Author: Gaukhar Zhunussova

Meeting on 15/06/2016

Hello, dear fellow Toastmasters and readers! It’s been a while since we have written a blog! If you have been following us and our events, you may know why ūüėČ We will keep you updated soon! We had another great meeting on June 15. Yernur Satybaldiyev was the Toastmaster that day. Also, we were thrilled to have Samat Panov, the founder of Astana Toastmasters Club! Some time ago the President of ATC paid us a visit, so it is becoming a good tradition! Read to find out more.


Banksy’s ‘Park’ in Downtown Los Angeles

Prepared speeches

We had 3 prepared speakers. Our first speaker was Ernar Kossamanov with his Project no.3 ‘Wind of Change’. Ernar is a relatively new member of our Club but he already is one of the most active ones. How to leave your past behind you and change? Change for the better! Our speaker has some tips what might help you do that. Watch his speech and learn why we should all strive to be Patrick and not Kodak! ūüėČ

Our second speaker of the day was our Competent Communicator, Yadykar Abdirakhmanova¬†with her speech ‘My Teaching Experience at Turan University’. It was very interesting and dear to the audience because this is where we host our Toastmasters meetings as well. We learned more about Yadykar’s teaching path, about different programs University has to offer. Check out the speech here.

And the last but not least was our dear guest, Samat Panov, the founder of Astana Toastmasters Club, a good friend for many of us. Yernur, our Toastmaster of the meeting, was especially thrilled to introduce Samat’s speech. ‘Two Bowls, Which One is Bigger’ is the title of the speech: a story about dreams, about achievement, about how Samat managed to fulfill one of his big dreams. Here’s the video, make sure you check it out.

Table Topics

I was lucky to be a Table Topics Master that day. The session was dedicated to street arts, Banksy, Pasha Cas. Here are some of the questions our impromptu speakers had to answer:

РStreet artists want to raise awareness about hot topics: society, politics, ecology. Do you think graffiti can lead to changes?

–¬†Do you think Art is getting worse over time or it‚Äôs becoming more creative?

–¬†How would you raise awareness about something important to you?

(social networks posts/public speaking/arts/protests…)

Banky’s work in Brooklyn, NY
Pasha Cas’ piece of street art in Almaty


It was an excellent meeting. Thank you to everyone who took roles and to the audience who made that meeting happen: Evaluators (Gaukhar Axakalova, Greg Heaver), General Evaluator, Zhansaya Edilkhan, Grammarian, Madina Jumagulova, Ah-Counter, Damir Naurozbayev, Timer, Shokan Ilyas. P.S. This made me think that if I ever received an Academy Award, my acceptance speech would be 20 minutes long just listing names ūüėČ

Thanks for reading and we will see you very soon at the meeting and in our blog!

Gaukhar X

Meeting on 01/06/2016

June 1st is not only the first day of summer and International Children’s Day, it is also the day of our regular meeting in Almaty Toastmasters Club! This time it was led by our Toastmaster, Aiym Nurseitova! Read more to find out how the meeting went.


Our Table Topics Master, Meruyert and a speaker, Yerkebulan

Prepared speeches

We had 3 prepared speakers: one of them was delivering his Icebreaker speech and the other two gave more advanced speeches from their Competent Communicator manual.

Our first speaker, Adilet Kozhakhmetov, spoke about himself in his very first speech ‘Building future’. He is passionate about architecture, which is his career and his hobby. Adilet is lucky, isn’t he? :-) We were glad to learn more about him and we are looking forward to hearing more speeches! Well done!


Adilet gives his Icebreaker speech

Our second speaker was Zhansaya Edilkhan, one of our newer members who’s been very active in our Club. Zhansaya did her second project ‘Organize your speech’ with a speech ‘Big Data Revolution’. Do you know that every time you search something on the internet you leave your digital footprint? Big data concept is so much more than that. It can even prevent rapid spread of epidemics using data on your location, ¬†your temperature, general health information.

