Getting out of our comfort zone

Every year for the last two Wednesdays of January, and occasionally throughout the year, we get to try out different venues when our usual location is unavailable.

This is a wonderful opportunity for members and guests to experience what it’s like to get out of our comfort zones and stand in front of a new room. Do this often enough, you will become comfortable speaking in front of any room, regardless of setup, size or situation! We stay in flow; nothing fazes us.

And that’s how our last meeting on January 23rd went. We had a good turnout of members and many guests at a venue graciously hosted by Mary Lou, one of our long-time members. Instead of our usual boardroom style setup, we had the opportunity to be in a presentation style setup. Gertie, our Meeting Chair brought her enthusiastic energy for a fun meeting. Rowan, a member for only three months, regaled his Part One tale of misadventure travels. Lots more to come in Part Two on January 30th, Rowan assures us. We can’t wait to see how the story unravels!


Be sure to attend our next meeting at another (not-so-secret) location! We meet every Wednesday at 4 PM. Check our website for current location. All guests are welcome!



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A Spooky Good VanCore Time

VanCore Toastmasters got into the spirit or shall I was was visited by Spirits this Wednesday. Costumes ranged from scary cute to dad joke witty – that was all you Jonathan.

Deborah’s halloween themed speech got us on the edge of our seats.  It entailed visiting a D-Day cemetery in France where many Canadian soldiers had perished.  The plot thickened as she described taking back to her Airbnb more than just eerie memories.  A presence loomed over her while in the bathtub sending shivers down her spine.  Like in many scary movies we were relived to find out that this one didn’t end in a blood bath, no pun intended.

We continued our session with creative halloween table topic questions from Connie.  Questions referenced the appropriateness of halloween costumes, if the city should hold fireworks on this day, do older kids have the right to candy, what this day means to us and if we believe in spirits. The answers were extremely interesting to hear.  Congratulations to Loa and Rhoda for winning the contest for best table topic answers respectively.

We closed the session with some treats, mingling and group pictures.  Thank you to all those who participated in making this a truly memorable spooky Toastmasters.

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Fun Times at Vancore Summer Social Party!

A wonderful evening spent at Joey’s Burrard on the patio with Vancore members sharing stories and making amazing new memories! We were so happy to gather together at our annual social and celebrate how far we each have come on our Toastmasters journey.

How can you tell we’re Toastmasters? We love to tell and listen to stories! It was so heart-warming hear the funny and engaging story of a member’s recent engagement to her fiance.  Not to be outdone, the couple in our group shared the story of their marriage proposal that led to their recent nuptials.

The food was finger licking! Yam fries, sushi and chicken wings, anyone? Plus so much more. We welcomed the abundance of food, good times and laughs, after another lively Vancore meeting with several first-timers in their meeting roles.

We missed our esteemed fellow members who could not make it, but look forward to seeing them soon at the next Vancore meeting!





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Vancore Area Contest Winners Advances!

We were so proud to have a record of three Vancore Toastmasters members compete at the Area 70 International Speech and Evaluation Speech contests on April 10, 2018

They each won a spot to advance to the Division level contest. Congratulations to all three Vancore members who placed in the top two in each contest!

International Speech Contest

Bruce Grierson – First Place

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Bruce_Contest (5)












Drake Ma – Second Place

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Here is the video of Drake’s 2nd place winning speech:


Evaluation Speech Contest
Deb Jang – Second Place

We are super excited to see all three advance to the next level – Division N Contest on April 23, 2018 – and continue to rock it!


Toastmasters International Speech and Evaluation Contests

A Toastmasters tradition, contests are a key component of member experience. Contests offer an opportunity for members to step outside of their comfort zone, test their skills, and receive recognition for their accomplishments both inside and outside of the club meeting environment. Competition begins with club contests and winners continue competing through the area, division and district levels.

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Congratulations to winners of Vancore 2018 Speech and Evaluation Contests!

What a delight to hear new and seasoned speakers deliver captivating speeches at the Vancore Toastmasters annual Speech and Evaluation contests on Wednesday, March 14th!

So inspiring to see members step up and showcase how much they have evolved as speakers (half of the contestants are brand new members only within the last four months!). Their dedication to consistent practice at weekly meetings and implementing feedback from evaluations showed in their delivery of winning speeches and evaluations.


International Speech Contest

Contestants present a 5-7 minute speech on any subject they choose.

1st place: Bruce Grierson
2nd place: Drake Ma
3rd place: Joerg Boettcher









Evaluation Speech Contest

Contestants observe a 5-7 minute test speech and then present a 2-3 minute evaluation of the test speech.

1st place: Deb Jang
2nd place: Frank Zhao


Contest Chairperson, Connie Hubbs presented certificates to the winners at the Vancore International Speech and Evaluation contests. 1st and 2nd place winners go on to compete at the Area Contest in April.



