Sometimes along a journey you wonder whether you are improving or not. I remember this happened with Toastmasters early on. I was going along to meetings, writing, rehearsing and giving speeches, taking on roles etc and after three months, I wondered it was having an effect?
A colleague I worked with at the time suddenly said one day, ‘David, you are appear to have greater confidence these days, what’s the secret?’ I knew then that going to Toastmasters had started to affect me in a positive way.
With my Watercolour sketches I have wondered the same thing, although it is easier in one way to gauge improvement as I have tangible evidence in the form of previous Watercolour sketches.
During lockdown last year I did 120 YouTube tutorials in a row and occasionally, I do more. One of the ways I am trying to gauge improvement is to go back to a tutorial but not actually ‘do the tutorial.’
Instead, what I do is sketch the image and do the painting without watching the tutorial. This way, I am trying to gauge what I can do without the step-by-step instruction to see how close I can get to the one I did when I did the tutorial.
Today’s Watercolour sketch (Day 727) is an example of that. I did the tutorial (Nil Rocha Art) back on Day 500. I have added a couple of shrubs and there are some other elements which I have changed but I am pretty happy with the result. I would love to reach the skill level of the tutorials. More practice required!
I’m happy with my progress with Watercolour in general and with Line and Wash, however, I am looking forward to the time I can do a face-to-face Watercolour course with a professional. I was due to start a 10 week course like this when Covid hit.
I’ve been using Winsor & Newton Cotman Half-Pans for over two years now. I’m thinking that maybe it is time to jump to Artist quality paints and have purchased a set of Primaries.
Still have so much more to learn. Still having so much fun! 🙂
Written by David Johnson
23 January 2021
A Pleasure To Receive…Thank You!
On Friday, I had great pleasure in receiving my DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster) plaque from Toastmasters International.
As an earlier post indicated, I reached the DTM level in Toastmasters last month which is the highest level.
Since 1924, more than 4 million people have benefitted from the Educational program.
As of 1 July 2020, the new Pathways Educational is now the only educational program in use. There are 11 Paths to choose from.
I joined Toastmasters back in March 2008 and by committing to the program and consistently striving to improve myself, taking on board the mentoring and points for improvement and putting them into practice, it changed my life in many positive ways. It can do the same for you too.
There is still more I can learn and whilst doing that, I can help others along the way, just like I have been helped. I am so grateful for the opportunities.
For more information: https://www.toastmasters.org/
Written by David Johnson
5 July 2020
Stepping-Stones… A Journey to DTM and Beyond!
Last week it was exciting to have achieved the highest Education and Leadership level in Toastmasters International, that of DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster).
There is no set time to achieve DTM, You do it at your own pace and whilst some Toastmasters are members of multiple clubs, in my 12 1/4 years in Toastmasters, I’ve been in one club (at a time), mainly.
So, what does that mean to a non-Toastmaster, i.e. what do you need to do to achieve it?
I have listed the requirements below that were needed to complete DTM (in the Traditional program):
10 speeches (mainly 5-7 minutes in length).
10 Projects (containing multiple roles ranging from meeting roles to serving on a club executive committee).
10 Advanced module speeches (mainly 5-7 mins but up to 40 mins). There were 15 Advanced manuals to choose from; plus 2 x 15 minute Educational presentations.
Served at least 6 months as a Club Officer; participate in preparation of a Club Success Plan; attend Officer training; conduct 2 x15 minute Educational presentations.
10 Advanced module speeches & 2 x15 minute Educational presentations.
10 Advanced module speeches & 1 x 15 minute Educational presentation or lead a Youth Leadership (6 weeks long) Program & mentored a member for their first 3 speech projects.
Serve a 12 month term as a District Leader, Serve successfully as a Club Coach, Club Sponsor or Club Mentor & complete a High Performance Leadership program.
Along the way you finish up doing more as its fun and you want to learn more and obtain more experience etc:
- I led 3 Youth Leadership courses and participated in several more.
- Participated (as a leader) in Speechcraft courses (for adults)
- Have served as a club officer 6 times including being President of two different clubs.
- Together with Rhys Tague (co-Club Coach) we have successfully built a new Toastmasters Club in the Macarthur Region and the club has achieved 10/10 in the Distinguished Club Program (achieving all Administration, Education and Membership goals) in it’s first year.
Toastmasters has been in ’transition-mode’ for the past few years and the Traditional Program stops at Midnight on 30 June 2020. The new Pathways Education Program has been in for a few years now and offers even more opportunities for learning and development in terms of communication and leadership.
I’m currently about to start Level 3 (out of 5) of the one of the 11 Paths called ‘Presentation Mastery.’
Being a committed member of Toastmasters has helped me have greater confidence (inward & outward) and I have learnt so much. There is still much more to learn though.
Why do I stay in Toastmasters?
- Continuing professional development
- A chance to pay it forward/give back to other members
- I’ve made many friends
I’ve included a link to the Pathways Education program should you wish to investigate it more. https://www.toastmasters.org/pathways-overview
If you would like to find a club near you that you can visit, there is a ‘Find A Club’ link on the same page.
Where to from here? I see the achievement of DTM as another stepping-stone to further professional development.
The journey is far from over!
To The Reader
Last month I had the opportunity to speak at my very First conference. It was held at the Pepper Manor House in the Southern Highlands of NSW. A beautiful, grand old house in quite a picturesque location.
I was invited to speak at ICCare (formerly known as Wollondilly Support and Community Care Inc) which is based in Picton, NSW but its coverage also extends to the Camden, NSW region.
ICCare provide quality, professional service/support to people who are frail, aged, people with a disability and their carers.
As with many of the general population, some of the staff have had challenges with public speaking and this is how the presentation came about.
Although my presentation was by PowerPoint, I was careful not to present too many slides with bullet points only, as this can be quiet boring for an audience.
Instead, (on some slides) I used images to represent ideas that I was talking about.
During the presentation, I gave tips on overcoming nerves, preparation, speech structure, public speaking techniques and also gave a demonstration of ‘Impromptu Speaking’ or “Thinking On Your Feet’ as it is sometimes known.
I then invited a member of the audience up and another member of the audience gave them a topic to speak on for one minute.
After that, I invited 4 members of the audience up to participate in a ‘Round Robin’ which is another Impromptu Speaking exercise but much more fun.
After a 20 minute question period we adjourned to lunch and shared a few stories.
I found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience and can’t wait for the next public speaking opportunity!
Written by David Johnson
16 May 2019
For more information on the services provided by ICCare, please click on the following link: http://wsacci.org.au/
The Cauldron Of Life
Let Your Voice Unwind!
The Toastmaster’s Journey
Raise The Bar
Review your goals
Raise the bar
Look to the future
You’ll see from afar
Roll up those sleeves
Dig right in
Look at that dream
And start to begin
In no time at all
You’ll be on the road
Instead of being towed
That mental check-up
You gave to yourself
Was the key
To your self-help
Along the way
The journey of growth
Is your payday!
Written by David Johnson
© CommunicatingCreatively/David Johnson 2016