Our third prepared speaker was Assel Bekbolatova.¬†She dedicated her project 3 ‘Get to the Point’ to photography. When was the last time you printed out photographs and framed them or put them in a special album? I bet that was a long time ago? ūüėČ Social networks have replaced old-fashioned photoalbums but Assel wishes to continue her family tradition to keep real photographs and cherish special memories. Thank you, Assel, for such a touching speech.

Table Topics

We had a very interesting table topics session ‘What can we learn from the Samurai?’ presented by our fellow members, Meruyert Kurbaniyazova and Gaukhar Axakalova. We knew it was going to be fun when these two girlies decided to team up!




Our Table Topics session: speakers are puzzled but nevertheless perform brilliantly


It was a great meeting! Our Icebreaker speaker, Adilet Kozhakhmetov, became the Best prepared speaker, Gaukhar Zhunussova became the Best Evaluator and Aisha Maukembayeva became the Best Table Topics speaker.


Best speakers and Best Evaluator this week


It would not have been possible to run our meeting without our evaluators team: Begzod Hakimov, Yerkebulan Saulet, Andrey Reshetnikov and Damir Naurozbayev, our general evaluator, Ah-Counter, Grammarian and Timer, respectively. Thank you all for your diligent work!


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Thank you all for coming! As usually, we meet every Wednesday at Turan  University, room 207, 19:30 sharp! Come and bring your friends along!


Meeting on 18/05/2016

Another great meeting happened on May 18. Andrey Reshetnikov, our old member, was the Toastmaster of the day. Read to find out more!


After-meeting get-together with our members and guests

Prepared speeches

Our first speaker was Damir Naurozbayev¬†with his very first speech ‘Air Age’ in Almaty Toastmasters Club.¬†Damir managed to ‘break the ice’ with the audience by telling us who he is, how and why he came to the public speaking club. Interestingly, he saw a Facebook post of another guest of our Club and decided to give it a try. The power of social networks :-) Thank you, Damir, well done, and we hope to see more of your speeches.


Damir giving his Ice-Breakers speech

Our second speaker, Greg Heaver, current Treasurer of the Club, gave his 9th speech from Competent Communicator manual. 9 down, 1 more to go, Greg! What can we do to make ageing not so frightening? How to prepare for the inevitable? Check out Greg’s speech!


Table Topics

Our Table Topics master was Begzod Hakimov who always comes up with intriguing topic for our audience. Begzod was inspired by Professor Skulachev’s biography so many questions were about ageing, living longer, living better. All the things we want, basically! Would you want to have an elixir to live forever? The question actually said ‘to live longer’ but we took it one step further ūüėČ Tell us in the comments!


Best speaker was Greg Heaver, Best Evaluator was Greg’s evaluator Yadykar Abdirakhmanova, Best Table Topics speaker was Gaukhar Zhunussova. Congratulations!

Of course, the meeting would never be possible without of a great team of Ah-Counter, Grammarian and Timer! Thank you, Alibek Tnaliyev, Makpal Toleubayeva and Zhadra Sekrekova!

Don’t forget: Turan University, every Wednesday at 19:30, room 207! Come and join Almaty Toastmasters Club if you haven’t done it already.


10 Apps for Public Speaking

I really believe that the best way to improve public speaking is to practice speaking as often as you can. Honestly, no app itself will teach you to lose that fear of speaking in front of unknown audience. Remember, most people fear it more than they fear death? However, some apps might be useful.

1. Stress check by Azumio (for Iphone): is a tool to measure the level of emotional and physical stress. You can check your heart rate and depending on the results you can do some nice breathing exercises. Might come in handy if you’ve got that stage fright!

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 2. Prompster (for Android): This app is not free but it promises to be a professional public speaking app that can be used to practice delivering speeches, lectures. It includes a sample speech and tutorial for immediate use.