Speech contests are a Toastmasters tradition. Each year thousands of Toastmasters compete in contests. Competition begins with club contests and winners continue competing through the area, division and district levels.
Consider joining us at next year’s contests!
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Pathways – New Education Program at Toastmasters!


Embark on a journey of personal and professional development through Pathways, Toastmasters’ new education program!

Pathways is designed to help you build the skills you need to communicate and lead. It is comprised of 10 paths that teach more than 300 unique competencies:

As you progress through Pathways, you will:

  • Practice and improve your communication and leadership skills.
  • Give speeches in your club based on assignments in Pathways.
  • Challenge yourself to build and refine certain competencies and skills.
  • Complete a range of projects that include persuasive speaking, motivating others, creating a podcast and leading a group in a difficult situation.

Develop real-world, transferable skills in many different areas through Pathways—communication, leadership, management, strategic planning, service to others, public speaking and more.


Vancore Toastmasters is excited to announce that starting in March, we will begin implementing the new Pathways program as the foundation of your Toastmasters experience, joining Toastmasters clubs around the world.

Pathways will give Vancore members a more dynamic experience that integrates Vancore’s in-club member experience and online educational tools.

Connie Hubbs, Distinguished Toastmaster, and long-time Vancore member, will be introducing the Pathways program at an upcoming meeting in January. Members Please sign up. Guests are welcome!

Click here to learn more about the Pathways Program:


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New Programs At Vancore

Audience in the lecture hall.
Everyone is pitching in to make our club truly shine. Congratulations Team Vancore!
Take a minute to review our recently launched programs below developed to encourage greater attainment of our speaking and leadership goals, and to attract fantastic new like-minded members.

Also, reminder that your yearly membership fees are due.  Please bring a cheque for your annual renewal in the amount of $168 for the year (Oct 1, 2017 to Sept. 30, 2018)   or you can pay online through an e-transfer.  Ask us about electronic payment.

This works out to just $3.5 per meeting! Plus all the bonuses that follow….

Bonus #1:        Member Tracking Program: When your progress is tracked and visible, you get accountability and support towards your goals. We can celebrate your milestones and achievements!

Bonus #2:        Mentorship Program:  A mentor provides guidance and accountability and can help accelerate your progress. For those who want to participate, we will pair you with someone who is further along on the Toastmasters journey. We will have a structure in place so that it’s a beneficial partnership.

Bonus #3:       Themed Meetings: To liven our meetings, we’re going to mix things up a bit and conduct a meeting every quarter around a fun theme. Send us your ideas!

Bonus #4:        Club Socials: We had so much fun last time that we’re going to have more socials. It’s an opportunity to have a fun time outside of meetings and get to know each other better.

Bonus #5:        Toastmasters Pathways: The Toastmasters education program will be revitalized and online in Spring 2018! It will contain modules, videos and graduated learning. Eventually, the manuals will be replaced with the online program in a couple of years.

Attendance rate has been great and everyone has been jumping into filling speaking and supportive roles, let’s keep the momentum going into the new year!
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Vancore Toastmasters Summer Social

vancoresocial.jpgRemember how as a kid you marvelled: Isn’t it lucky that there’s exactly the right amount of news in the world to fit in the newspaper?

Now an adult you marvel: Isn’t it lucky that there are exactly the right number of stories, jokes, sly insights and tear-jerking inspirations to fit in a Toastmasters meeting?

Of course, if you were to extend the allotted time by, say, two hours, the stories and jokes and inspirations would expand to fill it, VanCore members discovered this week.

It was actually a relief to adjourn to a nearby pub after the meeting, because nobody was satisfied when Victoria’s and Bobby’s speeches came to a screeching halt after seven minutes.  “And then what happened?” we asked. And over little plates of fish tacos and teeny tiny hamburgers, Victoria and Bobby gave us the goods.

We don’t do this enough. That is, go out not just as colleagues but as friends. We VanCore-ites feel our club strikes a great balance between professional development and tummy rubs. You can’t help but become attached to the people you’re telling intimate stories to in a little room week after week. It’s like the Stockholm Syndrome, but with Finns (Loa).

Social time strengthens any group. As the saying goes, the club that imbibes together, survives together.


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Manage the Fear of Public Speaking: 5 Pro Tips

You have the privilege to speak in front of an audience.

That means you have a chance to positively impact others’ thoughts or emotions, improve your reputation, profile or authority and it’s a great way to get a step ahead.

On the other hand . . . you have to speak in front of an audience.

If you are like most people that means nervousness, sleepless nights, and tachycardia (palpitations for some).

