation, I’ve been asked to share what I’ve learned about speaking with others, and invited to present in the Arabian Gulf last year – addressing 1,000 people from 7 nations, and was the only woman on the entire 3-day conference, complete with a formal press conference.

I served as District 5 Governor for Southern California and Baja California, and was the first woman elected to that leadership position in 10 years, responsible for 128 Clubs and 2,800 members, and 970 Officers.

Doors have opened that I had never even considered; I’ve been to places I’ve needed to find on a global map; I’ve met amazing people from different cultures and belief systems; and I am grafteful.

Thanks to Toastmasters! I never would be doing the service I do today, nor at the level at which I have the privilege of serving.

For any member of Toastmasters even CONSIDERING pursuing the Accredited Speaker designation: YES!  Do it. Order the free application and program information, Code #1208 from Toastmasters.

Here’s to 15 amazing years – and simply the best communication and leadership program, literally, in the world! www.Toastmasters.org

Sheryl Roush, DTM, PDG, A/S
Sparkle Presentations, Inc.

TIPS: Multi-tasking and Handling Interruptions

Tips & Trivia| No Comments »

Multi-Tasking and Handling Interruptions
by Career Strategist and Life Coach, Laurie Sheppard

It is no longer a question whether or not to multitask, but how we can do it without dropping a beat. We are constantly connected to multiple forms of stimulus and available for interruptions. 

We take our laptops on business and personal trips. Wireless systems everywhere make it easy to connect for emails or to call someone on Internet-based phone sites. Social network sites have escalated to billion dollar businesses. We carry cell phones that ring annoyingly in public places or vibrate in our pockets till we’re pulled away from who or what we already elected to focus on, to have a loud sidebar with someone else on the phone. Public cell phone users expose us to the intimate details of their life while we walk past them in post offices and cleaners, or worse yet, as we stand next to them in waiting lines. Text messaging abounds, while its shortcut language further separates communication between the younger and older generations – but perhaps not for long. I saw a middle-aged woman last weekend at a play who was constantly pulling her phone out to text message, until an usher spotted the bright light from it and told her to kindly put it away.

Our downtime, the little we had staked out for ourselves, is being eaten up by the constant demands of others and our own urge to stay connected to everyone and everything at all times. Has communication become more important now, or is it the fascination with our toys and machinery that lure us to use them?

Considering Americans are relatively new to many of these products, it’s possible we’re still in an early fascination phase. That’s what Naomi Baron, a professor of linguistics at American University and author of "Always On:  Language in an Online and Mobile World," says is the case. She looks at how technology influences our learning and behaviors. Baron said, "My hope is that Americans are only going through a phase of feeling they must be ‘always on’ and that over time, we will regain a more balanced sense of communicative equilibrium."

Even watch alarms or other time-reminding alerts can negatively grab and redirect our attention, particularly when we were focused on something of importance.  We all know what it’s like to be in a discussion with someone and be interrupted, then come back to the conversation and realize we forgot what we were talking about. Paul Schutte, of Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, wrote "Assessing the Effects of Momentary Priming on Memory Retention During an Interference Task" for NASA. The discussion of memory aids and how to better prime the mind for effective mental recall. Download the PDF here.

1.  If you like to be plugged in and multitask, find ways to sharpen your memory that will otherwise become less sharp with constant interruptions.   

2.  Pay more attention to social courtesies and ask yourself whether or not it’s kind to others that you hold that outside conversation now. 

3.  Decide whether or not you want to be subject to constant connection through technology’s stimulus rather than be right where you are, with whom you’re with, or maybe enjoying your quietude. 

I think we’re missing the comfort that emptiness can provide and the insights and learning that come from still reflection and being "offline." What about you? Do you leave yourself open to constant external connections?

CREATING AT WILL: Best Second Careers for Women
Email: Laurie@CreatingAtWill.com
Read other Articles on a variety of topics, including Life Balance, Career, Time Management, etc. 

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