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3. Quote Book (for Iphone):¬†You have written a great speech and are in a need of a good quote? Try this app. It allows to search and bookmark your favourite quotes, add your own quotes and even send them to your friends by e-mail. (Although, I’m not sure¬†if one needs quotes on a regular basis to bother downloading an app for it). Tell us if you love using quotes ūüėČ

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4. Coursera (for Iphone and Android): not only for public speaking but has to be included! Take free online courses from universities all over the world. Subjects vary from Arts to Data Science and include Introduction to Public Speaking from University of Washington. (In fact, this is where I learnt about Toastmasters, yay!)

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5. Public Speaking Simulator VR (for Android):¬†this app simulates an office setting in which 20 people are staring at you. You can start practicing in a risk-free environment! Awesome opportunity for people who feel nervous, dreadful and even terrified. But if you take public speaking seriously it’s better to learn speaking in front of real people.

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6. Keynote (for Iphone):¬†is a powerful presentation app that makes creating¬†a world-class presentation ‚ÄĒ complete with animated charts and transitions ‚ÄĒ as simple as touching and tap.

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7. Public Speaking Superstar (for Android): this app is a collection  of good notes on various public speaking problems. Topics include: First Speech, Developing Confidence, Overcoming Fear, Organizing speech, Visual Aids, Delivering and many more! Very handy! (already downloaded by me, hopefully I will use it during my next speech preparation).

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8. JotBook (for Ipad): an an app that allows you to display an iPad Whiteboard on an external monitor or video out device. The iPad’s larger screen may be big enough for a small room with a small audience, but if you’re lecturing or teaching to a larger group, you’ll need the capability of displaying the whiteboard notes on a larger screen. When you’re finished with your presentation, you can email your notes to your audience.

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9. Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking (for Android):¬†this app can help us to overcome the fear of the elevator pitch. There’s a report giving tips and advice on how to start taming your fear and master your nerves. Also you’ll find two audio exercises and a video ¬†that you might find helpful.

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10. Goodreads (for Iphone and Android): okay, I have to include this one. This app is not about public speaking but I truly believe that in order to speak well one should read more. You can track books you read, network with other readers (you can see what other people are reading, maybe even about public speaking).


Tell us what apps for public speaking you love, if you tried any!


Meeting on 04/05/2016

On May 4 we had an extra special meeting. Our Club was visited by the Fellow Toastmaster from New York, Dilber! Along with bringing greetings from her club Flushing Toastmasters she was kind enough to be our General Evaluator.


Prepared Speeches 

We had 3 speakers that night. Saltanat Kali gave an Ice-Breakers speech. She told us about her journey to find her purpose in life: starting new business, finally doing what she loves doing and not what the society expects her to do. We got to know Saltanat more, and we look forward to hearing more speeches.

Our second speaker, Andrey Reshetnikov, made his speech no. 6 titled ‘Refugee Crisis’. He touched on so many important issues in today’s society: shielding oneself from tragic news with a ‘positivity umbrella’, how life often depends¬†upon pure luck (where you happen to be born and live, who you are) and others. Andrey walked us through an emotional journey when he spoke of refugees’ destiny. Thank you!

Our third speaker, Yernur Satybaldiyev, made an advanced speech from ‘Speaking to Inform’ manual. He dedicated his speech to Taraz, his hometown. Yernur told us 3 beautiful legends from the past and 3 beautiful legends from our time. A great speech, and a great reminder that all we need is love! (and greatness, and dignity!). Make sure you check out the speech.

Both Andrey’s and Yernur’s evaluators, Yermurat and Yadykar became our Best Evaluators! A tie is a rare occasion, so congratulations to you both. Well done!

