Club Articles and Updates!


  •  2017 Humorous Speech and Evaluations Contests Become “Instant Club #28 Legend”!! 
  • President Distinguished Award Progress!
  • A Message from Club #28 President Detra Flood
  • The most Important Minute of Your Club #28 Speech by David Slaten CC
  • Why I joined & How much does it cost & How it works by Steve Wood CC
  • Speaker Tips



Contest speakers Renee Ellis, Ken Walley DTM, Diana Walley ATMG, CL; Chi Simons DTM and Zaq Perez

From the first-time visitor, to the most veteran DTM; the performances from the August 31, 2017 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Humorous Speech and Evaluations Contests were lavishly lauded with the highest of praise. These contests genuinely deserved such expressions of worship from a appreciative and grateful audience. “Now that is was an impressive evening of sheer fun and entertainment!” said one visitor. Another Toastmaster raved “I laughed, I learned… most of all, I’m really glad I came!” This magical evening started with the call to order by Sgt. At Arms Latisha Simpson who introduced David Hundeby to give the invocation before the start of our scheduled events. David fittingly offered a quote often attributed to Abraham Lincoln but was really first published over 100 years later by Nobel Prize Winning Scientist Dennis Gabor: “You cannot predict the future. You create the future.”

The brilliant future of this evening could not have been predicted. However, the incredible effort of the Contest Master Marie Leoffler DTM definitely helped create it. Masterfully weaving a tapestry of entertainment, organization and humor; Marie put on a clinic of how to produce a remarkable set of contests. Her performance as a Contest Master was well worth the visit to the Herndon Branch Library on her own merits alone.

Going immediately into the first contest, the Evaluation Contest; Marie introduced our Chief Judge Daphne Hart ACS, ALB. Assuring us that these contests were beyond approach and to the letter of Toastmasters International standards, Daphne proclaimed “Let the Contests Begin!”

A “test” speech was first given by Brenda Smith ACB, CL. Brenda’s speech titled “Something for everyone!” was a speech that traced the “Toastmaster’s journey” of Brenda from her first nervous Table Topics question (“I spoke for a whole 10 seconds.”) to her success not only in mastering communication proficiency, but in learning leadership ability as well. After being given 5 minutes to prepare their evaluations, the three evaluators were brought in one by one to explain their thoughts on Brenda’s speech.

First Diana Walley ATMG, CL brought out parallels with her own personal toastmaster experience that she had discovered in Benda’s speech. She noted that like Brenda, she was also married to a “Mr. Toastmaster” and how she had also not only come to learn but now comes to “have fun.”

The second Evaluator Zaq Perez spoke about the strengths of Brenda’s speech and what she might do to “tweak it” and take it to another level. He offered excellent advice.

The last contest evaluator was Ken Walley DTM. Ken praised Brenda’s speech for being the perfect speech for the many guests present and for the newer Toastmasters in the room. “This was a goodwill speech for Toastmasters” Ken said, “Do I want to join Toastmasters after hearing your speech? Sign me up!”

There was a short intermission while the judges had the unenviable task of picking a winner. Soon though the voice of Sergeant at Arms Latisha Simpson boomed through the meeting room, calling everyone back to order for the main event, the Humorous Speech Contest.

Speaking first in this event was Zaq Perez with a humorous speech titled “My Journey to Becoming a CPA” about an unlikely subject for a comedic speech: accountants. Zaq still found many hilarious stories about this less-than-glamorous career choice. He showed us how underneath the cloak of financial number- crunching blandness was a dynamic, exciting… and very funny, side of CPAs.

Renee Ellis was next with an uproarious speech titled “Confessions of a Single Woman”. Renee told how family and friends conspired to solve her “single problem” mostly against her will, with very funny results. Renee, has found herself trying to convince seemingly everyone like those who force her to try to catch the bouquet at weddings, arrange blind dates and sign her up on internet computer dating sites; that she really is comfortable and happy being single! This speech was a scream!

Ken Walley DTM’s speech was titled “So This Is Hell” told of planting the seeds of a Trinidad Scorpion pepper when the pepper itself took revenge on him for all of the peppers that he had ever eaten in his life. “My head went up in flames!” said Ken as he explained his heroic efforts to stop the insane pain that engulfed him. Ken’s description of his intense agony was hilariously funny!

The last speaker was Chi Simons DTM with another hysterical speech titled “Husband Material”. To date Chi, a potential mate had to run the gauntlet of 10 judgements (interviews? Interrogations?) by Chi’s parents, brothers and sisters! They had very strict rules but Chi was more interested in if he could cook! Finally, Chi found her true love on a date to a Kobe’s Japanese Steak House! Even so, Chi made him wait 5 years just so she was sure he was the right guy!

