Toastcaster Communication Leadership Learning Lab



Podcast designed for people or who wish to improve their Public Speaking & Leadership Skills


  • Toastcaster 153: Making Freaking Meetings Fun & Productive - Matt Abrahams

    01/10/2021 Duração: 29min

    [29:55] Many people avoid meetings at all costs - they feel they’re unproductive, a waste of time and simply a bandaid for bad communication in an organization. In this episode Greg speaks with return guest Matt Abrahams, educator and coach whose extensive exploration, research and experience has led him to discover a collaborative approach to keep meetings fun and exciting. More importantly they be can productive in achieving the goals of the organization and add value to the teams. And you might even be thanked for running a meeting. You’ll learn about the importance of planning, executing and setting expectations up front - and even determining whether there is an alternative to holding a meeting.  You’ll hear how to invoke emotion by leveraging meeting invites and making agendas valuable and how the information, emotion and actions are the three important key elements of any communication.   This includes the importance of paraphrasing and how that leads to better communication and boost engagement du

  • Toastcaster 152: Unexpected Leaders that Leave a Lasting Impression - Guinness

    01/09/2021 Duração: 15min

    [15:26] In this episode Greg speaks about two incredible individuals whom we can call unexpected leaders. These are people who positively impact others not really with any intention but simply by doing what they do. In fact they may not even be aware of the impact that they are having on others and the long lasting impression they leave. You’ll hear about, Reverend Kevin Fast (left) from Cobourg, Ontario, Canada is best described as a modern day Popeye and Brittany Walsh, a.k.a  AcroBritt (RIGHT) from Portland, Oregon, U.S.A a dancer, a gymnast, former circus performer and  acrobatic archer who both happen to be individuals featured in the 2020 Guinness Book of World Records. Greg shares a little about each of their stories and 3 leadership lessons he’s taken away by speaking with them Related Materials If you'd like to read the related article Leadership tips from the Book of Guinness World Records you can find it at To hear the full interview podcast with these two inspiring Guinness w

  • Toastcaster 151: Starting Effective Conversations that Yield Results – Chris Fenning

    01/08/2021 Duração: 31min

    [31:31] Conversations are fundamental to everyday life – at work or at home, yet little emphasis is ever put on improving it as a skill, particularly in getting one started and keeping them a succinct as possible. In this episode, Greg speaks with Chris Fenning - subject matter expert and author of the new book, The 1st Minute: How to Start Conversations that gets Results. Chris will share his expertise and insight with lessons taken for the book that you can apply in many communications situations, like job interviews, conversations with the boss, presentations and even written communications. You’ll discover some of the most common mistakes made in that first minute and some of the misconceptions that surround it. You also learn about when that first minute really starts. You’ll takeaway two methods you can out to use right away: 1) Framing, a simple 3-part process that in 15 seconds helps you provides context, clarifies your intentions, and makes your message clear: and 2) Structured Summary: How ev

  • Toastcaster 150: Hardest Speech You‘ll Ever Have to Give - Greg Gazin

    06/07/2021 Duração: 32min

    [32:53] Imagine the hardest speech you'll ever have to give. In this episode you'll hear about that speech, the process that went into creating it and the speech itself and how on that day, I felt a rollercoaster of emotions the likes of which I’d never experienced in my life. That day I was surrounded by loving friends and family as I said a final farewell to Elaine Baram, my best friend, my love, my wife, the sunshine of my life who I will miss forever .  It will also explain why there were no episodes over the past months.     

  • Toastcaster 149: How to Host a Live or Virtual TEDx Event Part 2 – Noel Bentley

    15/05/2021 Duração: 27min

    [27:39] This episode, Part 2 is the final part of our conversation with Noel Bentley on how to host a TEDx event where he continues to share his expertise on being the best host you can be. Noel also talks about getting help by borrowing - not copying but rather be inspired by others and other TED or TEDx events but at the same time being you own person and letting your own personality shine through. Noel also shares additional best practices along with a few do’s and don’ts  and how you can prepare yourself even for impromptu situations and the unexpected. You’ll also learn about some of the differences between live and virtual presentations and what you can do to make the latter seem more natural. He also shares some of the special considerations they had to make given the current global climate and environment which they knew could change without notice. He used real examples from TEDx BearCreekPark 2021  that took place just one month ago. Noel Bentley is a speaker, humorist, storytelling coach, emc

  • Toastcaster 148: How to Host a Live or Virtual TEDx Event Part I – Noel Bentley