Table Topics

Our Table Topics Master was Zhansaya Edilkhan who chose to speak about daily habits of successful people. Many people shared their favourite habits like waking up early, singing in the car, using apps to study foreign languages regularly. Here’s the one I love: ‘the one-minute-rule’ – if something can be done in 1 minute, it should be done without any delay (I know what you might be thinking, that muffin can be eaten in 1 minute ūüėČ ¬†but that’s not quiet something that rule had in mind).

Our Best Table Topics was our guest Aizhan who shared her experience on using mobile apps to develop habits. Congratulations!


Our team of evaluators (Arailym, Aigerim and Yerkebulan as Ah-counter, Grammarian and Timer respectively) did a great job at helping speakers improve. Thanks to our General evaluator, Dilber, who gave amazing feedback to all speakers, to Leadership team, on how organize meetings better.

Thanks to everyone who comes every week and we will see you soon!


Meeting on 27/04/2016

Wednesday 19:30? :) Another Almaty Toastmasters Club meeting! Here are some highlights of the day!

Our evaluator, Greg, Toastmaster of the Day, Begzod, and Table Topics speaker, Ilyas

Prepared Speeches

We had only 1 (but awesome!) prepared speaker, Yadykar Abdirakhmanova.¬†She had already completed her Competent Communication manual, and this speech was her first Advanced Project. She chose ‘Entertainment’ and gave¬†a presentation on ‘Life Lessons’. Watch Yadykar’s speech here!

Table Topics

Daulet Mukanov was our table Topics Master and he chose to ask people about elections. Now wait a minute, you say, we’ve already spoken about Donald Trump, Parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan were held on March, 20th. Another elections? :) Yes, we have our own elections in Almaty Toastmasters Leadership team. In fact, we had them that same day later, so Daulet decided to keep the audience excited.


Table Topics Master, Daulet, and our winners (Abylai, Greg, Yadykar)

Best Table Topics speaker was Abylai who doesn’t come very often, but when he does, almost always gives a brilliant impromptu speech! Thanks to Yadykar, she was the only one and The Best Prepared speaker, and her evaluator Greg Heaver who gave a thorough evaluation of her speech.


The rest of the meeting was dedicated to the elections. I will say no more, as the results will be announced soon! Stay tuned! In the meantime, I want to thank the founding Leadership Team for all the work they’ve done to make this club what it is.

Left to right  (back row): Daulet Mukanov; Ilyas Batyrov, Greg Heaver, Tom Bartkoske, Begzod Hakimov. (first row): Aliya Shaikhina, Olga Kim, Yadykar Abdirakhmanova

Almaty Toastmasters Club founding Leadership Team

After the meeting we had a traditional social hangout in the cafe, make sure you join next time!


Almaty Toastmasters Club enjoying food and drinks after the meeting


Bowling with Almaty Toastmasters!

Hello, dear friends! Our Club went bowling. Thank you, Yermurat, for organizing this event and gathering many people! We had Astana Toastmasters Club’s President, Anuar, as our guest.

Everyone was so excited about the game, hence we did not photograph much while playing ūüėȬ†Nevertheless, here are some pictures! Hope you enjoy them! Tell us what you love to do in your free time, or maybe even organize event for the Club! :)

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Meeting on 13/04/2016

Hello everyone! Here is the report on our last meeting on April, 13. As always it was a great session: interesting speeches, many first-comers and a nice social hangout afterwards!


Prepared speeches

Our first prepared speaker was Ruslan Zelentsov, who gave his Ice-Breaking speech called “Change and Growth”. Ruslan told us an inspiring story how to change everything, move to another country, meet your love there (most importantly!) and come back. His story reminded me of a great movie “The Pursuit of Happyness”. Thank you, Ruslan! We look forward to hearing your next speeches.

Arailym B13023253_765807000185682_161978743_nainogayeva, our member, gave her speech on Project no.2 “Criticism”. How one should deal with criticising, how to give constructive feedback and how to benefit from it are all important questions, which Arailym covers in her speech. She also introduced an interesting approach to giving feedback called HL method (H for honesty, L for love). Definitely a tip for our evaluators! Check out Arailym’s speech¬†here.

