30 Jun 2018

Meeting Mr & Mrs Paul E. White and Support from London to Kenya


Friday, I had the pleasure to met Paul E. White,whose wise explaining Pathways are still between the ten most visited, for so long now! 

Paul and his wife, Clelia, both from near Washington DC, are on honeymoon, and they passed by in London. 


They arrived late in London, after some adventures in the airport. We had a lunch together, and Paul gave me some wise advice and an idea what I could do for my Pathways DTM Project. 
Clelia, inspired my blogpost from yesterday, as I tried to show her my blog on her iphone. 

The time passed too fast, so much to tell each other! So happy that I was able to meet them in centre London!

I arrived by metro, called underground and the meeting point was in a café bar, where we finally had a lunch together.

So much to tell, so much to discuss! They both are now also members of my Witty Storytellers Online club, even of last months Paul could come less. I am looking forward when they will got time to tell us their stories, online. 

Saturday morning, Monica came to the Virtual Support Session, she told me the new team, BCM will come Monday afternoon. Monica asked me a lot of questions during the hour. Not the one I have prepared, but I answered with pleasure.

What is in Level 1 ? How you close a project?

This picture tells it (by Mark Snow) who is now through his 7 or 8th path, enjoying all of them a lot. Mastering fundamentals is very important, and we never do it enough.

I am now past my 6th Level one and today, one of my club VPE registered my 5th Level 4. Here we are with Monica from Kwanza Kenya, both of us will become presidents tomorrow, and care a lot for our club member and the new committee.


As you see from the background, I had prepared my blogpost about how you work as BCM, base camp manager. 

Instead she was interested in the projects of Level 1. Then Level 2. Then Level 3 and even those for the next two levels. I told about my experience of them and how I see them each, what I understood they finally asked from us.

All the long I was happy to tell and also sure all I said was recorded. At the end, I have realized, the recording was paused and I did not click on "resume recording". 

Nevertheless, Monica, VPE for one more day as me, and President of her club in Kenya from Sunday 1st July, was happy with all I told her. "The goal", she told me, "that next year, half of the club begin Pathways". We will have lot more to discuss, Monday and the next weekends with her and the team. I hope, other clubs will also get used to come to the Virtual Support Sessions. 

After the session, I found some old videos that answered to questions she asked. And some that could be useful for the next meeting, Monday. Time passed so fast for me! 

29 Jun 2018

View Web Version of this blog on iPhone

Today, I wanted to show my blog and how you can search in it. Till I realized, one has to go to the bottom of the post and click on "View web version". H
The red rectangle added by me so you can see where it is better. 

Till one does not click on View web version, one can see one post at a time and using > go to the previous or using later < to the next post. The right side of blog is missing. 

Here is what can be seen as Web Version:
Suddenly all the blog appears with the right side present too. At the top of the right side is the Search this blog : put in the tag words you want and the post where those words are first in the title and then in the text appear. One after other! 

In this way, you can also see the most visited blogposts (articles) and the archive with titles month by month, and going down, the links to some of my other blogs. 

More then half of you read this blog through iPhone, so I thought this information is important, in case you did not notice it till now. I just discovered it... today. 
The bottom only with View web version
Top of the Web version with Search and under it the Most Visited Posts
You can click and visit one of the ten most visited posts, or go look at the titles of archives, month by month or visit one of my other blogs. Nowadays, this is the only one in which I write day by day. 
Between almost 65,000 visits, this are the most visited posts. Did you read them? A click on any of them takes you directly to the article (post). But why not try instead first the search and look for what you are interested directly? Good discoveries!

28 Jun 2018

Telling personal stories connect us to each other

Stories we tell to each other with emotion, our own stories, even if changed a bit creatively to make the experience more compelling, communicate.

Emotions, our history and experiences connect us fast to each other. Deeper our story, more open we share our vulnerabilities, stronger we link. 

Storytelling, personal storytelling mostly, is what I believe in. What I tried to spread also in our storytelling online toastmaster club, called Witty Storytelling. From 1st of July, its President. 

As I already wrote in another post, we can go through a whole path, as I went also through a whole Competent Communicator manual in 2009, telling personal stories. So many happens to us, so much to tell! Any task we where given, we can tell the speech assigned as a story, link it to something that happened to us. 