By the end of the humorous speech contest, many in the audience were laughing so hard that they were having trouble breathing. A few fell off their chairs and extra paper towels had to be brought in to dry the eyes of many a visitor. Amid complaints that the howling laughter was disrupting the library, somehow the pandemonium was brought back down to a functioning level and Contest Master Marie Leoffler DTM paid tribute to those who made this ultra-successful event possible: Timers Ken Blake DTM and Scott Maloney ACB, ALB; Vote Counters Amy Sims CC and Detra Flood CC, CL, Contest Sgt. At Arms Daniel Gutierrez and Latisha Simpson, Chief Judge Daphne Hart ACS, ALB and of course the judges who are always anonymous.

The time to announce the winners was here. Starting with the Evaluation Contest, it was revealed that Ken Walley DTM was the second-place winner and that Zaq Perez had won the 1st place trophy. Zaq had won his first ever Toastmasters contest.


The Humorous speech contest pronounced Chi Simons DTM as the 2nd place winner and Ken Walley DTM getting the grand prize trophy!


Ken and Zaq now go on to the Area 30 contest in September. Club #28 has a long history of producing legendary speech contests and the events of this evening certainty kept that tradition alive.


20170920_205909 (002)

Ken Walley DTM and Zaq Perez competed in the Area 30 Contest at the Siemens Building in Orlando on September 20, 2017. The competition for both the Humorous Speech and the Evaluation Contests were of the highest levels including representatives from all five clubs in Area 30. Both Club #28 members gave excellent efforts. Ken Walley DTM came in 2nd place in the Humorous Speech contest. Besides Ken and Zaq, Daniel Gutierrez, Renee Ellis CC, CL and Chi Simons DTM all helped Area Director Mona Cherkaoui ACB, ALB to create a truly entertaining evening.


By Vice President of Education Renee Ellis and  Website editor Kenneth Walley DTM

Club #28 has done something truly extraordinarily difficult for a Toastmaster Club to accomplish. We won six straight President’s Distinguished Awards from 1999 to 2006! We were able to achieve our 7th, 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th, 13th, 14th & 15th  President’s Distinguished Award in 2009 through 2017!  Now we have set a NEW RECORD for consecutive President’s Distinguished Awards at Club #28 with 9 straight years in a row!

The award is rare even among large Toastmaster Clubs because it requires that all of the club’s members take a part in earning it.  It is the highest award that Toastmasters International can bestow upon an individual club, For a club our size to have accomplished this feat for 14 out of 17 years has been nothing less than remarkable. But we believe that we should not rest on our laurels! We have a wonderful opportunity to go for a “Sweet 16!” our 16th in 2017 / 2018, the 16th in the last 19 years…which would be truly remarkable. We will keep track here updating every week.  

We will need at least 20 members in our club on June 30, 2018…I challenge this club to have at least 40 by then! We have: 28 paid Members on December 1, 2017.  GOALS ACCOMPLISHED TO DATE: 7! (Starting on July 1, 2017)

GOAL #1: TWO CC’S: (Competent Toastmaster / Completing Basic Manual): 1.) Detra Flood CC   2.) Renee Ellis CC 

GOAL #2: TWO MORE CCs! 1.) Zaq Perez CC   2.)  

GOAL #3: ONE AC (Advanced Toastmaster) Bronze, Silver or Gold) 1.) Susan Storma ACB 

GOAL #4: ONE MORE ACB, ACS or ACG:  1.) Daphne Hart ACS

GOAL #5: ONE CL, ALB, ALS (Competent Leader Awards) or DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster Award): 1.) Renee Ellis CL 

GOAL #6: ONE MORE CL, ALB, ALS OR DTM: 1.) Chi Simons DTM 2.) Detra Flood CL 3.) Detra Flood ALB

GOAL #7: FOUR NEW MEMBERS! 1.) Bob Steg  2.) Maureen Premo   3.) Emma Hutto   4.) Jordon Hutto 

GOAL #8: FOUR MORE NEW MEMBERS! 1.) Michael Adams 2) Eric Howard 3.)  4.)  

GOAL #9: AT LEAST FOUR OFFICERS TRAINED  (Attending TI Officer Training for both TM term sessions) July-August 2017:  Pres.; VPE; VPPR, VPM; Secretary; Treasurer; SAA  (7 of 7!).

January 2017: Pres.; VPE; VPPR; VPM; Secretary; Treasurer; SAA .

