7 Ways Conversation

Video Training:

7 Ways to Make a Conversation With Anyone

A TED Talk with Malavika Varadan

by Keith Maderer, Club Growth Director

Malavika Varadan Video - 50%

As we all work on building a stronger club, sometimes having a genuine conversation with a guest or new member can be challenging. In this video, Malavika shares 7 great ways to initiate a conversation that will engage and encourage others to feel welcome. Here is a list of her 7 main points. If the titles don’t ring a bell… you better watch the video.

  1. The First Word Floodgates
  2. Skip the Small Talk
  3. Find the “Me-Toos”
  4. Pay a Unique Compliment
  5. Ask for an Opinion
  6. Be Present and Make Eye Contact
  7. Name, Place, Animal, Thing

It will help you grow and help you build stronger relationships with your club, members and guests.

The video is only 15:22 minutes long, with many real life stories and examples. I hope you enjoy Malavika’s bubbly personality and guidance as much as I did.

Click here to watch the entire video – https://youtu.be/F4Zu5ZZAG7I

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Ellen’s End Of Year

Ellen Pieklo’s – Our End Of Year Accomplishments

Ellen Pieklo

Dear District 65 Toastmasters,

We’re quickly approaching the end of a fast-paced Toastmaster year. As I look back, it’s incredible to see how much work takes place in a District and we’ve accomplished a lot:

  • Created and published a monthly newsletter and updated web site to enable members to stay engaged with happenings around the District
  • Trained 100% of our District Executive Council members and conducted multiple District Council Meetings
  • Attended District Leadership Training for Trio members in British Columbia and cast votes for our International Directors and Officers
  • Conducted club officer training in both the fall and spring increasing our levels of officers trained to well over 50 %
  • We were represented at the International Conference by Jonathan Brooks from Postprandial as part of the International Speech Contest
  • Preparing for the 2018 District Leadership Training in Chicago, IL and training of District Officers on June 16, 2018
  • Awarded Joseph Babcock the District 65 International Speech Contest Winner and supporting him on his journey to the International Contest levels at the International Convention
  • Hosted the Final Fall Conference in Buffalo, NY, as directed by Toastmasters International, celebrating with a 2 day event
  • Conducted our Spring Conference in Binghamton, NY, where we voted on the District Officer Positions
  • Successfully rolled out the new Pathways Education Program, under the guidance of Sam Mehta, DTM, having the highest training rate for clubs of our region
  • Awarded the Communication and Leadership Award to Randi Quackenbush for her work with the Speakers Bureau, enabling community members to carry their voices to Washington, DC
  • Established 7 new clubs and have 11 more clubs in the charter process
  • Met our goal of being distinguished in terms of membership payments.

This list continues to expand and it would be great to give credit to any single person. That’s just not possible. These are the fruits of our District 65 members. We’ve seen many open houses and recently I attended an open house, where over 10 different Toastmasters attended to provide their support to a club that was membership-challenged.

When we work together, our Toastmasters experience grows, our relationships grow, and the results just seem to flow. In saying that, I would like to thank each and every member for enabling me the experience of serving as your District Director for 2017-2018. I hope that in the future, I can continue to serve as I’ve seen so many Past District Governors and Past District Directors continue to do, each and every day.

I wish each of you an exciting Pathways and Toastmasters journey.


Ellen Pieklo, DTM

Your District 65 Director 2017-2018


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Of The Year Awards – 2018

District 65 – Of The Year Awards

Beginning June 1, 2018, District 65 will be accepting nominations for the annual awards: Toastmasters of the Year; Area Director of the Year; Division Director of the Year; and Area Director of the Year. The district has the option of awarding the Phoenix Club of the Year Award. District 65 will open nominations so that clubs rising out of the ashes may be recognized, where a club may not have been observed at the District Trio level.

The descriptions of these awards and nomination forms are contained below. The forms will also be placed on the web site for easy access.