What better to learn telling them better, then becoming a member of an online storytelling club? Soon, we will be open to anyone who wants to join us to learn about storytelling, and hone our skills. 

I have begun to study, read, make exercises in writing first, for almost 20 years for now, while publishing online (in French) my diaries. The context was not there sometime, and had to add stories to explain it. That was of course, only the starting point. 

At my age, I have had a very turbulent life, but all of us had ups and downs and things we had overcome. We overcome even the Pathways User Interface! Did we not? 

With time, it will improve. Meanwhile, we help each other to cope. We learn to do with what we have. We grow helping, and we grow doing and learning from the great projects we have be given and that we can do in so many different ways! Sharing also in this blog, my experiences I hope gives also inspiration that my stories told in my clubs does. Mostly online, in my three online clubs, or in the clubs near the town I live.
Here is a story one can tell, a story all in a candid photo I took yesterday, across the train station. I went to the post office, on the way I see this young woman with a small kid, probably sleeping. She is drinking thee or coffee, and, at the same time using her mobile device, smart phone. 

Enjoying a "quiet moment" on the main street, sitting outside in the great morning day, we could try to tell or imagine a story about her, or us. What did I feel what did I think looking at her? Suddenly, I had seen myself doing many things at the same time these last month. Multitasking, like her. Would it not be better, if I did one thing at a time?

27 Jun 2018

Changing Base Camp Managers and Level 1 answers

Yesterday evening, as REP (Pathways) Ambassador, but also as one of the old members of the club, I visited Meridian Speakers Toastmasters. 

In 2009 they were the first club I wanted to join, till they explained that the Lewisham Speakers that will charter soon, needs me more and first. So I joined first Lewisham, still my base club now, and later also Meridian: they met in different weeks, so I could go each week to one of them.

Lots of memories with their place on top of a corner pub. They are now meeting at the other side of the Greenwich College, on the Thames river, their room overlooks the river! Different traditions, great club, many have begun - just begun - Pathways.

For those who begun but did not really deep in yet, there is a confusion that I would like to address this morning. In Level 1 of all path, there are three projects. 

The Icebreaker, tell about yourself or one of your passions, is not connected to the project 2 called Evaluation and Feedback. It is not the icebreaker speech that has to be repeated or it's feedback incorporated in the next one: that is the next project. 

Icebreaker gives you help with the outline, rehearsal, presenting advices too.

Feedback and evaluation, helps to understand why Specific feedback is so important. Suggest how to behave while listening to an evaluation, we would not always like, and incorporating later, the parts we decide. Speaking about what we incorporated to the second (or same) evaluator, while delivering an improved version. Then giving a specific feedback to someone, having understood, how important that is for improvement.

The third project is a research on a topic that we do not know or not much. Not only teaches different ways to search, interview, but also to present the result or the top of iceberg of all we learned. For me, all the research projects proved invaluable, and very different from each other as I arrived there. 

As well as my "listening to feedback" improved. With time. Not easy to listen to an evaluation that sometimes, at the spot, we do not agree with, without speaking back! But I am getting better at it. And of course, most of the time, they are on spot and help a lot. As much at least, as I can incorporate really in my next speech.
From time to time, we have to stop. Sit down. Reflect. Take a pose. Do something else. 

I am very happy to go this month, well from last week and till end July, visit London clubs, where I am Ambassador, see what problems they have and absorb their different atmosphere. Also help with the Base Camp Manager Transition, and remind them that I am there to help if they need, well beyond the "official" time, here end June. 

So slowing down with my path and stories, concentrating on club's problems, will give me a reflection time, a small distance to dig in about Team Management and so on.

26 Jun 2018

Up levels, step by step

Looking up to the stairs going to my flat, it seems to me "it will be difficult"! And when I look a special angle the steps seem even higher. Yet, yesterday I went up and down twice the 27 steps. I could do them. 

Either thinking at something different, or one step at a time when it felt more difficult. That is one of the reasons, we have levels, as I have three levels of steps also in the building. Yes, no elevator. Have to go up, step by step by myself.

The first level, more steps, this is already a picture of level 2 with less steps, only seven. Sometimes, the "only seven" seems tougher to me then the first, when I start. Depending of the day. 

