Meeting #077 – A time for celebration!

Another brilliant Saturday morning, Another fantastic meeting at Beyond Words!
This week, we had a lot to celebrate as a club. We were back at our regular meeting place, some of our members back from summer hiatus, we spread the Beyond Words magic to more people and above all, our members are flourishing- We have a new DTM in the house! Congratulations to our VP-Membership Ivan Mose on this  achievement!

Congratulations to the newest DTM in the house ! DTM Ivan Mose being recognized by our president TM Katy Morin.

Alright, back to the meeting! The chairperson for the meeting was Hélène Vincent who started the meeting and introduced the head table. Then, DTM Gaetane Ferland, who was the toastmaster of the day took over, to run the educational session.

Clockwise from top: Chairperson Helene Vincent, Toastmaster Gaetane Ferland, Intepretative Reading by Ivan Mose and Moment of Humor by Frank Vigliotti

We had two prepared speeches:

  1. DTM Bonnie Mak presented a speech titled “How I joined Toastmasters?” for CC2-Organize your speech. She spoke about how she had the opportunity to join Toastmasters throughout a span of many years and when she finally decided to take the plunge. We are all glad that Bonnie decided to join Toastmasters, because Bonnie is the charter president of Beyond Words Advanced Toastmasters! 
  2.  Katy Morin presented a speech titled “The power of Motivation” as part of the project 4 for the Motivational Strategies path. She spoke about her research into different motivating strategies (Did you know a that a Google search reveals Monetary Rewards or Fear as the top motivation strategies?) and recounted her experience of getting together leaders from two different clubs to coordinate a joint meeting. 

Following the speeches, the THINK FAST! session was lead by DTM Bonnie Mak, who had the speakers put either an Inspirational or a Humorous take on a given topic. The audience got to be the judge and jury, as they provided feedback through flash cards.

From left to right: DTM Bonnie explaining rules of the THINK FAST!, our speakers Juan, Rim and Antoine, Audience providing feedback with flash cards

The Coaching session was led by the General Evaluator, Shivashree Vysali. We had critical and detailed evaluations from our evaluators – Francis Rounding, Juan Gonzalez, TM Gaetane and Shivashree. We also heard the report from the advanced Timer Frank Vigliotti.

Chairperson Helene presents Award of Excellence to Bonnie

The meeting concluded with the presentation of the Award of Excellence, which was won by DTM Bonnie.

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Meeting #076 – What a real doozy!

When we received the agenda and saw the word of the day as “doozy”, no one knew it was a foretelling of what was in store for our meeting on August 3, 2019.

It all started when we tromped up the stairs of our temporary meeting venue (Check our previous post for the stair count!) and no one could find the key! While some might give up and go home but at Beyond words we take everything in stride .. We promptly marched down to the park across the street and set up our meeting place around the quaint little gazebo of the park.

The stage is all set!

Our Chairperson/Toastmaster of the day Frank Vigliotti started the meeting. We had DTM Davender Gupta deliver his Pathways DTM project speech, in which he outlined his plan for the DTM project. Davender aims to roll out a strategic plan which will allow District 61 to grow and sustain more clubs in the future. Davender had to overcome the city of Montreal’s watering trucks and emergency vehicles while delivering his speech. We are sure that he’ll overcome any other challenges that arise just as easily! All the best Davender!

Following the prepared speeches, we had an insane THINK FAST! session, led by the ever enthusiastic DTM Bonnie Mak. While a bunch of people started a calming yoga session behind us, Bonnie had us performing verbal yoga through various improv games. She had us wooshing and whoa-ing and zooming an imaginary ball while also screaming “The barn’s on fire” and running around the gazebo from time to time. Our verbal yoga session was nothing like the actual yoga session happening behind us. We moved on to building stories from random words. We started off with a plan to visit Antartica, then got on to a cruise boat, that had a swimming pool but also had a mouse on board. Not sure what happened, but in the end we discovered it was not a Mouse but a man in a mouse suit. 

All the madness of THINK FAST!

Then, we kicked it up a notch, acting out a scenario until another member trades places to switch to a completely different scenario. We had some gambling, a relay race, a dance masterclass, some horse racing, jogging, a massage session, a swimming masterclass, a gun duel and more. 

If there was one thing that wasn’t a complete doozy, it was the Coaching session, where it was business as usual as our evaluators analyzed Davender’s speech and provided feedback. The Coaching session was was led by TM Francis Rounding, who drove down all the way from Cornwall, Ontario to join us. TM Marna was the content evaluator and DTM Aamir was the evaluator. 

General Evaluator Francis Rounding, Evaluators Aamir and Marna

After hearing reports from the advanced Timer, grammarian and General Evaluator, we concluded the meeting with the award of excellece, which was shared between DTM Bonnie Mak and DTM Davender Gupta. Overall, the meeting was a real doozy!