I’ve heard many professional speakers say, “People’s greatest fear is the fear of public speaking, that means they’d rather be dead then speak in front of a group!” It’s usually good for a laugh but I believe the fear people experience is really worry about potentially making a fool of themselves.


To help you manage some of that ‘worry,’ here are 5 tips to prevent you from making a fool of yourself:

Let’s start with the Don’ts

1.    Don’t Memorize

Some people falsely believe that in order to not make a fool of themselves, they need to memorize their speech. It seems somewhat logical however what happens when you memorize your speech is you are ‘in your head’ for the speech and not present for the audience. When I first started speaking, I memorized my speeches. The feedback I received was, “We just heard ‘Speaker Barb,’ we want to connect with the real Barb.”

When you memorize your speech, you are constantly trying to remember your next line. This takes you out of the moment and prevents audience connection.

2.    Don’t Read

Reading your speech is similar to memorizing your speech but it involves powerpoint slides. I’m referring to those slides that have countless bullet points and the speaker thinks, as an audience member, you can’t read so they decide to read every bullet point and … well that’s all they do, is read the bullet points. You know the result of that = boring and no audience connection. Speaking is connecting with the audience, showing your personality and bringing life to the content.

3.    Don’t Worry

Mark Twain says, “There are two types of speakers – those who get nervous and those who are liars.” Don’t worry about your nervousness – everyone has it. One of the main reasons people get nervous about speaking in front of a group is because they care about the message they are giving and they care about the audience receiving value.

I like to take a page from Bruce Springsteen’s playbook and re-label my nervousness as excitement – you have to admit they feel really similar. Instead of saying to myself “I’m so nervous,” I say “I’m excited to do this.” And it helps!


Now for the Do’s

4.    Practice, Practice …

And then practice some more. I can’t tell you how many people think they can ‘wing it’ and it turns out . . . they can’t. To be a good effective speaker, you have to practice. Other than a few chosen few (and I don’t know any of them), professional speakers and people who want to positively impact an audience practice their speeches and talks. Here’s the most important point, they practice out loud, not just in their head. We all sound really good in our heads however when we begin to speak out loud, we aren’t nearly as good as we thought we were. That means practice out loud.

Practicing out loud also lets you focus in on your timing. As you practice your speech, mark down the times of where you need to be at 10 minutes, 20 minutes etc.  This prevents the slow start and accelerated ending speakers do when they realize they are way behind time.

5.    Do Be You

There are a lot of great public speakers you may want to mimic … but don’t. Learn from watching and listening to these speakers but don’t try to impersonate them or be like them. Develop your own style, the style that let’s you be you. The audience want to connect to you. In order to develop your own style, learn something about yourself or your style each time you speak – what worked, what didn’t work? Take time to reflect on how you can be better.

And one bonus suggestion . . .

6.    Find Friendly Faces

I know you’ve seen the person yawning in the audience and worried your content was too dry. Early on in my speaking career, I got focused on someone who looked really defensive in one of my presentations (arms/legs crossed, frowning). I was convinced she hated what I was saying. At the end of the presentation she approached me and I thought, “Oh no, here it comes,” but instead she said, “That was a really good presentation!” I was so surprised. I actually said, “Really? I thought you hated it.” She said, “No, I was just thinking and I always sit with my arms and legs crossed.” Go figure.

Find friendly faces in your audience – those people who nod, smile and ‘lean in’ to your presentation. Focus on those folks. They are the ones that will calm your nerves.

Put these five tips (+ 1 bonus tip) to use and your fear of public speaking will be a distant memory. Ok, maybe not a distant memory but rather a memory you are distancing yourself from – how’s that for a re-phrase?

Learn, Laugh, Share

Barb Langlois RN, BSN, MSN
All Pro Advanced Toastmasters

We would love to share Toastmasters with you! 

Come as a guest to the next Vancore Toastmasters Meeting!
When: Every Wednesday at 3 PM
Location: 8th Floor – 889 W. Pender Street, Vancouver, BC

Send inquiries to:


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City View Inspires Vancore Meeting

Vancore Toastmasters club changes venue occasionally when our usual venue is not available. If you’re a guest and not on our weekly member e-mail list, check our website for updates or email to confirm the venue.

For our May 24th meeting, we convened at a private meeting room on the roof top of 745 Thurlow. We were treated to a gorgeous view of the city! Our beautiful location inspired meeting attendees to step out of their comfort zones. We saw several new members take on meeting roles for the first time and a seasoned member deliver a spontaneous speech on her experience using Toastmasters to rehearse her public talk.


We love having fun at Vancore Toastmasters!  Stay tuned for announcement of our upcoming club social at the rooftop venue this summer.

Wednesday at 3 PM
We’re back at 8th floor – 889 W. Pender Street!

See you there!

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