With Pathways, those who start, like the levels, and have no problem with them. Some of us already experienced, would like to see where we will be going. Of course, we can read descriptions, but only after finished a path have access to at least 36 projects. From then on, we do know, only three will be different for another path and even those not always. Some projects repeat.

Sometimes, the last Level, the last steps, seem more difficult. Higher, then the rest of them. 

In Pathways, it is natural, as the last level is to show our Expertise. Here they seem higher only because I took them from another angle, lower up. 

Depending how we look, the Pathways projects are also easier or more difficult, from path to path, from level to level. Even when they are in fact the same. So much depends on us! Of course, also our own experience. Skills are learned by repeating, going for it again and again. Then stopping and reflecting upon them. 

Today, I went out earlier to walk, not only went farther but faster. Took more photos then videos, my leg begun to speak to me only halfway towards home. It will be a warm day! 

I went this time, not only to the bench, where I did not stop going, only when I came back, but to the pavilion that can be seen from afar.  I sit a bit there, near the bus station. 

It separates, the small part of the Heath, from the big part of it, where the Marathon starts, where the fireworks are started. And in hot weekends, many people go to picnic with family. Of course, others go into the park, but less sit down there.

Already at seven in the morning, as I arrived back home was really warm. The important, I did it again. My leg will get used again to walk. As I hope, you will get used to the pathways projects and skills proposed.
Near the pavilion a bus station. One of the mornings, I will take the bus and go far.

25 Jun 2018

Walk for Pathways and all without proper documents

I went from home to the Heath, a few minutes from my place this morning.  From the first Heath bench (only one in that alley) this is what I could see.

Let me try to add some videos I have taken this morning during my early walk out.

I think photography is for me easy, video very difficult. How to show the background and me? But each time we learn, we are very beginners. So I did leave my cup empty (and had a coffee in the morning before starting out.) If the first video is not working, this will. I hope.

Inspiration came from Michelle who went live on Facebook 10th time now, she does aim to 77! It worked for her, without breakfast. It did work for me today, the first time, with breakfast. I have to move, have to walk, and showing it is an incentive to go out. I walked with my Pathways tea-shirt. 

And a bit also for all those without "proper" documents, as reading this morning at six am facebook discussions, I remembered when I was ten, arriving in Budapest station from home city, we did not have our "documents" and were not allowed to go out of the station. Had to stay long time near the train, me holding my mother hand, and not being allowed to ask "what happened"? My father was supposed to come pick us up.

It turned later out, he was not allowed to enter the station with "the documents" to show them. Finally, he found someone to bribe to let him in and in the now empty station, except us and the guard, he showed the papers: "here are the documents, here are the documents!" Finally, we were let to leave. 

On a walk with me through an empty morning street, my parents explained me the "documents" and the names we will have to live from now on. We had new names. Why? But I was 1 year older on them. Wonderful! For me it was easy, they remained dad and mom. For them less, they had to learn each two new names. I lived like this during the last nazi period, for a whole year. Me not going to school, not going to play with anyone else so I do not risk to tell. Hiding in a cellar, the last three month, as the Russian army come to "liberate" us.

As soon as they arrived, they came with arms and asked all young women to go with them, did not ask for "documents" or did not care who you were or why there. Then we had to flee from them. We did finally, through the still icy Danube river. "And the Ice did not Break": that was my Icebreaker story in 2009, that I gave as mystery speaker in Evaluation Contest. We could cross, as we took almost nothing with us. Again. Crossed the river to the other side, where the life was more secure, women where less in danger, but we had nothing to eat. Took us a few difficult weeks to find someone to take us "home" and by then, "home" become another country. We went on the top of a small pickup car, that smuggled usually food when going back. 
Brick and mortar gate and wall on my street
I walked today for Pathways, for personal stories and all those without "proper documents". I walked also to get back my mobility: use it so you do not loose it.

24 Jun 2018

Tell stories along a path? It is possible

Of course, I do believe in telling Personal Stories. And not only believe in them, but tell them, record them whenever possible, teach them.

Two years ago, I created Witty Storytellers Online club, to be able to continue a storytelling workshop, improving my and others storytelling skills, meeting after meeting. 

