How to do your best in impromptu speaking

This is the second of a two part series on how to succeed in the impromptu speaking contest at Toastmasters. Hopefully this advice will be useful in other parts of your life.

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Impromptu Speech Contests – organisation

This article is a handout for an educational session I gave at my Toastmasters club on the Impromptu Speaking (Table Topics) contests. In this article I talk about the organisation of the contest and in a later article I help you do your best as a contestant.

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My Dry July – please support me!

31-days-dry_please_support_meThis year I decided to participate in the Dry July challenge – 31 days of abstinence from alcohol.

The main objective of  Dry July is raising money to benefit people dealing with cancer.

The flow-on effect is enjoying the benefits of not drinking alcohol and possibly to start some new health and lifestyles habits.

Please consider making a donation to help people currently dealing with cancer.

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Crowd-funding Potato Salad and other Craziness

potato_saladThis is the text of  an editorial I presented at Toastmasters as my “Straight Talk” assignment from the Communicating on Video manual.  The objectives are to effectively present an opinion or viewpoint in a short time, and simulate giving a presentation as part of a video broadcast.

Here is my video recording and speech text. Please leave your comments at  the end of the article.

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Melbourne Korea Festival

flyer2A Korean cultural festival was held in Melbourne on Saturday May 17th 2014. Unfortunately I missed it by one day, so here are the brochures with the details.  Links to the official web site can be found at the end of the article.

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Pablo Sarasate – Violin music from Spain

SarasateI became familiar with the violin music of the 19th Century Spanish composer Pablo Sarasate when I attended concerto competitions organised by the Kuringai Philharmonic Orchestra.

Sarasate was born in 1844 and died in 1908. In this article I have located videos of  my favourite Sarasate compositions including the  Carmen Fantasy which is often performed in violin competitions.  as well as Zigeunerweisen (Gypsy Tunes). I have also enjoyed performances of Navarra – for two violins and piano.

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Learning to program

MatrixWhat is it like to learn the skill of computer programming? This was the question in a recent online Python programming course. Students were asked to respond to an essay question on the challenges of learning to program, so here are my thoughts.

Some people think computer programming is difficult to learn because they are “not good at logic” or “not a computer person”. Taking an attitude that programming is hard will prevent learning.

Programming is a cognitive skill, like doing mathematics problems, writing English or drawing.  It is possible to learn these skills with the right attitude, perseverance and time to learn and explore.

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