    02/05/2021 Duração: 27min

    [27:28] There’s a plethora of resources spotlighting do a TED Talk or speaking on the TEDx stage, but few realize that a great host or emcee can make or break that event. In this episode Greg speaks with Noel Bentley, a three-time TEDx host who’s hosted both live and virtual events at TEDx Bear Creek Park in Surrey BC, Canada. In Part 1 of this 2 part series, Noel inspires us with his own story, what it means to be a TEDx host, what the role entails and the excitement and opportunities it presents for speakers and individuals. You’ll as be introduced to TEDx BearCreekPark and a glimpse as to what goes on behind the scenes of a TEDx.  Noel enlightens us with his experience in his role as a TEDx host - how he got there, what he learned, how he (over) prepares mentally and physically and about the help he got along the way. You’ll also learn about other key players like the curator, speaker coach, program coordinator and of course the speakers and how the host interacts with them. You’ll also find out what s

  • Toastcaster 147: Nurturing Young Minds Through Podcasting – Kevin Achtzener

    02/01/2021 Duração: 22min

    [22:13] Kevin Achtzener, DTM is in the process of doing his practicum at a Spanish bilingual school to earn an after degree in Education. He had the idea to teach his students new material as part of a Spanish Language Arts curriculum by getting them to create their own podcasts. In this episode, Kevin, a regular on ToastCaster, shared his experience as to why he chose podcasting as a teaching medium, what he was trying to accomplish, how the class took to it and how the podcasts turned out. He talks a little about the methods he used, the subjects he selected as well as what both he and his students learned from the process. He also tells how he got our Podcast Host Greg Gazin involved by interviewing him as both a sample podcast  and as a way to share his knowledge with the students through a podcast which was to be played in the classroom. Kevin Achtzener is from Edmonton, Canada and can be reached at  

  • Toastcaster 146: Scientist’s View of Protecting You from Your Phone & Yourself – June Lai

    20/12/2020 Duração: 29min

    [29:38] Everyone is trying to be better informed and protect themselves and others and reduce exposure  to the Covid-19 virus. They’re social distancing, wearing masks and washing their hands, but how many of us think about our smartphone as a major source of a threat to our health? Or how many of us are missing key pieces of information that can help us and our loved ones stay safe? In this episode Greg speaks with June Lai, founder and CEO of Catalyst, a high tech accessories maker but first and foremost a scientist. June offers an authoritative insight on PPE and on helping us all stay safe.  By the end of this podcast, you’ll better understand the difference between bacteria and a virus, what terms like anti-microbial really means.  You’ll also learn how to properly disinfect your phone, what to use, what not to use and what to watch out for and suggestions on proper Covid phone safety etiquette. You’ll also discover how waterproof cases, like those from Catalyst can not only protect your valuable sm

  • Toastcaster 145: Podcasting 101: Hosting & Interview Techniques - 2018 Live Educational [Toastmasters ]

    01/12/2020 Duração: 43min

    [43:52] When I first started podcasting 15 years ago, the most frequently asked question was, ‘What’s a Podcast?” Five years ago, It was, “Why are you doing podcasts? It’s going the way of the radio, video is where it’s at. Today I’m often asked, “What are the benefits of podcasting?” And “How can I get involved? How do I get started?” In April 2020 Apple Podcasts had over 1M podcast and over 35 million episodes. With the lockdown I’ve heard estimates ion 1.5 million and many many more episode. So Podcasting is not going away any time soon. People do want to know more. In fact I’m questioned about podcasts and podcasting everyday. As luck would have it, I recently came across a 2018, recording of a Podcast educational session I delivered - in a last minute request, to a group of Toastmasters which covers many of those questions and more. And while podcasting certainly continues to evolve, the information presented is still relevant today This episode is not only for Toastmasters but for any communicator

  • Toastcaster 144: Stories & Leadership Lessons from a TopGun Instructor – Dave "Bio" Baranek

    17/11/2020 Duração: 39min

    [39:00] Flying in a Grumman F14 Tomcat, a supersonic fighter aircraft at over 1500 mph (almost 2500 kph) in the middle of a conflict can certainly put one's communication and leadership skills to the ultimate test. A split second action, reaction or decision can mean the difference between life and death. It also makes for a great movie and we all know and love as Top Gun staring a very young Tom Cruise (a.k.a Maverick).   In this exciting and lighthearted episode Greg speaks with Dave "Bio" Baranek, former TopGun Flight Instructor, F-14 RIO (Radar Intercept Officer), TopGun Instructor and Squadron Commander. Bio shares his insights, stories, lessons and experiences, many taken from his new book, TomCAT Rio: A Topgun Instructor on the F-14 Tomcat and the Heroic Naval Aviators Who Flew It. He also contrasts it from his two previous books, Top Gun Days & Before Top Gun Days.   Top Gun fans will not be disappointed. You'll hear a little about the movie where as a young TopGun instructor, Bio and his collea

  • Toastcaster 143: Avoiding Managerial Mistakes, Missteps & Misunderstandings – Blaine Little