Till now, I created the Agendas, invited workshop leaders or lead them myself. 

From July, I will be the president of the club Witty Storytellers Online. 

We do meet, as any other toastmaster club, or most of them, twice a month: Thursday. London time 6am in the morning, but in fact we open doors already half an hour before. Second and forth week of the month so far. And till now, we were "advanced" because it is easier to create as thus, and most who joined where advanced anyway. That will change soon. 

Out goal is telling stories better and better. "Personal stories mostly, deep felt stories, stories that stick and remain." We are called Witty, because we do it in a warm, fun, informal environment. Not because all the stories we tell are "funny stories". So should we keep the name witty? It is not easy to change a name that stick to you.

I used my CC from the first time all for stories. The Icebreaker is a story. Then it says, use what you learned and add to it what you learn from the next projects. I did.

For the path Leadership Development, all my projects where either stories told by myself, or stories told by others organized by me, with Paul White. He from Arlington, I from London, and at the end we created an international storytelling festival. The bigger event, the Project asked me! 

23 Jun 2018

Read it, listen to it, before writing or doing, Julie!

I did not read careful enough, even when I published it here, just two days ago.
Before you speak, listen. But listen means carefully, and without prejudice, without already having decided what you will answer. I did not read carefully the Project suggestions, then I would have understood, "concentrate on one case study". My panel, also interesting, was too broad in scope. Ethic is a huge subject, can not be covered all in once! I had the occasion, no one used that time, no one wanted to speak, great. But going on too fast was not a very good idea. 

I am not sure, I did it today, during the Panel I moderated.

Before you spend - earn. Well, I never lived on credit, so that was not a problem. Usually, I do spend but not too much and my guilty pleasures, books, do not cost too much. Many I get on Kindle, and even most on Kindle unlimited, reading 10 then giving back one or two before asking for others.

Before you write, think. I am not sure I do not write this blogposts while thinking. Too used to writing in flow, as it comes to me, only sometimes going back, correcting. One advantage of it: it is authentic. But many times, I wake up in the middle of the night and think about what I will write in the morning. Or think, while preparing screenshots.

Before you quit, try. I do believe that I do and do and do. Try again and again and do not think "I failed" but think "I tried". The same is true for the last one, I know as I am already 84 which is just a number, that my years are numbered, know it only with my head. With my heart and soul I live and go for whatever new and interesting I can find, as did my great grandmother Paula even at 94. 

22 Jun 2018

Friday post missing? Idioms with "Cup"

I was so sure, I wrote yesterday evening. At least, I intended to do it. Friday, was my grand-daughter visit, and we had such a wonderful time together! But in the evening, even if I had "hundreds of thing to do" I had time to write.

Here is the blog post I had in my head, and probably not written down. 

While I researched "come with your cup empty" meaning come without prejudice on what you will hear and ready to learn what you will hear, ponder it at least well, I found a lot of other "idioms" all concerning the "cup" a cup. 

Idioms, are part of using good metaphors, sometime a saying that tells more to us then the word, we suddenly not only see the image, but the notion behind it enters us. We connect to it and add even to it from our experience.

As they are so many descriptive ways, I will have to take them best one by one, instead of trying to add all in one speech. Or one post. 

Not my cup of tea. Not for me. Not what I used to. 

Half empty or half full? this is the first I wrote about. The same thing that happens or happened to us, we can see as dark bad sad - empty; or we can see as hopeful, leading so something good, and be happy. Not everything is all black or or white. All empty or all full. And what is full alas can empty out, what is empty fills in with time. I wrote perhaps 10 or more years ago a story I have to find with this.

A storm in teacup. This one with new to me, but I understood : sometimes, we make to much from a relatively small thing.

Empty your cup, so it can be filled. That applies a lot nowadays to seasoned Toastmasters. In order to understand and be able to absorb what we get from Pathways, we have to let go what was, what we used lately.

21 Jun 2018

Pathways Road to DTM

Of course, one has to finish two path. How long it takes? It depends on you and the path. It depends on how much time you dedicate to it and how many clubs you are in.

