All Star Game: Chamber Toasmasters Special Meeting at PwC, July 16, 2014

In some popular sports like ice hockey or basketball, apart from competition and training routine, stand special events called All Star Games. They are not about winning a title. Rather, they are celebration, recognition of greatest players and their talents, and the demonstration of the best the game has, to its fans and the multitude of people starting to get interest in this sport.

Last Wednesday night, July 16, on the ground of hospitable PwC office in Kyiv, Chamber Toastmasters Club had a special demo meeting presenting Toastmasters educational program to the friendly team of our host,  PwC Ukraine. The corporate character of the event did not exclude the possibility to involve many bright personalities from Toastmasters International. Members of the Chamber TM club prepared brilliant speech projects, motivated and active guests spoke out with impromptu speeches, the star alliance of evaluators provided ingenious hints on the art of public speaking, and – the prominent experienced members of the Club shared their insights and success stories.

Any Toastmaster meeting is a show by itself, and each Toastmaster is a show(wo)man. Imagine how greater then is a performance of the President of the Toastmaster club, Olena Krynychna, who played the role of the meeting’s MC and wrapped it with a magic carpet that flowed smoothly like Aladdin through an Arabian night…

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Ron Barden, Tax and Legal Partner PwC Ukraine, warmly welcomed the participants and explained why it is so important for any business person, for any employee of his company in particular, to be confident in one’s speech and overcome a natural fear of standing in front of the audience with a word of influence – that’s what you can learn with Toastmasters.

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The Club’s Vice President for Education, Maryna Gotovkina, hosted a talk show with prominent Club members. Alex Kobzev who started with the Club since its birth 15 years ago shared his experience on how the Toastmaster program helped him to achieve his goals in study and carrier that eventually led him across the Pond to Canada. Tetyana Kisyelova, last year winner of the all-Ukrainian Speaking Contest, told that Toastmasters is not about improving your English but about public speaking, and not only public speaking but leadership, and demonstrating how two learning tracks: communication and leadership – go hand in hand throughout the Toastmasters program. Ivo Kersten, a guest star from the Art Talkers Club and the recent winner of the All-Ukrainian Toastmaster Contest, demonstrated how passionate and sincere a speech should be. Finally, Evgeniya Poluektova-Deghani, Past Immediate Club President and the two time winner of Ukrainian Speaking Contest, explained that the hard work and painful learning process behind the scenes of outwardly dazzling Toastmasters meetings and events is alas not for everyone.

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Two sample speeches at the meeting illustrated the basic and advanced level of speaking projects. Sergey Kolomiychuk who just started with Toastmasters several months ago delivered his second speech “No Cheating” in yet a powerful and skillful manner, encouraging the audience to strive for such level of achievements in the Club.

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Tetyana Konyushenko, a long-standing Club member and experienced mentor, presented an advanced project on how to use public speaking skills and techniques in a “small talk” with a friend or even a stranger. Later on, she played a demo small talk drama with Lily Nabochenko, a PwC worker and a renowned Toastmaster.

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Iryna Grygorieva, the Club’s Treasurer, gave a master class of a Table Topic session where all participants, both Club members and guests, can be called on stage to talk on a subject just given to them a few moments before – the so called “impromptu speeches”. Selected questions related to the office work and after hours activities. PwC employees and all  other participants have got a chance to speak in front of a friendly and supporting audience and showed indeed their high level of confidence and good command in the English language. Whatever topic you get in the impromptu speeches session it’s up to you to decide – whether to make a sincere and inspiring 2-min speech, as skillfully performed by  Andy Kuzich, Business Development Director,  PwC Ukraine, and Yulia Polyakova, Senior PR Specialist, PwC Ukraine,  or to create an intrigue around your personality and play the role as the task suggests. Or just entertain the audience as performed by Oksana Varga and Kateryna Zarubina)) The most important thing is that you enjoy the exercise and make another step on you way to public speaking excellence.

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Last but not least, it’s worthy to mention the work of the evaluation team. Alex Kobzev, Lily Nabochenko and Evgeniya Poluektova-Deghani shared masterful and inspiring feedback on prepared and unprepared speeches. Vladislav Kisselev, the Grammarian of the meeting, showed how to track grammar issues during the session and provide a brief and constructive general feedback on most interesting mistakes and findings of the participants. Alexey Oliynyk has introduced a strange but yet very important role of Ah Counter and provided a report on most common “crutch” unnececssary sounds and parasite words we sometimes fill pauses in our speeches. Anastasia Timofeeva, the Timer, has demonstrated the Club’s reserve to stick to the schedule and watch over the duration of speeches.

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Friends, if you have visited this All Start Game meeting of the Chamber Toastmasters Club and liked it, please come join the team and play with us, so that eventually you’d be rewarded to play your All-Star Game and participate in many more, not less exciting, events!

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