GOAL #10: SUBMITTED ON TIME ONE SEMI-ANNUAL PER CAPS AND ONE CLUB OFFICER LIST:Semi Annual (Per Caps) due by 9/30/2016 and 3/31/2018: Per Cap #1:) YES!   Per Cap #2:) Officer Lists due by 12/31/17  and 06/30/18: List #1:  List #2:) 

 Club #28 is also in easy reach of a 15th  President’s Distinguish award. We are going to keep going & ACHIEVE A “Sweet 16th!”  WE ROCK! 


Hello Fellow Toastmasters,
It is such an honor to be leading the best and oldest club East of the Rockies! 2017 will continue to a be a great year for Club #28. We’re starting the second half of the year with a BANG!

I titled the second half of year “Committed To the Finish line.” Our slogan for this Term: We’re not finish until it’s done. I want to take the time to thank all the former officers for a job well done for the first term of this year.

Special Thanks to Jack Wharton our Former Club President for Setting us up for success. We earned the President’s Distinguished Award the first half of the year for the 15th time, and we are looking forward to winning it again the second semester of 2017. There are some particular goals that I have for the Club for this term:
1. To secure the President’s Distinguished Award and earn 10/10 goals in the program.
2. To have fun and engaging meetings- In my Inaugural address, I made it clear that members’ Toastmaster membership is an investment and not a donation. I am looking forward to seeing more members involvement pushing themselves by participating in meeting leadership roles and stepping out of their comfort zone with their projects. We will have fun growing together!
3. I really would love to see more members complete their Competent Leadership Manual to earned their CL. Toastmasters is a public Speaking and Leadership organization. Excellent communication and leadership go hand in hand. Members will need both skills set to become more efficient in anything they will do in or outside the club. Members will be encouraged to bring their Competent leadership to meetings. In this way, they can keep track with completing the leadership projects, get involved with the club speech contests, and be ready to serve as an officer if called to do so!
4. I love to see more members participating in the publication part of Toastmasters. I will be encouraging members to write an article for our club’s website or the Toastmaster International Club Magazine.

These are four strong goals for us to aim for in the second half of 2017. I am honored to having the following officers by my side: VPE Renee Ellis, VPM Robert Bacchus, VPPR Alphaeus Flood, Treasurer Zaq Perez, Secretary Daniel Gutierrez, and Sergeant at Arms Latisha Simpson.

Let’s continue to make the rest of 2017 the year yet for Club 28!
Detra Flood



 The Most Important Minute of Your Club 28 Speech

By Davis Slaten CC

Whether you are new to Toastmasters or just new to Club 28 (as I am), we are all exposed to the same fundamental structure of a speech: Introduction, Body and Conclusion. Countless blog posts, lectures and books exist to convey wisdom on every nuance of these structural elements. I can’t contribute anything new to that deluge of quality instruction. Instead, I’d like to highlight something about Club 28 that is different from my experience at two previous Toastmasters Clubs. I don’t think its unique to Club 28 but is, in my opinion, the most valuable aspect of our weekly meetings. The most important minute of each speech is the minute of silence for writing individual feedback.
When I first joined a TM club, it was challenging to stand up and give my Icebreaker speech. I was relieved to have gotten through it. I was self-critical of my performance, but genuinely pleased to have not gone mute in front of a crowd. My evaluator gave praise and made a suggestion for future improvement. Unfortunately, I was still coming down from my adrenaline kick and really couldn’t take it all in. Getting comfortable with my fellow Toastmasters, it became easier and easier to stand up and talk to the group. Managing those nerves was a good result, but I confused it for wider progress in my “speech making” ability. My rate of improvement was diminished as a consequence. So my next three or four speeches went the same way: I would start at a good pace and then speed up more and more as I tried to fit everything in the allotted time.
The official evaluation speeches are certainly helpful. They can provide spot-on praise, suggestions for improvement and encouragement. But sometimes they don’t. A limit of three minutes is a tight timeframe, especially for an inexperienced evaluator who is struggling with their own nerves or challenges. A single opinion can sometimes be filled with bad advice wrapped in good intentions, even from experienced evaluators. And even great suggestions will be lost if we’re not ready to hear them.
I sensed the value of the individual feedback slips after our August 4th meeting this year. As Topicmaster for the evening I experienced some nervousness since it was my first “up front” role at Club 28. I made it through well enough and had some thoughts on what I could do better next time. Ken Blake (a four time Distinguished TM) gave me a slip of paper with his feedback after the meeting. I read it once, then twice. The input was excellent, supporting my own self-critique and explaining reasons for trying other changes. At home that night I sat down and made a checklist, using Ken’s input as a starting point, of everything I could do to better prepare as Topicsmaster. Now I can choose one element from that list each time I have that meeting role in the future. Thank you Ken for taking the time to share your thoughts.
The individual feedback sheets, compared to a single evaluation, will give a broad spectrum of input. Seeing the same suggestion from several people helps pinpoint our weakest skills. Experienced Toastmasters can provide more subtle suggestions or useful tools to tackle problem areas. Novice Toastmasters will share praise that reminds us how far we’ve come since our first speech. The best part? You can take it all home and digest it when you are ready.
Enjoy the personal accomplishment of preparing and delivering each speech in your Toastmaster journey, but the concluding handshake is not the end of your project. The project is done when you’ve identified a skill to purposefully improve in your next speech. Club 28 makes that possible with one minute of feedback for everyone, from everyone.