In plus, at the end, there is a DTM Project. Some say "light HPL" but is it "light" just because it is our own responsibility without a "committee" to help us? We have to find our goal, useful for an organization, a small team. Give a speech before and after realizing what we decided, using all the knowledge accumulated in different Projects.

In plus, be club officer a year or twice six month. A year, district officer. For me, it will be done, if either my Ambassador or Guide work is recognized. June or end August. Otherwise  use or be an Area Director or an elected District role for a year.

In plus, be either club mentor, from chartering for at least six month or a year, or Club Coach for a club with a very low membership: 5 at minimum new members and at least distinguished till June. This, I have achieved end June now, the club I am Coach got it. 

In plus, be a Club Sponsor, I was for a club that chartered last September, and it was recognized. Or held a Speechcraft or a Youth Leadership Program. Both of them yet to be changed so they are more Pathways, but one of our online club members did hold a Speechcraft, all based on Level 1.

It is not the paths that will take more time, if you do not have yet the other requirements in my opinion, even when you are in only one club. As for the Levels, they have to be declared to Club Central in order, by anyone of the club officers. See the 28 March post about how to do them. What is sure, you can not declare a Level 4 before having declared the lower levels, but if we are in multiple clubs, we can declare them to any club, any time. One after other. 

20 Jun 2018

Ethical decisions: what is "wrong or right" - for us?

One of the level 5 projects, elective project I opened the first time not long ago, is Ethical Leadership. It defines our ethic, the organization ethic, ethic depending on culture, and tells us that many decisions are not "right or wrong", they are more complex and depend... on our upbringing, our culture, the situation, a team.
What is ethical to use as background?

"One of the greatest challenges facing any leader motivated to make ethical choices is defining ethics. At face value, it should be a simple, straightforward assessment of what is right and what is wrong. Most leaders soon discover that right and wrong can be open to interpretation. Ethical choices can be affected by many factors including: the situation, culture, and professional expectations."

What we decide may be "ethic" for one and not ethic for another. And with time and experience and environment, even our opinion on it can change. "The content of your framework is unique to you and is not necessarily permanent; it may adjust over time and in different situations. "


What surprised me most, was that on the page Assignment, beside studying our ethic and defining our own "ethical framework" is asked from us to facilitate a Panel discussion on ethic, followed by questions and answers. 

Purpose: create also an opportunity for others to hear about and discuss "ethics" in our organization or community.

Which one? We have some Ethics, others have different. The organization may have also different from the community. 

Indeed, the introduction already says that many decisions are not "clear cut" they are more complex the we would think and it is useful also to discuss open with our team.

I got the time and Toastmasters who agreed to be in the Panel but then I discovered that it is also asked to have a non-toastmaster panelist, but with leadership experience. Where do I get the "non toastmaster" when lately I interact not much with any others? And how to get them to my Panel to Saturday early morning London time? 

Discussing in general, is not my thing, and anyway, the project suggest some practical examples. I thought of one, and my President suggested another.

Ethical "framework" for case study:

  • define the current issue
  • list the facts
  • your different options
  • core values impacted by decision
  • list the possible decisions
  • the rules of organization
  • who are the stakeholders?
  • each decision’s impact?

Is it ethical to share a whole Pathways Project with someone else? Is in necessary, useful, and with whom and when? I would answer as the project "it depends".

19 Jun 2018

"May your cup be ever empty": I add, look with beginners eyes.

I got the June Toastmaster Magazine, with a lot of interesting articles in it. One I loved a lot, is our International President "May your cup be ever empty". 

What? It is a title that attires already, why should we have empty cup? 
Three British breakfasts  - photo Julie Kertesz
Not even half full? or half empty? To add anything of value to each cup, each learning, we should begin with "empty cup" not a full cup telling "I know enough" or "it was always..." Drop all preconceptions. 

An old adage, I did not know till now: We must empty our cup to get new tea. 
So true! Once I understood, what it meant, that is.

Arrive with an open mind, willing and eager to learn, rather then validate preexisting knowledge. Open to new ideas. True for a training, true for our education program. The one we all have available now. There for all of us. 

Learn by doing. That is the new Toastmasters year. Those are our new tasks. Put people first. Best not forget this one: it is not the "points or club or TMI" first the members! Some forget it, but most of us do not. The pleasure of seeing someone flourish for me it is a huge one. And knowing, I had a tiny part of it. 