Yermurat Nurgozha, a soon-to-be a member, gave his Advanced Ice-Breaking speech. Has a random person ever affected your life so much? Do you think your hobbies can help you get a job? Yermurat says yes!

Our last prepared speaker was Greg Heaver who delivered a speech “Confessions of a Kazakh Taxi Driver”. What an intriguing name! His speech was for Project no.8, where he used visual aids to tell us what average taxi drivers in Kazakhstan know about Australia. Prepare to be surprised, maybe you didn’t know much about Australia either. ūüėČ Test your knowledge here!¬†A great entertaining yet informative speech! Greg became the Best Prepared Speaker of the week! Congratulations!

Table Topics

Our Table Topics Master was Yernur Satybaldiyev who chose ‘Vacations’ as a theme for impromptu speakers. This gave us an opportunity to reminisce about our trips, interesting travels. Our speakers remember their best trips, their worst trips, and even the weirdest food they have tried during vacations. Ilyas, our regular member, and Sergeant-at-Arms spoke about how he’s always wanted to see a whale, and that stole our audiences’ hearts. He became the Best Table Topics speaker! Congratulations, Ilyas!


Thanks to everyone who took roles. Our evaluators: Andrey, Zhadra, Gaukhar and Daulet. Special thanks to our team (Ah-Counter, Timer and Grammarian) Madiyar, Zhansaya and Yadykar who did a great job at fulfilling their roles!

Here are some pictures from our traditional social hangout after the meeting. Hope you and your friends will join us very soon!

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Meeting on 30/03/2016

Spring has finally arrived to Almaty and we hosted another great meeting! As pointed out by the Toastmaster of the week, Greg Heaver, Toastmasters worldwide is a brand, centre of excellence, and it attracts many interesting people. However, it is the warm atmosphere of the clubs that makes people want to stay and be members of the community.


The Club President, Tom Bartkoske, welcomes new members

One of the examples of that would be Yernur Satybaldiyev and Arailym Bainogayeva becoming official members of the club. Both Yernur and Arailym were active during our meetings and Club’s social events. Welcome to the Almaty Toastmasters!

Prepared speeches

Sandu Baidosheva gave her Ice-breaking speech and we learnt ‘3 things about Sandu’ (well, at least 3). Her story was very inspirational as she once decided to change her life dramatically and move to another city. A great example of what a person can achieve if she is driven by her dreams and passion. Thank you, Sandu! We look forward to hearing more speeches from you.

Makpal Toleubayeva also gave an Ice-breaking speech. She suprised as all when she started to tell us about her career path. Who of you, dear readers, ever dreamt of becoming a seller in a chocolate store? (Not me, I wanted to be an astronomer/beekeeper). Next stop: dentist. The sequence of desires had a prosaic ending: she became an accountant and she loves it.

Speaker no.3 was Tom Bartkoske who gave his 10 speech from Competent Communicator manual. Congratulations! His speech ‘I Have a Dream’ was truly in line with the Toastmasters spirit. Tom has a dream that one day…No, it would be better if you watched this speech here¬†:)


Tom delivering his project no.10 from CC manual

Table Topics session

This week Table Topics session led by Begzod Hakimov was about Sir Ken Robinson. He is famous for his Ted Talk about modern education system killing creativity. You can check it out here.

However our schools did not kill creativity of our impromptu speakers. Daulet, Tom, Aliya, Sandu and other members and guests gave interesting speeches when answering to the following questions:

What is education to you?

Every child is born an artist but as the child grows very often he/she loses the artistictic nature. Agree or disagree?

Some disciplines like Music or Arts are neglected in modern education. What do you think about that?

Please share your thoughts on this topic in the comments.

