The Toastmaster’s Journey

Toastmaster's Journey1

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Joining Toastmasters International has affected my life in many positive ways and opened up a lot of opportunities that would not have been there had I not taken that step, and continued the journey.

From my first speech at a Toastmasters Club meeting (where I could not sleep the night before and could hardly eat on the day) in front of 20 members to the amazing experience I had last Sunday is testament to the wealth of personal growth, in terms of confidence, communication and leadership that Toastmasters International provides.

Last Sunday, I was the ‘Test Speaker’ for the District 90 Toastmasters Evaluation Contest at the Annual Conference which was held at Rooty Hill RSL.

A ’Test Speaker’ in Toastmasters delivers a speech that is then evaluated by contestants, who are then judged to see who is the best evaluator by a panel of judges.

18405363_10209459931199732_1520567314_oGetting to deliver a 7 minute speech in front of over 100 people with many Distinguished guests including Mike Storkey, the current International President of Toastmasters International, is an experience that I will cherish for a long, long time.

Receiving speech evaluations from the Top 6 Evaluators in District 90 is something I am very, very grateful for. I learnt a great deal that day.

18426614_10209459931719745_1134015842_oIf you are looking for a way to gain confidence, grow personally and develop your communication and leadership skills, Toastmasters International is waiting for you…

Click on ‘Find a Club’ in the link http://www.toastmasters.org and start your journey today!

David Johnson
Camden Toastmasters
28 April 2017

Public Speaking In Your Pocket!

Back in 1986 I joined Campbelltown Camera Club (now known as Macarthur Photographic Society). After 4 years there I was asked if wanted to present a talk on ‘Close-Up & Still-Life’ Photography.
Apart from a basic Presentation Skills course, I had never done any Public Speaking courses. Over time, I did some other Camera Club presentations and the ‘passion for Photography got me through.’ 😃
In 1995, I took on the challenge of becoming a Photography Judge and visited Camera Clubs, evaluating images and judging at Exhibitions up to National level etc.
I didn’t like being up in front up people but again, the passion for photography saw me through.
As time went by I started to source out material that would help me be a better speaker in public.
Long before I joined Toastmasters International (in 2008), I started purchasing public speaking/communication books and now have a collection of nearly 100 books relating to communication.
One of the early books I purchased is a very handy little book that is packed with tips and it’s small enough to fit in a coat pocket. I often still take it with me, and when I am waiting in a queue or waiting for an appointment, I will flip through it and ingest another brilliant piece of advice.
Contents include:img_7486
  • Your Voice
  • How Your Voice Works
  • Being Heard
  • Variety in speech
  • Clarity in speech
  • Microphone technique
  • Voice Care & Development

112 pages of public speaking Gold!

Over time, I will highlight some of the other Communication books that I find valuable and still refer to from time-to-time.
Written by David Johnson
7 February 2017

State Of Mind

When you go out to photograph, what ‘state of mind’ are you in?

Do you go out with an idea in mind, or do you ‘free-wheel?’

Both approaches are valid, depending on what you want to achieve. I have to say that for many years I would either pick a subject e.g. I might choose to photograph a Sunrise but have no real goal of what I wanted to capture, and so I would come home with anything, or sometimes I would just set off with my camera and ‘follow the light’ and see where it would take me.

IMG_0456Both of the above approaches produced some excellent images, some average images and of course many ‘learning experiences.’

One day at a meeting of a ‘Photo Group’ I was involved with, we were viewing a of my images when one of the members, Chris Donaldson asked me ‘what I was trying to communicate with the image?’ My answer was that “I wasn’t trying to communicate anything” I just merely  took the image for fun.

As Chris mentioned, whether or not I was intentionally trying to communicate anything, didn’t matter as I was still communicating. That day, I changed the way I viewed photography. Up to that point (even though subconscious1016358_10204241084941073_5423550170437646927_nly I knew I was communicating) I wasn’t photographing for that reason. I was just photographing because I had fun.

I still have fun to this day, but since that conversation I have approached photography in a different way, in a more thoughtful way.

Next time you go out to photograph, think about why you are going and what you want to communicate?

Written by David Johnson
November 2016

Styles, Schools and Movements

One of my favourite books on my Art shelf is “Styles, Schools and Movements” The Essential Encyclopaedic Guide to Modern Art by Amy Dempsey.

Commencing with Art in 1860 to the present day, it explores 100 styles, schools and img_5984movements in depth and contains a brief description of 200 more.

Each chapter includes a headlining quote from an Artist which offers food for thought, a detailed analysis on the ‘style, school or movement’, example images, references to key collections and books for further reading.

I find it an absolute delight to ‘dip into’ and it provides a great deal of inspiration for my own Art, Poetry, Writing and Photography.

I have the First Edition. A link to the Second Edition can be found below. Enjoy!

David Johnson
October 2016