    26/10/2020 Duração: 29min

    [29:25] It's tougher now more than ever for Managers to successfully navigate through the seas of Managerial Mistakes, Missteps & Misunderstandings. In today's episode, Greg speaks with Blaine Little, speaker, corporate trainer, coach and author of a new book of the same name, who'll offer some guidance and tips on helping listeners charter their course and avoid that rocky road.   He'll explain how a manager and leader differ as well as the difference between a mistake and a misstep and how despite good intentions micromanaging and not investing in your teams will ultimately set them up for failure. You'll also discover his 4 C's of working remotely and managing your team Little uses with his clients, and more.   In this valuable yet light-hearted episode, you'll get the inside track on why Little named each of his chapters for the most part after songs of a popular 80's band and where you can find a Spotify playlist he curated around it.   Blaine Little is the Founder and CEO of Momentum Seminars Trai

  • Toastcaster 142: Virtual Interview Mistakes to Avoid He Learned Interviewing Zoom's Head Recruiter – John Bowe

    30/09/2020 Duração: 22min

    [22:05] The Internet is full of experts doling out advice at what not to do during a virtual presentation or interview - job or otherwise.   In the episode, Greg speaks with John Bowe about his recent CNBC article, "4 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Next Virtual Job Interview -- Advice From Zoom's Head Recruiter,"  where he had a unique opportunity to interview Zoom's Phil Hayes - a guy who, of course, would really know.   John tells us about how the article came about and shares some of the wisdom he learned from Hayes including practical do's and don't tips for virtual job interviews. It's quite timely as many more interactions than ever are being done virtually and over Zoom. He also shares some of his own thoughts on this topic of which he is well versed.   The beauty of these tips and techniques is that they can also apply everywhere - like to businesses and for those for example who may be pitching product or services or even interviewing suppliers.   Have you wondered if virtual interviews better than live

  • Toastcaster 141: How to Use Subtle Words that Sell - Paul Ross

    17/09/2020 Duração: 27min

    [27:37] Words are very powerful and this episode, Greg speaks with Paul Ross about Subtle Words that Sell. This is not only the title of his new book, but also a revolutionary concept he's used for the past 30 years to teach tens of thousands of people around the world the power of language not just to sell, but to persuade, influence and also heal.    Paul insists that sales is not about selling but rather about shaping and structuring states on consciousness. He shares some of his wisdom and also lessons from his book which was in part inspired by his competitive nature and his past experience as a dating coach.   In this lighthearted and entertaining episode, you'll learn from the man who's in love with language about categories of words to use and about techniques on how to reframe objections.   You'll also learn about pattern interrupt and the better understand the difference between persuasion or influence and manipulation and how focussing on selling decisions and good feelings rather than selling pr

  • Toastcaster 140: Grantasms: Making Communication Fun and Great Again – Grant Crowell

    31/08/2020 Duração: 29min

    [29:21] Just when we thought the world had enough jargon, acronyms and other confusing verbiage, Grant Crowell, a self-professed social wordsmith comes along and creates his own words or “Grantasms.” His motives are sincere – his intention, to make communication fun again while helping people build confidence, better relationships and increase their productivity. In this light hearted yet informative episode you’ll learn why he wrote this book, what you can take away from it and how he himself uses his own Grantasms for laughs, socio-emotional wellness, and his own ADHD management.  Listen for new terms like spousish, GERK, fillerflabber, messy-tasking, acronumb, playful mindfulness and more. Grant Crowell is a learning facilitator for Dell Technologies Digital Events team and is the author of GRANTASMS: Twisted Creative words for cool people! He lives in Durham, North Carolina USA. Grant and can be found on LinkedIn and get his book on Amazon.  

  • Toastcaster 139: Finding Your New Learning Curve - Bob Hooey

    22/08/2020 Duração: 28min

    [28:50] When the current pandemic became a global reality, suddenly Bob Hooey found his speaking business more or less obliterated.   In this episode, Bob expresses to Greg how he felt and how he dealt with the situation while perhaps realizing his and and maybe our biggest fears.  After overcoming the initial shock, Bob realised, "I can't travel,  but my message can."  Pulling from years of experience, he decided  instead of spiralling downward, he could pivot. So even at age 71, he found his new learning curve and embraced his new playing field. "I'm still learning," he says. What Bob did, many of us can do too as he discovered new technologies and used the power of partnering, creativity and the often forgotten value of simply asking for help to move forward. Additionally Bob also shares the wisdom of some of his past experiences, much of which can apply to all of us and our businesses today in his own entertaining way. FREE BOOK As a gift to our listeners, Bob is offering, free to all readers a cop

  • Toastcaster 138: Welcoming change & embracing technology a bloodline for tomorrow’s restaurants and retail – Brittain Brown