Learn from those who come before you and share with those who come after you. 
Empty your cup, when I begun to research it, as I learned from Level 1 "research and present" I found its Chinese Zen origin also described. There is more on Google!

Read of course the origina, the Balraj Arunasalam article in the June Magazine, at the very beginning about the District Trainings. But it is valid also for the new education program, now "public". TMI come out with a new video and a new press release about Pathways. The first public press release about Pathways. 

18 Jun 2018

What to use as DTM Project?

Now, that I have four, not only two paths finished, and have been sponsor, and committee member in the club, I needed to Mentor a club to Distinguished: it got President Distinguished. I am not sure, how much I helped them, but I did try.

I was Ambassador in a district, finishing end June and I am Guide in the undistricted (that will finish in fall. All the requirements for a DTM there, but the final project. 

I have said to myself, even to others, why should someone want more then one DTM? "you can not be DTM square!" Now, it laughs back to me, as I do want a Pathways DTM. 

A project that helps an organization? Almost anything advancing Pathways would.
A team with whom we could accomplish a specific, useful project? That depends on the Project. 

I decided this morning, it will be a new project, decided after I finish the Panel moderation about Ethics, as a lot of emphasis is put in the DTM project on ethics. I remembered, Spinoza Ethics. Philosophy I loved a few years back. Reread some of it, no, it is not that kind of "ethic", it is more about "business or team collaboration ethic". Also as conducting a team, on Emotional Intelligence I am studying now in another path. Yes, it is said to use what we learned or learn in different paths.

As a Pathways Pioneer, blogger, forum moderator, I did or do mostly lonely work not so much organizing a new team. So tonight, the question still open: what do choose? Till it was "one step at a time" it was easy. But now I have to go up, and with a team together! Suddenly, each step up seems so high and the end not clear. Yet.

17 Jun 2018

Forth path certificate received today

A month after I filled it to TMI and five month after I finished it, today it arrived. My certificate of Proficient in Leadership Development.
It does have on it the date of 16th May, a day after our Witty Storytellers Online, and all undistricted clubs at the same time, launched Pathways. 

I did put this path's, this level five aside for my favorite club. We got with it, in the club, the maximum of six education awards needed.  

Last week, we had a great meeting, a workshop by Mark Hunter, at Witty Storytellers Online, and with it, our 21th member decided to sign up to our club. In a bit more then a month we went from 14 to 21, with an collective effort. Yes, we do have now enough DCP points for Presidential Distinguished club, but more important, we have very interesting, diverse new members. All but two, already on Pathways. I am looking forward new stories.

My Leadership Development Path was all dedicated to Personal Storytelling, our Witty Storytellers Online club speciality. It begun with a story told at a big family meeting in Normandy when I told them a story our common ancestor, my great grand-mother Paula told me when I was twelve years old, one of her own childhood events very important in her life. I still see it if I was there! 

My second speech was a story my father told me later, I must have been 14 at the time, and how I remembered it thirty years later, how it helped me as I remembered it. And so on it went demonstrating through stories, how important they can be and how long they can last. Then, creating storytelling event in my online club, selecting the best personal stories and going with them in December, all the way on the screens of Virginia, USA where other great storytellers told their stories in a university room. It was a meeting through Zoom, Screen, of many Storytelling clubs at same time. 

Lessons Learned? I had a meeting about it after the Storytelling festival! But personally, what I learned was to be aware what I ask: I may get it! I may not like it. 

At some time, there was an echo noise from the room, and I asked my great SAA to make sure there is silence while I tell my story. So I did not hear when the audience laughed, and did not stop while they did. They lost part of what I was telling as I did not stop. A great lesson for me. Increase the pause, and even if there is some noise, better then silence and loose the audience reaction! 
We also had a great Storytelling Panel discussion at Witty Storytellers Online, and I closed the path with a reflection about the path held also in one of the Virginia Toastmasters Club, remote access. As much as 100% online clubs are easy to attend and all be "together", the same is not yet true alas with most of the Remote Access clubs I attended so far. That will also improve with time, I am sure.