ChairToast Frank presenting the award of excellence to Davender and Bonnie!


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We shared a joint …

… meeting with NDG Leader Toastmasters! (Ha ha, we had you!).

On July 25, 2019 Beyond Words came together with NDG Leaders Toastmasters to conduct a joint meeting. Held at NDG Leader’s charming meeting venue at St. Thomas Church, it was a meeting that saw the best of both worlds, as Beyond Words set the bar high for an advanced Toastmasters meeting and the dynamic members of NDG leaders raising to the challenge.

Meeting Minutes: (Top row, left to right) : SAA Cilei Ribeiro, Chairperson Nabila Bourezane handing over to Toastmaster Aurore Liang, Topicsmaster Katy Morin leading the THINK FAST! session (Bottom row, left to right): General Evaluator Gabriel Duguay, Keith Martin listening in intently ( He was called for an instant evaluation later!), A melange of Toastmasters and Guests completely immersed in the meeting.

The theme for the meeting was Fireworks and we got cracking in no time. NDG Leader’s president, TM Nabila Bourezane kickstarted the meeting, welcoming the guests and introducing the head table.

Following the business session, the Toastmaster of the day, DTM Aurore Liang took over to conduct the education session, which consisted of two brilliant speeches:

  1. From NDG Leader, TM Nabila Bourezane’s speech was titled “Could we live in the moment?”. She spoke about how often we are distracted and fail to live in the moment and made us all ponder.
  2. From Beyond Words, TM Marna Murray’s  speech was titled “I am not dead yet”. What would you do if you receive a call from your credit card company informing “YOU” that “YOU are dead”? That’s what happened to Marna. Apparently, after dealing with the trauma of the situation, you just do a speech about it! Marna’s objective was to “Connect with Storytelling” and she connected with the audience through funny and engaging story telling.

The THINK FAST! session was led by Beyond Words’s president TM Katy Morin. She had the participants working in pairs enacting various situations. Would be for or against Silent Fireworks ? How’d you convince a firework competition organizer to have you onboard as a judge ? How would you as someone who could only see but not hear, explain the fireworks to someone who can only hear but not see? All the participants did a fantastic job. After each conversation, members were randomly called upon to provide an instant evaluation.

Speeches and THINK FAST!

The Coaching session was led by Beyond Word’s VP – Public Relations Gabriel Duguay. The evaluations followed Beyond Words’ advanced evaluation style – a content evaluation, a delivery evaluation and a round robin evaluation from all the members. After the evaluations, the advanced timer report was delivered by DTM Oren Weintrub (from NDG Leader). TM Cilei Ribeiro (NDG Leader) reminded us to not use so many so’s in her Ah Counter report and Grammarian for the day TM Sonia Gaona (Area 64 Director) recounted the bazillion times we sparkled by using the word of the day which was “Sparkle”.

The meeting concluded after the awards and comments from the guests. TM Marna Murray won the Best Speaker award, TM Shivashree Vysali won the best evaluator and TM Randi Schlar (Division G Director) & TM Peter Allan won the Best Table topics award for their debate on silent fireworks.

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Meeting #075 – July 13, 2019

After a bit of a snooze (more like an extended hibernation!), we are back to fondly reminiscing our meetings again!

We had the first meeting of the new Toastmasters year and it was a complete blast. Meeting at a temporary venue, everyone had to climb 47 stairs to reach the meeting room, but that did not stop us from bringing all the energy to the meeting right from the start.

The ever enthusiastic Bonnie and a highly focused Shiva

Shivashree Vysali spear-headed the meeting as the chairperson, for the very first time.
Boyan Djefersky was the Advanced Grammarian and the word of the day was “Hullabaloo”. Needless to say, our members enthusiastically created a hullabaloo at every opportunity.

Our fabulous president, Katy Morin was the Toastmaster and she did a great job of introducing the speakers:

  1. Gaetane Ferland , “Creative Recycling” , spoke about how she recycled the fur from her cat into various pieces of clothing. With this speech, Gaetane completed the first level in the Dynamic Leadership path. Congratulations, Gaetane!
  2. Marta Keller , “Vision, Mission & Values “, spoke about the vision for her High Performance Leadership project. For her project, Marta is organizing Quebec’s first Pathways Accelerator. She outlined her three part vision and convinced us that we would be able to complete 80% of the first level of Pathways at the accelerator. Good luck, Marta!

Gaetane displaying her cat fur art

Ever wondered how your impromptu speaking skills will help in an everyday situation? The Topicsmaster, Gabriel Duguay, put our skills to test in the THINK FAST! session. The speakers had to take on the role of a customer service executive trying to placate an angry customer. From getting the angry customer to accept a docile rat instead of an angry hedgehog (Boyan) to offering a plastic bag for a discounted price of 50$(Guest Vinay), our speakers did a fantastic job of handling various situations. It was a hilarious session indeed.