Please remember that all forms must be received by June 30, 2018. Please submit to

District 65 Annual Awards

The recipients of the “Of the Year” awards will be selected by immediate past Trio of officers, chaired by the district director, who served during the year for which the awards are being made (The Immediate Past District Director, as of July 1). The committee may include as many members as the chair deems necessary. Area directors who served during the year for which the awards are being selected will not be members of the committee to select Area Director of the Year. Area directors and division directors who served during the year for which the awards are being selected will not be members of the committee to select Division Director of the Year. The selection committee will select the recipients of the Toastmaster of the Year, the Area Director of the Year, the Division Director of the Year, and the Phoenix Club of the Year, which may be given at the discretion of the district director awards. The of the year awards will be awarded at the annual fall Leadership Breakfast. The awards include:

Toastmaster of the Year Award: This “Toastmaster of the Year Award” will be based upon the form provided in Appendix E of this document and other criteria as deemed appropriate by the selection committee, which will consist of the District Trio. Each member in good standing, other than voting members of the executive committee, (area director and above) is eligible to participate in the contest each year, regardless of their length of membership. The district should encourage the clubs to participate in the Toastmaster of the Year Award at club level. A similar award is encouraged at area and division levels. At all levels, the award is to be based on Toastmaster activities performed during the current Toastmaster year (July 1st to June 30th). For the District Toastmaster of the Year award, the deadline for submitting the forms to the district director is June 30th of the year being considered. Members are encouraged to submit the application form on his or her behalf, or on behalf of another member. Area directors will ensure that each club has a copy of the application form. A comprehensive list of past recipients of this award should be kept in the district historical records. Typically, the award is given to a member not serving in a District Leadership role.

Click Here to Download a Nomination Form – Toastmaster OTY


Area Director of the Year Award: The “Area Director of the Year Award” will be based upon the form shown and responsibilities contained in the District Leadership Handbook, as well as other criteria as deemed appropriate by the district director who shall chair the Trio selection committee. The deadline for submitting the forms to the district director is June 30th of the year being considered. A comprehensive list of past recipients of this Award should be kept in the district historical records.

Click Here to Download a Nomination Form – Area Director OTY

Division Director of the Year Award: The “Division Director of the Year Award” will be based on the form shown and responsibilities contained in the District Leadership Handbook, as well as other criteria as deemed appropriate by the district director who shall chair the Trio selection committee. The deadline for submitting the forms to the district director is June 30th of the year being considered. A comprehensive list of past recipients of this Award should be kept in the district historical records.

Click Here to Download a Nomination Form – Division Director OTY

Phoenix Club of the Year Award: The “Phoenix Club of the Year Award” may be given at the discretion of the district director to the club, which magnificently rises up from the ashes of low membership and morale during the district year to charter strength. The deadline for executive committee members to submit nominations to the district director is June 30th of the current district year. A list of the past recipients of this award should be kept in the district historical records.

District Officers Can Send their Nomination To Our District Director – Ellen Pieklo, DTM – email: 


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Member Spotlight – Dalar Nazarian – Paper Cuts

Member Spotlight:

Dalar Nazarian

Dalar Nazarian of Praxair Toastmasters

By Keith Maderer, Club Growth Director

During this past year, I had the opportunity to visit many Club, Area, Division contests. I saw many great speeches and was moved by several of them. One such speech was given by Dalar Nazarian of the Praxair Toastmasters at the Area 13 Contest. I asked Dalar if she would share her message with our district. I hope you find it as moving as I did. Here is Dalar’s story, in her own words.

How Words And A Voice Can Hurt… And Heal

By Dalar Nazarian – R&D Cryogenic Systems at Praxair, Inc

Speaking Out About Paper Cuts and the Healing Powers of a Toastmasters Speech

Seduced by Toastmasters’ promise to build me into a confident communicator and leader, I eagerly joined Praxair’s Toastmaster club in early 2017. To my delightful surprise, I’ve gained much more than just communication skills. Toastmasters has given me a vehicle to reflect, communicate, and execute. Because of Toastmasters, I more regularly reflect on the choices I make, the interactions I have, and the work I do. I share pieces of my life with fellow toastmasters through impassioned speeches. I find partners in unlikely places and become inspired to take action. My speech for the 2018 Spring International Speech Contest is just one example of this kind of Toastmasters journey.