The badges are from my Base Camp and were there for some time. I finished first the Visionary Communication, then a few month later Presentation Mastery even if I did begin it almost at the same time. That one had ups and downs more then others. Leadership Development, finished beginning January 2018 and the last I finished was the Effective Coaching which needed a HPL at the end, so it lasted the longer. 

From each path I learned something different. Our life is varied, and even when we go to a similar path or same, we are not same at other times. We decide different things and see differently the same things. 

Three more path now in my Base camp at different levels, as usual. One at Level 5 already, Dynamic Leadership. One I am at level 3, Motivational Strategies, and just a few days ago I got Team Collaboration. Each path a new adventure to undertake.

16 Jun 2018

Active listening and Request Remote Control

I did come to my computer with my coffee and toasted bred at 5 am, too early for the 6 am meeting. "Anyway, I did write to the VPEs that I will not do the VSS (virtual support sessions) of Saturdays till end of June". But who knows, yesterday someone come when it was not expected at all! 

So, I decided to be there by 6 am anyway.

After breakfast, I went to my Base Camp, opened the required project Level 3 in the Motivational Strategies path "Emotional Intelligence" and read it through again. So much to absorb! A bit lost, but not totally. So much material, and interesting, too.

I emerged looking at my email: Sarah was waiting me at Zoom!

Rush to open my zoom, to dress (that I forgot early morning) and then I could open my video. We begun to speak. 

"I am not yet on pathways" she said me, but it turned out she already had a path, Presentation Mastery and was even used to navigate the Base Camp. She needed to understand how to give feedback. For someone who gave her second speech (incorporating evaluation) in the Feedback and Evaluate project. 

May I share my screen? Yes, of course, do it, I answered. We discovered together, where to go to find the Evaluation Forms (Resources) and launch them (curious we have to launch a form to read it and save it)! Then somehow she lost it before saving and I asked to show her - on her screen.
Here is part of the screen with the Request Remote Control in the Zoom. She granted me and I could show her a few things and find the place to recover the form instead of marking it complete. From now on, I will know it for myself also. And the feeling of control remote a screen from London all the way to Nairobi was so powerful! 

But it did not solve the problem. We closed the screen, and begin to discuss. Active listening to her finally, did solve her problem. She had to evaluate a Second speech, so what was the suggestion? The first time the speech was delivered monotone. Voice variety! Yes, you can show her where she did vary her voice better this time! 

The Understanding Emotional Intelligence project I just studied again, before we met, helped me to listen better to her needs, beside helping her to some Base Camp features and understanding others better myself. Communication is always two ways, and coaching often helps the trainer! From now on, Sarah will be the one to show her club member how to navigate! "Yes, I will come back and tell you how it went..." let me copy and past somewhere else your email and blog addresses from the Chat.

It was a very useful morning for me and a happy beginning.

15 Jun 2018

Connect with storytelling, at Global Trainers Online

We had a wonderful meeting with three great speeches, if I may say so, being the third. I learned a lot from the two before me, but they also liked my story. 
That should have been my background, but instead I found the one which had Storytelling in Leadership, and added some parts about how my father used stories in his work. He was a great organizer and storyteller and went far and high in business. 
I hurts! it hurts! My 6 minute video of my story at the Global Trainers Online club. "Connect through storytelling" from Level 3 electives. The feedback was made as often in this club, by round table evaluation.
But the best of all, after the feedback was that one of the members, Scott, joined also Witty storytellers online club, so much I did inspire him.
Scott listens to my story

Today, I gave an Icebreaker for Team Collaboration at Zaldy's Emperor in Manilla, Philippines with very different audience : my story had the same title,"it hurts", but I got a blue background and did incorporate the suggestions from Saturday, last week's in my speech. Of course, it seemed a completely different story. 

I also answered to a table topic question, and it helped me understand how I succeeded, lately, to end a conflict. The question I was asked. I felt, it went well with the topic with my icebreaker. 

As usual, it was someone else whose Table Topics answer hit me most, an old Chinese lady, answering to the same questions and showing me the Chinese traditions and cultures. I learn so much attending different online clubs!

14 Jun 2018

Team Collaboration: my second free path!

Team Collaboration was a year ago, it was in fact the 17 June 2017, listed between my Preferred Paths. A link, and then here it is what I wrote then.