By Steve Wood CC, CL

We’ve all heard that the pen is mightier than the sword. The idea is that words have more power than weapons and this is true whether the words are written or spoken. Having good public speaking skills can enable a pauper to become a king. It can change you from being a mere spectator to being the one everyone is listening to.

In life we are all public speakers and our success is influenced by our ability to speak publicly. You may not be interested in ruling the planet but there are many other reasons to improve your speaking ability. Many people come to Toastmasters to help them with work related tasks. Maybe you just want to be more fun at the party. I am always interested in what motivates people.

If you have ever been to a Toastmasters meeting you may have some questions. I remember two questions I had and I could not seem to find the answers anywhere. They were “how much does it cost?” and “How does it work?” Toastmasters is a non-profit organization and the cost is minimal. My last membership renewal was $47 for six months. Your first six month membership might be as high as $70 because you get some books at that time. To find our “how it works” you can watch the short video we have on this website or you can just come by and visit, or both.

The way it works is that we all meet at the designated time and then we learn by doing. There are several opportunities for each member to speak at a Toastmasters meeting but the main opportunity is given to those who sign up to give a speech. A speech typically lasts from 5 to 10 minutes.

Nothing comes without effort and effort is easier when it is fun and you can see progress. This is one reason why Toastmasters works.

Become a Toastmaster and let it work for you!

Steve Wood, CC, CL

Past Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 President,


 5 Super Duper Basic Speaking Tips: Rehearse. Practice until you have confidence.

Practice in front of a mirror. Tape yourself while practicing until it sounds just the way you want it to sound. 2. Visualize. “See” the audience in your mind and how you would like them to react to different parts of your speech. 3. Give a performance, your audience will react to your emotions, actions and feelings as much as they will to the words. Speak from the heart. 4. No notes. Use sincerity and Conviction instead. 5 Use a conversational tone. Speak to your audience as if you were speaking to a single, close friend.

FIVE Non-Verbal ways to hold your Audience:

1. Vary the “tone” of your body language: A relaxed speech relaxes your audience and might put them to sleep. A rigid speech might have them thinking you are scolding them! You are not their mom! 2.You are what you wear! Dress for the part. A well dressed speaker demands respect. 3. Work the room! Speak to different “zones” and get out from behind the lectern. 4. Create the environment you want. Get to the location before your audience and have props, projectors and effects set up and ready to go. Create some “magic”! 5. Eye contact, eye contact, eye contact!  

Speech Writing Tips (From Paul Meunier, DTM):

1. Pick a Topic that interests you. 2. Pick a Topic that does NOT interest you! Almost any topic becomes interesting with a little research. 3.  Let your Ideas Flow. 4. Focus on Your Theme. Use outlining or mind-mapping to begin to get your ideas down. 5. Less is More. The shorter the speech, the better! 6. The Power of a Personal Story. 7. Practice your Speech. Rehearse OUT LOUD in front of a mirror, to a tape recorder, and with your mentor. 8. Memorize Your Beginning and Ending!

The Power of Speech, A Six Point Checklist:

  1. Strong Start. 2. Pause for Effect and Drama. 3. Eye Contact. 5. Enthusiasm and Energy. 5. Conversational Style. 6. Humor. 

Trite Phrases Guaranteed to Lose Your Audience (From Michael Joseph (DTM) :

  1. “Without Further ado…” 2. “Last but not least…” 3. None other than…” 4.At this point in time…” 5. “Let me turn over the lectern …” 6. As you probably already know…” 7. I don’t want to bore you, but…” 8. “Now as I was saying…” 9. “Thank you so much for having me…” 10. “This speaker needs no introduction…” 11. “Let’s give a BIG HAND to…” 12. “I’m Sorry ’bout that..”