This journey started on a stressful Sunday before I had to give my CC-6 speech at our lunchtime Toastmasters meeting. Out of ideas, I started to sort through the filing cabinets of my mind for any experience that had left me feeling passionate. Meanwhile, my mind was burdened with an infuriating experience I had that the day before. Since I could not shake the frustration, I decide to write about my experience as a speech. For hours I typed vigorously, at times stopping to stare at the ceiling in reflection and occasionally shedding a few tears. At the end of this process, I not only had a speech that brought me to the Area 13 International Speech Contest, but also a healing experience.

My speech titled, Paper Cuts, dealt with what it’s like to be a young girl trying to pursue your passions and take leadership in a world filled with micro-insults (paper cuts). In my six weeks of mentoring high school students to build a robot, I had watched my female mentees slowly lose confidence and passion as they dodged a series of unacceptable comments and actions by their male peers. Things like questioning the ability of the young girls and speaking over them when they tried to take a stance. These were incidents that were so small that it felt ridiculous to speak out about them. Yet these incidents happened so frequently that they became tiresome. While the young men in the group were not aware of the impact of their actions, the young girls clearly felt the burden of the dynamic between the sexes, experiencing what is commonly known as death by a thousand paper cuts. This left me recounting experiences I had when I was their age and wondering, in anger and hopelessness, if things will even change. Only through the process of writing my speech did I realize that things are changing. I realized that this change has to do with me and my counterparts. We as mentors are now aware of what these young women go through and we can help them speak up. We can help heal their paper cuts, one at a time, so that these brilliant girls can retain their passion and become future leaders.

Sharing my speech with fellow Toastmasters was inspiring. I had the chance to introduce some listeners to a new perspective on the issue and connect with other listeners over a shared frustration. After giving my speech at the Area 13 competition, I made connections with fellow toastmasters across the district who also care about and work in the realm of empowering young girls who want to pursue a science and engineering career. After the process of writing and delivering a single speech for Toastmasters I found myself empowered and excited about the potential collaborations on the horizon.

Dalar Nazarian

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May 2018 – Newsletter

Here is your May 2018 – District 65 Newsletter

May 2018 D65 Newsletter

Click Here or the Image Above to Download

District 65 Newsletter – May 2018

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Staying In Traditional Or Pathways

Staying In The Traditional Program… Or Jumping Into Pathways?

The question is being asked and will be asked and debated by some Toastmasters, whether they should continue with the traditional program or jump into Pathways or do work in both. The answer to all of the above three questions is yes, yes, and yes!

Each Toastmaster will need to decide which option and/or options will best suit his or her individual needs and goals, going forward. In addition, the availability of time in completing the traditional program during the two-year transition needs to be factored in.

All educational awards earned under the traditional program will always be recognized by Toastmasters International and will be shown in the history of awards earned in the individual member profile.

The final destination of the traditional program as well as in Pathways is the ‘Distinguished Toastmaster’ [DTM] award. Taking this destination as the basis and keeping the “other” requirements of the DTM award aside for the time being (i.e., serving as club officer, district officer, club mentor or coach, club sponsor or speechcraft or youth leadership program) and only count the number of speeches required in both programs, here is how it looks in general context.

At a very rough cut, the requirement for a traditional DTM is at least 45 speeches, usually more.

For Pathways, if we ignore the complexities of some of the level 4 & 5 projects [some of the level 4 & 5 projects are complex and will require additional time to complete them. For example, the HPL is a level 5 project, required in 3 Paths. So this can be construed by some as over simplification];  it could be said that there are about 28-30 speeches required for completion of the DTM award in Pathways.

Even when a member who has completed a Competent Communicator [CC] award, still has 35 speeches to do under the traditional DTM program. Switching to Pathways, he or she would only have to do between 28 to 30 speeches.

Even if a member had completed an ‘Advance Communicator, Bronze’ [ACB] award, it leaves about 25 additional speeches to give in the traditional program. Switching to Pathways would require few additional speeches. Also, the transition period deadline (now 2 years away and/or through June 30, 2020) is no longer relevant and the member can proceed at whatever pace he or she feels comfortable.

The above is a general synopsis of the traditional verses Pathways program. Each member will need to carefully examine his or her individual situation and proceed appropriately in continuing in the traditional program, jump into Pathways and do both, during the transition period.

