This Week in Toastmasters: The Presidential Drinking Game!

Grab your favorite bottle of scotch, tell the family you’ll be “working late” and flip the television to C-SPAN, cause it’s…


My friends and I invented a new game. It’s called “The Presidential Election Drinking Game.” Here’s how it works. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, whenever a political commercial comes on the television (or the radio. Or youtube (or smoke signals?)), you have to take a drink of alcohol. How MUCH alcohol depends on the following potential scenarios:

  • If it’s a negative ad, take two drinks.
  • If it’s an ad about how much the other candidate lies, take four drinks.
  • If it’s an ad with a sob story about someone who lost their job because of the candidate in question and his/her failed policies, take three drinks and put on a hard hat.
  • If one of the candidates allegedly hates women/freedom/homosexuals/America/cows/baseball/the working poor/senior citizens/rich people/capitalism/socialism/whatever-ism, take two drinks.
  • If one of the candidates is photoshopped to look like a clown, take 2 drinks and do cartwheels.
  • If there are pineapples involved, take six drinks.
  • If it’s an ad that refers to another country as “cheaters,” take five drinks and order takeout from the nearest restaurant that pretends to serve food from that country.
  • If someone around you says “I’m [candidate] and I approve this message” after a commercial that wasn’t intentionally political but could be construed as such by adding the aforementioned phrase, take 10 drinks.
  • If you understood that last bullet point, you’re not drinking enough. Take another drink.

It’s lots of fun! Trust me. I haven’t been sober since February, I’ve gained 50 pounds, and I’m scheduled for a liver transplant next week. That means I’m winning, right? … Right?


Last week was off the chain as the kids used to say (shortly after I realized I was no longer part of the group known as “the kids” and had transferred into the category known as “the man.” But not a good “the man” like “You’re the man now, Dog!” More like “I’m tired of ‘The Man’ keeping me down! Let’s go fight ‘The man.’ Down with ‘The Man!’” Just for the record, I don’t like being the man. I’d much rather be off the chain. Ya Feel me?). I wish you could have been there…

It was mental and physical well-being week in Toastmasters as Sonja Thornbloom gave us some strategies to reduce stress in our lives with her speech “You: Stress Less,” and Lameka Howard told us about a disease that hits close to home with her speech “Sickle Cell Disease 101.” Thanks a lot for both speeches! Jason led us in a Halloween-themed Table Topics session and Crystal managed the evaluations like a pro (as always).

Thanks for coming, everyone!


Yingbi Zheng is the Toastmaster this week. We have two speakers so far, but we still have some roles to fill. If you signed up for something at the meeting last week, please go to the website and officially sign up.


A few weeks ago, I bored you with info about the Competent Communicator. This week, I get to bore you with info about the Competent Leader. Now is a good time for a bathroom break. Don’t worry. This won’t take long.

Most people think of the Competent Leader manual as “that other book I got when I signed up for Toastmasters and then lost under my couch for six months.” But it’s  actually got some good stuff in it. Just as the CC walks us through the nuts and bolts of public speaking, the CL manual walks us through the basics of leadership. You’ve got ten projects to work through, starting with simple stuff like “listening” and moving to more advanced topics like “organizing and planning.” Towards the end of the book, you get into more complicated leadership activities like chairing a contest or mentoring a new member. And, before you know it, you’re leading people in our Toastmasters clubs toward success!

Or, if you’re like me, encouraging everyone to get drunk watching political commercials.

Each time you take on a role at a Toastmasters meeting, you can get credit towards a project in your CL manual. I earned my first CL in about 8 months just by showing up and getting involved in stuff. I’m 99% finished with a second CL, and I recently started on my third trip through the book.

Which brings up an interesting point…


Yes, you can earn the same award multiple times. Lance Miller, the 2005 World Champion of Public Speaking, does several CC manuals each year. Larry Goldsmith, the District 40 Governor, has 5 DTMs. I’m considering doing my CC again once I get through an Advanced Communicator Gold award.