But when the time arrived to choose a path, a new one, I took finally another. And now, I can hardly believe it, after weeks of waiting, the supplyorders@toastmasters.org wrote me yesterday: "Sorry for the delay, we send you the Team Collaboration, your second free path!" I went fast to my Base Camp and the new path was there!

Team Collaboration is now between my paths! 

It could not have arrived in better time. In a few days, 

I will become a Team leader president of my Witty storytellers online club, and I will be able to use it to learn more about leading even better my team. And not only doing it, but with the help of the new path projects, also reflect upon it, discuss and get feedback. 

I did finish my other three paths, that were in the picture above, and have begun Dynamic Leadership and Motivational Strategies, buying one then later the other, both of them on their way now. 

The Pathways Guide Tasks, I finished by now, but I leave it there between the others, as my last tasks, the Virtual Support Sessions as they are called, helping through online video zoom are not all done.
I could open the path and here are the 5 Levels awaiting me. What can I know about them at this stage? Well I tried. Found out, I can at least see which are the Required Specific Projects at each level.
At Level 2 is the Active Listening, that I already had in two other paths.

Role of Table Topic master listening and giving back the essence of what heard to those who answered my questions.

Level 3 will be the Project Successful Collaboration, I am looking forward it. "Building an environment of trust and encouraging creatively" 

That is what my team in the club will need and I to improve upon what I already know. A skill is learned when used. Then reflected upon. Then used again and so on. And of course, with feedback from the team. 

I will have to see how the project Motivate others L4, is different from the project with similar name or almost, in my Motivation Strategy path.

It never hurts, I learned to repeat a Project, even if it is the same. But in my experience, similar projects in different paths were diverse, and reinforced differently the same skills and made me understand better. Like the one about Change, not same within different paths, but not diverging either.

Level 5 required, Lead in any situation, seems the same but even those six month of leading, each ask us to do something similar but not same depending of the Path.

I will try to read all I can before I get there to be ready for the six month or begin it as soon as I can. In June, even if I finish it only in December or in a year from now.

And then, once I got an overview of my five Levels, I activated the Icebreaker
Launched, here what I got, again. It must be my 7th time I did it, and probably my badge of Level 1 has 7 on it.
I have already begin to think what I will tell this time, perhaps even tomorrow. But I started first to look at the pages with a beginner's eye.
I have a lot more while around then here, as now I know to open up the page whole screen or almost. Not only I get the arrows to navigate to the next and previous page, but also to move to another section. Aha! It is called section at the bottom. Alas, nothing points to it, so some do not observe even that it is there. And very useful. Jumping to some specific pages, does not serve at the very beginning, but later, when we come back, want to print, or verify if we answered the self-assessment questions.

I did know how to play and pause, I did know I can navigate to a certain part of the video.

I did not realize, till this morning, that I can expand the video, fill my screen with it and toggling, later, minimize the video to continue navigating.



And with all those navigations there are also those where we find small dots, and go next or back. Or more and more.

Indeed, many ways to navigate in the project. Plus, in some places, same image but different text, explains other sides of the subject.

At the very beginning, I opened also the Project, and indeed at the end there is this:
It does clearly say, to complete the second portion of our self-assessment, only AFTER we have completed ALL the components of an assignment. But it does not say, true also that by doing it, we signal the Base Camp "I did complete the project."


This is only one of the many pages of the Icebreaker. So much to learn! So much to practice. Never enough. Never to many times.

That is my experience at least. 

Each time, I observe or learn something in plus. And enjoy the way, new ways I do it.

Of course, also looking to the audience, longer, one paragraph perhaps for each different then we change, when in a room, is important. 

This morning, I learned a new way to do it. Not reading from a sheet or a book, notebook or paper near me, that would have put my eyes at left or right. I made a screen dump of an intro I was given for introducing our workshop leader.  Opened it in a picture, made it bigger so the letters occupied almost all my screen. 

When my time to read came, I just put aside the screen when I looked at the others in zoom, and looking straight to the video camera, could read my text with inflections. No one observed that I did not see them, and of course the text was not too long to need me to observe the audience at the same time. After the meeting, I was told, "you told it as if it were from you and not a given text you read!". We do learn all the time.