    01/08/2020 Duração: 27min

    [27:41] Looking at how a pandemic has changed the way we dine and how restaurants operate and literally ravaged the industry. As some cities begin to re-open, you can’t help but wonder what the new normal is or might be or what future looks like moving forward.   In this episode, our guest Brittain Brown offers us a little insight into that arena. From his experience, he’ll share some of his observations what’s going on in the minds of restaurant owners and operators, staff and patrons. You’ll hear about some of the changes in store beyond merely servers in face masks, constant cleaning and reassuring customers as factors whether restaurants can successfully reopen and stay in business.  He addresses some of the challenges today’s leaders are facing, but also some of the opportunities that this represents including some food for thought on how leaders need to rethink and evolve their business models and adopt new technologies which are already driving the new normal and what might happen if they don’t. W

  • Toastcaster 137: Discover the Future of the Future AGAIN! (FREE Summit) – Angelo Tirhas

    09/07/2020 Duração: 30min

    [30:30] For Angelo Tirhas, like many around the world, everything more or less came to a dead halt when the current global crisis hit, leaving him stuck with literally nothing to do.  Instead of wallowing in defeat asking the same questions on everyone’s mind, his professional mind kicked in realizing that he had to define the problem and find solutions.  He asked himself: “What’s the biggest problem in the world today, what are people what most scared of and can we help them?” Of course he realized people were already overloaded with data they couldn’t make sense of and he himself didn’t have all the answers. He had an epiphany. “Let’s get all these people into one place and share what the future possibilities are and figure out what to do to survive the future. Get people asking questions in touch with those who have answers and let them have a chat with each other. And thus Future Summits Online series was born. In this entertaining and informative episode we learn more about Angelo’s journey, what h

  • Toastcaster 136: Why Listen to Small Business Owner’s Stories - Paul Finkelstein DTM OMGTalk

    01/07/2020 Duração: 29min

    [29:33] Sometimes the best way to be a better leader and communicator is to learn from others’ stories. In this episode we hear from Paul Finkelstein who created OMGTalk, the small business owners podcast which he publishes on 5 different platforms.   Paul tells us why he created it; how he interviews small business owners and its value to them and other small business owners. Paul also shares his own takeaways and what he has learned from the process. I invited Paul to Toastcaster because when he asked me to be on his show OMGTalk, the four simple questions he indicated he was going to ask I found quite reflective. It forced me to think back and dig deep - which I found quite inspiring. Please have a listen to to our interview on Paul's show. Paul Finkelstein is from Delray Beach, Florida, USA. He’s involved in the Medicare insurance industry and loves running and fundraising. He’s a Distinguished Toastmaster and is the producer of the OMGTalk Podcast. Paul can be reached on all the major platforms and

  • Toastcaster 135: A Quest to Learn Arabic while Abroad during Lockdown – Kevin Achtzener

    01/06/2020 Duração: 26min

    [26:06] Learning a new language while abroad particularly during these unprecedented times can be a challenge yet rewarding.  But our eight-time guest, Kevin Achtzener, who is currently overseas with his family in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was certainly up for the quest. In this light-hearted episode, Kevin humbly shares how he was first inspired to learn Spanish the traditional way many years ago and some of the things he learned what not to do as he set upon a quest to learn Arabic – a much more challenging task. Kevin also shares a number of techniques he’s been using like a language exchange as well as some of his valuable resources including: Anki– a Flashcard app, 50Languages– 100 Free Audio lessons; LingQ– which helps you learn a language from content you love and his go to book: Arabic Script Hacking by Judith Meyer, which helped him to learn to read signs. Editors Note: Once you have a good working knowledge of a language, there are also many bilingual Toastmasters clubs aroun

  • Toastcaster 134: Lessons Learned from a Journey of Over 12 Million Steps - Greg Gazin

    20/05/2020 Duração: 11min

    [11:39] For a dedicated athlete or fit individual, walking a minimum of 10k steps a day for almost three years might seem like nothing. For me, a few decades older with ancient injuries walking roughly seven to eight kilometres a day that seems more like a pipe dream. Amazingly, I did it. I never thought I could.  In this episode, I share a little about my journey and how beyond the usual benefits of exercise the experience was transformational; I learned new things - many about myself. The text version of this podcast is entitled “What I learned from a Journey of over 11 million steps.”  There’s also an earlier related article, “One step at a time: a simple solution to a better life.”  The companion podcast is Toastcaster Episode: 90. Articles can be found at Troy Note: The photo shows me as I reached the 1000-day milestone. As I recorded this podcast 70 days later I had reached 12.3 million steps.  Sadly as I publish this podcast my journey has come to an end as a time slot has come up for m

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