The Coaching session was led by Bonnie Mak. The evaluators Shiva, Katy, Aamir and Epitace provided detailed and clear evaluation to our speakers. Everyone present, including the guests, contributed to a fruitful round robin evaluation.

Epitace evaluating Gaetane’s content

Round Robin in progress!

Boyan talking about all the hullabaloo

Shiva receiving the award of excellence from Katy

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Meeting #021 – March 25, 2017

RICK CHANDLER, District 61 champion and Beyond Words member extraordinaire, is in the house! Great to have him back from Kansas, especially as Toastmaster.

An exciting day of speeches …

  • Bonnie Mak – CC5, Humerus not Humorous

And when a speaker cancels last minute … challenge our guests to speak! Great idea, Rick!

  • Frank Vigliotti – improv speech, 5-7 min.
  • Roberto Di Benedetto – improv speech, 5-7 min.

Fun THINK FAST! Session with challenging Table Topics questions, led by Geoff Brown, and an astute GE session led by Rosalia Felice with her fabulous team of evaluators.

Most Enthusiastic was Roberto Di Benedetto.

Rick Chandler, Toastmaster

Frank Vigliotti, Speaker #2

An attentive audience

Roberto Di Benedetto, Speaker #3

Artem Ploujnikov, Delivery Evaluator for Roberto’s speech

Rosalia Felice, General Evaluator

Round-robin evaluation

Bonnie Mak, Chairperson, & Roberto Di Benedetto, Most Enthusiastic


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Meeting #020 – March 12, 2017

I can say without a doubt, but quite happily, that you never know what to expect at a Beyond Words meeting …

Our speakers were:

  • Gaétane Ferland – CC4, How to Say It – “Born this Way!” … very, very funny
  • David Galipeau – International contest speech – “Limited to Limitless” … gave us all something to think about

Then Pierre LeBlanc, Topicsmaster Extraordinaire, led us through an exciting THINK FAST! Session. He presented us with some situational improv games that he’d brought back from a recent trip to Ireland, where he’d watched a professional improv troupe strut their stuff.

Epitace Nobera, GE, led us into a succinct and valuable COACHING SESSION with our four insightful evaluators:

  • Marna Murray
  • Heysee Verdal
  • Sapandeep Randhawa
  • Daniel Plante

As always, the speech evaluators and the audience, during the round-robin evaluation, had such interesting things to say. Thanks also to our other amazing evaluators, Jon Pehleman, Grammarian, and Artem Ploujnikov, Advanced Timer.

Strong evaluation skills definitely builds strong communicators and leaders!

Bonnie Mak, Toastmaster, won Most Enthusiastic, one of her fave ribbons to win!

First speaker, Gaetane Ferland, “Born This Way!”

Listening to Gaétane’s speech

Pierre LeBlanc, Topicsmaster

Our excited visitor, Aziz Alromaih

Pierre explaining the improv game to our two players, Jon Pehleman & David Galipeau

Improv games … trying to stump the other player … Gaetane Ferland, Daniel Plante & Aziz Alromaih

Epitace Nobera, General Evaluator

Marna Murray, Content Evaluator, visiting from Vermont

Heysee Verdal, Delivery Evaluator

Sapandeep Randhawa, Content Evaluator

Jon Pehleman, Grammarian

Bonnie Mak, Toastmaster, won Most Enthusiastic, WOOHOO!

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Meeting #019 – Building & Rebuilding a Club – February 25, 2017

Chairing our meeting was Ivan Mose, past president of Dorval City Toastmasters, our parent club. Thanks for coming by!

Next, we were honoured by a visit from Laurence Péchadre Lenoir, District 61 Club Growth Director, who presented an informative workshop “Building & Rebuilding a Club” about being a Club Sponsor, Mentor, or Coach.

It was exciting to welcome so many visitors from various clubs, who added their own special flare to their roles … and a lot of fun too as Laurence led us through a group activity followed by partnered exercises. How we wish the workshop could have been longer, there was so much to discuss!

Geoff Brown, Topicsmaster, hosted a challenging THINK FAST! Session. Gaétane Ferland, GE, led us through a solid COACHING SESSION. And Bonnie Mak, Toastmaster, won Most Enthusiastic.

See you at our next awesome meeting!

Ivan Mose, Chairperson

Laurence Péchadre Lenoir, District 61 Club Growth Director – Building & Rebuilding a Club

Laurence Péchadre Lenoir, District 61 Club Growth Director – Building & Rebuilding a Club

Listening intently to Laurence speak

Partner exercises for the workshop

Geoff Brown, Topicsmaster

Round-robin evaluation during COACHING SESSION

Bonnie Mak, Toastmaster, won Most Enthusiastic

Group shot, what a great meeting!

