family storytelling

October Has Been a Rough Month

October has been a rough month

October has been a rough month.

I’ve been to several on-line funerals.

It’s been hard to keep my mind on the regular things.

This morning the Grown Son walked into my office.

“What’s THAT for?” he asked, pointing to the rainbow clown wig on my desk.

“I wore that to a Halloween-themed Toastmasters meeting,” I told him.

“Seriously?” he asked, horrified, “You didn’t wear that to the funeral service did you?”

I burst out laughing.

Of course I didn’t wear a rainbow clown wig to a funeral service.

But thanks for the laugh, Kid, I needed that.

storytelling Toastmasters

I Can’t Possibly Be The Only One

I can't possibly be the only one


I seem to be the only person in the Keller Communicators Toastmasters Club who ever misbehaved in school.

They all claim to have been angelic, well-behaved children.

I am the only one who confessed to ditching school to go to the beach.

We need another round of interrogation-style questioning.

I can’t possibly be the only one.

storytelling Toastmasters

At a Recent Toastmasters Meeting

At a recent Toastmasters meeting


At a recent Toastmasters meeting, an interesting discussion broke out about a certain location.

I had never heard of the place.

But apparently everyone else had.

The conversation turned in a hilarious but slightly inappropriate direction.

Well, I couldn’t just let that pass me by.

I had to Google it.

And, oh my, it certainly is inappropriate.

But in an entirely different way than the conversation would have led me to believe.

Some of our Toastmasters members have some explaining to do!

lifestyle quarantine teaching

Six Tips to Improve Your Video Conference

six tips to improve your video conference


I work online, and I do video conferencing every day. Now that we are well into our quarantine, and we are all communicating online, I want to give six tips to improve your video conference.


Make sure your camera is at eye level. If it is anywhere else, it is going to give an odd perspective. If your laptop is set up on a low coffee table, it is looking up at you, and your audience sees you distorted. They see huge knees. They see up your nose. They see the underside of your chin. Perhaps they are even getting a crotch shot. A downward view is equally distorting. Raise or lower your camera so that the lens is at eye level.


Position the top of your head to the top and center of the screen and make sure your image covers more than 50% of the screen. Stay there for the entire conference. To keep yourself from skooching down, sit in a secretary chair or a wooden dining room chair. Chairs with arms and upholstered furniture lend themselves to slouching on camera. Check yourself often so that you continue to sit up straight and occupy more than 50% of the screen.


Do not put your back to a window. You will be seen in silhouette.


Keep your background clean and clear. A blank wall is best. If you don’t have a blank wall, then position your camera for a close up shot so that your face takes up most of the screen. This will lessen the distraction of the background.


Sit still. If you use a standing desk, stand still. The camera doesn’t know what to focus on when you are moving about. I have seen many people on video calls this week with their bookcase in focus rather than their face because they are moving around, and the camera doesn’t know where to focus.

  1. SOUND

Mute yourself when you are not speaking. Small sounds that you don’t notice in person can be heard by everyone else. Keyboarding, finger tapping and dogs yapping are all very loud on the mic, even if they are not loud in person.

Let me know if these six tips to improve your video conference have been helpful.

humor lifestyle speaking

The Grammarian Report

The Grammarian Report

The Grammarian Report

At our Elite Toastmasters meeting, Tim Mullins’ grammarian report was totally bogus.

Haha, just kidding.

Bogus was the word of the day.

Tim’s presentation was totally bodacious.

humor lifestyle speaking

I Failed

I failed


At a recent Toastmasters meeting, I was assigned to tell a joke.

Using my Grown Sons as role models, I thought that if I did a bad enough job, I would never be asked to tell a joke again.

Much to my disappointment, they all laughed.

One guy said that he was going to steal my joke to use at another event.

I failed at failure.

I guess I should have examined my sons’ methods a bit more closely.

This particular strategy has never worked for them.

Why in the world did I think it would work for me?

lifestyle speaking writing

A Solution for Writer’s Block

a solution for writer's block


It’s NaNoWriMo.

National Novel Writing Month.

The challenge is to write 1667 words a day.

Every single day.

For an entire month.

Many writers are complaining of writer’s block.

I have the perfect solution for that.

Join Toastmasters.

At Toastmasters, you will learn how to do impromptu speaking.

You can apply everything you learn about impromptu speaking to your writing.

Not every speech, and not every piece of writing, will be great.

But you can rework those less-than-perfect pieces into something better.

You can edit a rough first draft.

You can’t edit a blank screen.

Join Toastmasters to find a solution for writer’s block.

lifestyle speaking

Best Speaker Ribbon

best speaker ribbon



I won the Best Speaker ribbon.

Thank you Keller Communicators Toastmasters Club.

That was fun!