Communicate and consult with your VP Education or a Pathways Guide or Ambassador to determine which course of action is best suited for you.

Sam Mehta, DTM

Pathways – Chief Ambassador and Guide

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Kudos From T I

Compliments and Kudos… FROM… Toastmasters International

You Know You’re Doing Well When Toastmasters International Wants Copies of Your Work Efforts!

Recently, District 65 hosted our spring conference in Binghamton, New York. As one of the last regions rolling out Pathways, the District Leadership team (Ellen, Lillian, & Keith) felt it was important to engage all members rather than having a breakout session. Sam Mehta, DTM and Pathways Chief Ambassador & Guide was concerned about keeping up the interest level for a plenary session.

Sam used an online interactive game to conduct the session. Rather than putting away phones, he asked people to bring out their phones. As members competed against other members, the audience became rowdy, all cheering on their favorite competitors.

After the conference, our guest International Director Radhi Spear talked about the excitement at the Toastmasters International Board of Directors Meeting and then wanted to know if District 65 could provide a copy to them.

Way to go Sam and all of our District 65 competitors!

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Fun Meeting – Break ICE Again

Fun Meeting Ideas

Breaking The Ice… Again

by Keith Maderer, Club Growth Director

What better way to kick off Pathways than to get back to basics and dig right in to the new Pathways Learning program. With our roll-out scheduled for May 15th, 2018, why not dedicate the next 2-4 meetings to reintroducing your members to each other.

Pathways - Ice Breaker Training Module

Whether you have been a Toastmaster for 2 days, 2 years, or 20+ years, each new Pathways participant will need to complete an Ice Breaker for Project 1 of each Path.

If you did your Ice Breaker some time ago, you might be pleasantly surprised by the challenge that is waiting for you with the new Pathways Ice Breaker. Plus most of your newer members did not have the opportunity to see it the first time around.

This will also encourage new members to give their Ice Breaker as they watch their fellow toastmasters work through the new program along side them.

Here is a link to the Pathways Ice Breaker so everyone can get a head start.

Click Here to Access: (no login required)

Pathways – ICE BREAKER – Training Module

or copy this link into your browser:


Check it out and give it a try. Even before our roll-out happens, you will be able to receive credit for your new Ice Breaker under the Pathways program… as soon as we go LIVE.

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Division A – Evaluation Workshop

Division A – Evaluation Workshop

AM Lockport will be hosting an Evaluation Workshop on Saturday, May 19th, 2018 from 9:00-2:00pm at Lockport High School – Room 230, 250 Lincoln Avenue, Lockport, NY 14094.   Click Here to Download the PDF

Lockport Eval Workshop

All District 65 members are welcome to join in on learning how to evaluate effectively and offer opportunities to give speeches throughout the day.

Workshop Begins at 9:00 am with the presentation and then multiple speeches followed by open and group evaluations until 12:00 noon. From 12:00 noon until 2:00 pm, additional speeches will be shared and practice evaluations will be given. 

If you would like to present a speech for evaluation, you must register in advance and provide your toastmasters project details, written introduction and evaluation guide in advance.

For more information please contact:

AM Lockport – Club President – Deborah Franco

Email: or

Phone: 716-308-7100

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Business Council Meeting 4-21-2018

District 65 Business Council Meeting

During the business council meeting on April 21st, 2018 in Binghamton, NY, elections were conducted, alignments were reviewed, and prior minutes approved for the District Council. To view these documents, use the following link: http://tmdistrict65.org/spring-2018-conference/2018-business-meeting/.

Changes include:

  • – Minutes of the business council meeting
  • – Updates to the November business council minutes
  • – Updates to the club alignments, based upon the new clubs coming into the district.

What do you need to do? Please review the Business Council Minutes. During the fall council meeting, there will be a vote to approve these minutes. We need your help to ensure accuracy of our facts. Please send any recommended changes to our District 65 Director, Ellen Pieklo at before June 30, 2018.

We hope you enjoyed the business meeting and an opportunity to learn about district business and your ability to be part of management of our district.

Thanks to all who attended.

Your District Trio,

Ellen, Lillian, & Keith

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