The advantage of doing the same award twice is you get a better perspective the second (or third … or fourth) time around. You know you’re strengths and weaknesses, so you can address those areas in which you hope to improve more efficiently.

For the club, having people earn multiple awards affects our standing in the Distinguished Club Program (DCP). This is the criteria they use to tell how successful we are throughout the year. The DCP has ten goals:

  1. Two CCs
  2. Two more CCs
  3. One ACB, ACS, or ACG
  4. One more ACB, ACS, or ACG
  5. One CL, ALB, ALS, or DTM
  6. One more or CL, ALB, ALS, or DTM
  7. Four new members
  8. Four more new members
  9. Minimum of four club officers trained during each of two training periods
  10. One membership renewal report and one club officer list submitted on time

Last year, out of over 180 clubs, our club was one of the few to achieve all 10 goals. We’d like to do that again this year. Here’s where we stand so far this year:

We’ve achieved five out of the ten goals, which ties with the Franklin club for most in our division. The next biggies on our list:

  • We need two people to get a CC (how many of you are close?)
  • We need one more person to get a CL (this is why we want you to bring your CL manual each week).
  • Get a few more members.


I know. I know. I’m almost done. Why don’t you go get a drink or something? I should be finished by the time you get back.


We have until the end of June 2013 to complete these goals. Chances are we’ll get all 10 points again unless something crazy happens. When the officers met at the beginning of the year, we looked at the DCP and realized we’d most likely hit all ten points fairly easily. That lead us to ask, “Is it possible for us to get all 10 points and still not be successful?”

Some of the unsuccessful things we saw happening were

  • Members who joined for six months and left, never having given a speech or taken a role.
  • People who spoke once or twice, then fell off the bandwagon never to be heard from again.
  • People who were afraid to speak or even take a role in a meeting.
  • People who wanted to become better speakers, but didn’t know where to go.

The officer team decided if these things continued, we’d ultimately be an unsuccessful club, even if doubled the educational goals in the DCP. To that end, we looked at ways to address everyone’s needs. We came up with two additional goals:

Additional Goal #1: A comprehensive mentoring program.

We want every new member to have a mentor. We don’t want that mentoring relationship to be assigned, either. We want you to work with someone you’re comfortable with. If you’re new and you’re a bit unsure of how to proceed, ask around. If you’re friends with someone in the club and you think they might help you out, ask them to be your mentor. Conversely, if you’ve been around for  a while and you see someone who needs help, offer to mentor them. I’ve learned a lot as a speaker and as a leader from mentoring others. Plus, its fun!

Even if you’ve been around for a while, it’s always good to have a mentor. I have several mentors in Toastmasters. Some people help me to be a better officer and a better president. I’ve said it a few times but, just in case you haven’t heard it … I have no idea what I’m doing. Anything I’m even remotely successful at as an officer, a mentor, or as president is because I have people much smarter than me helping me out. I have several speaking mentors, too. I meet with them every once in a while to run through speech ideas, discuss what worked and what didn’t, and talk about where I can improve. Being mentored is a good idea, no matter how far along you are in your Toastmasters experience.

Ask for help. If you would like a mentor or would like to BE a mentor, talk to an officer. We’ll help you out

(side note: I feel like I’m talking like a politician. I just took a drink of scotch to compensate. You should, too. I’m Joe Shaw and I approve this message).

Additional Goal #2: Expand our reach

Many of the steps beyond the CC and CL involve interaction with other clubs in our Area, Division and District. Sometimes that means helping out with events like an Area or division contest. Other times that means planning special events (aka an “HPL”…we’ll look at that in the coming weeks). To that end, we like to keep you informed about all the events coming down the pipe that will allow you the opportunity to meet and interact with people outside our club. This should allow you, when you’re ready, to be a successful District officer or plan an awesome District event.

Which brings us to our final point for the day…


  • Come support Shirley McPherson and Steve Nasdeo (from Toast What Matters) in the Division Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests this weekend.
  • The District 40 Fall Conference is November 2-4. More info here.
  • Sign up for future roles at

Have a great day, everyone. Don’t break anything.

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