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Meeting #018 – February 11, 2017

Thanks to the Toastmasters who braved the snowstorm to come out to join us! We had a small quality meeting focusing on “How to be Top Dog at Table Topics” (aka, how to win the upcoming contest!), which allowed everyone to do a table topic and get a round-robin evaluation. If you’re interested in knowing what you missed, email us and I will send out what was covered!

Before our THINK FAST! Session though, we had David Galipeau present his speech “Limited to Limitless, a Journey in the Realm of the Infinite,” in preparation for his club’s International Speech Contest. David, hope our 3-part in-depth evaluation helped you to hone your speech!

Our General Evaluator, Epitace Nobera, summed up our meeting perfectly … “I learnt a lot.”

Most Enthusiastic went to … we decided not to vote since ALL of us are TOP DOGS!

Good luck to all in your upcoming contests!

Joh Pehleman, Toast & Content Evaluator

Epitace Nobera, General Evaluator

David Galipeau listening intently to his speech evaluations


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Meeting #017 – January 28, 2017

We welcomed Concordia Toastmasters to help them kick off their educational tour, “Concordia Represents” a project initiated by Beyond Words member, Giridhar Raghunathan, under the guidance of his mentor, Bonnie Mak. (Beyond Words is the place to go for advanced mentoring!)

Coordinating this project helped Giridhar complete an important CL credit. Concordia’s goal for this new program is to help educate their members as well as build inter-club relationships, while also allowing a member to achieve a CL credit by organizing the visit and encouraging colleagues to attend the target club.

Giridhar, our Toastchair, was excited to introduce our two speakers:

  • Myriam Azzi (President, Concordia TM) – CC6: Vocal Variety – “I Count Blessings” … Myriam asked for a detailed evaluation, and that is certainly what she got from the Beyond Words 3-part evaluation!
  • Gaétane Ferland – CC8: Get Comfortable with Visual Aids – “Can I recycle you or not? Hum!” … who told us about what she did with fur collected from her cat, Jasmine … too funny! Another speech completed for her 2nd CC.

We then had a most hilarious THINK FAST! Session with Topicsmaster, Artem Ploujnikov, and all that were called upon during “PowerPoint Karaoke” did an exceptional job.

Most Enthusiastic went to Gaétane Ferland and Bonnie Mak, our General Evaluator, who led a very insightful Coaching Session.

All in all, another fun meeting, and wonderful getting to know the Concordia Toastmasters members who came to visit. I wonder which club they will visit next …

Giridhar Raghunathan, Toastchair, opening up the meeting

Shahbaz Ali, Toast

Gaétane Ferland and Artem Ploujnikov, Topicsmaster

Gaétane Ferland, “Can I recycle you or not? Hum!”

Gaétane’s cat, Jasmine, the subject of her hilarious speech about knitting with yarn made from Jasmine brushings

An attentive audience

Most Enthusiastic – Gaétane Ferland & Bonnie Mak

We are such a fun bunch of Toastmasters!

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Meeting #016 – Ready, Speak, Win! – January 21, 2017

If you’re going to have a delayed start to the new year, you might as well start it off with a BANG!

30 people attended Beyond Word’s contest prep workshop,”Ready, Speak, Win!” Thanks to our two extraordinary presenters with their fun and informative presentations:

  • Rick Chandler, 2016 District 61 Evaluation and Table Topics Champion (just two of his multi-District wins) – “Storytelling for the Win!”
  • Pierre LeBlanc, past Division F Director and judge extraordinaire – “The Judge’s Perspective”

This was followed by two heated rounds of Table Topics contest simulations (we even held a contestant briefing!)

Round 1 Contestants (in their speaking order):

If you could time travel to the future, to when would you travel, and why?

1. Azfan Jaffeer
2. Gaétane Ferland
3. David Galipeau
4. Marius Mullerhoff
5. Bob Currie

Round 2 Contestants (in their speaking order):

What bad decision led you to an important life lesson?

1. Tim Halderson
2. Todd Gaetien
3. Alireza Azizkhani
4. Raymond Brisebois
5. Michelle Christa Smith

Lots of laughs and even some tears were shed. Awesome evaluations by Rick, Pierre, and our surprise judges.

And the winners were … EVERYONE who came out to the workshop!

What you put into Toastmasters is what you get out, and it is always inspiring to see such motivated members learning, sharing, and growing together.

Good luck with your contests!

[group pics to come!]

Rick Chander, multi-time District champion, “Storytelling for the Win!”

Pierre LeBlanc, past Division F Director, “The Judge’s Perspective”

Pierre LeBlanc, judge extraordinaire

An attentive audience

Azfan Jafeer, prepping for his first Table Topics contest

Marius Mullerhoff declaring his intention to WIN his club Table Topics contest

Enjoying the moment

A wonderful group of Toastmasters!

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