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Table Topics speaker, Daulet, and Table Topics Master, Begzod

The Best Prepared speaker was Tom Bartkoske, the Club President. The Best evaluator was Aisha Maukembayeva, our regular member and blogger of the Club, and the Best Table Topics speaker was Aliya Shaikhina, VP PR of the Club. Well done!


Best speakers and Best Evaluator

General evaluation and conclusion

Thank you, Aliya, our general evaluator, and her team Zhadra, Gaukhar and Yernur who took roles of Ah-Counter, Timer and Grammarian respectively.

We will see you on April, 13.


Meeting on 16/03/2016

Dear fellow Toastmasters and readers! We had another exciting meeting led by our regular member, Andrey, the Toastmaster of the evening! We were glad to have many guests and our dear Club President, Tom Bartkoske, is finally back in Almaty from his travel. He visited a Toastmasters club abroad and even brought their greetings along. Stay tuned to find out more!

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Our fellow members and guests

Prepared speeches

We had two Ice-Breaker speeches given by two beautiful Zhansayas’.
 Zhansaya Edilkhan and Zhansaya Toktarova from left to right respectively


Zhansaya Edilkhan spoke about the differences in educational systems of Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom. She shared  interesting facts about her experience at university as well as the life in England in general. If you consider studying there, check out her speech as it is definitely helpful.
Zhansaya Toktarova was also speaking about her about  academic and career path. She spoke about working versus doing PhD abroad, a tough decision to be made! Zhansaya also encouraged us not to have any fears of making mistakes. Great speech! We look forward to hearing more speeches from both speakers!
Assel Bekbolatova is delivering her project 2

Our third prepared speaker was Assel Bekbolatova who did her project 2 “Organize your speech”. Assel made a speech about our musical tastes, what determines them and how they evolve over time. It was funny and very touching at the same time. As she was listing some of the tracks on her Ipod, I rediscovered my love for U2 song “With or without you”. Fantastic speech, Assel! Best prepared speaker award well-deserved!

Preparing and delivering a speech is challenging but evaluating it is a lot of work too. Diligent evaluation was made by our experienced speakers and evaluators Aisha, Daulet and Yermurat! Thank you for taking the task seriously and congratulations to Yermurat, our Best evaluator for this week.

Table topics session

Table Topics was themed around the Great Wall of China! Tom visited Tianjin Toastmasters club no 1. We were very happy to watch the video salutation made by our fellow Toastmasters from China! Tom returned very excited about the trip, shared some ¬†pictures and of course came up with brilliant questions for our impromptu speakers. First of all, would you want the Great Wall of our own? I certainly would, we could have our very own Wall Street (or Great Wall Street!) Sorry, New York, we love you but we love Almaty more! =) Also we learnt a traditional Chinese character for the word ‘To listen’. When we look at separate parts of the symbol we can understand better what’s involved when you are fully engaged in listening.
The traditional Chinese character for ‘Listening’ and Kuralay giving an impromptu speech.


Again, we had amazing speakers, our regular members and our dear guests, Kuralay, Yernar, Dauren. This week I became the Best Table Topics speaker (counting votes does pay off! =) joking, we don’t mess with the votes). Thanks to everyone who spoke. It takes courage to come up with a speech without any preparation and we encourage you to use Table Topics as an opportunity to practice.
Best prepared speaker, Assel, Best evaluator, Yermurat, and Best Table Topics speaker, Gaukhar


General evaluation and conclusion

Thank you, Ilyas, our general evaluator, and his team Zarina, Gulnisa and Olya who took roles of Ah-Counter, Timer and Grammarian respectively. Special thanks to Greg who uploaded the meeting video on Youtube!
Gulnisa (our regular guest and Timer of the meeting):  What I liked about the meeting is the friendly atmosphere and good persuasive speech topics.
¬†Arailym (our regular guest, soon-to-be member):¬†Toastmasters meetings are always unique. This meeting was especially unique because our Club President, Tom, arrived from China. He prepared a great Table Topics session with greetings from another Toastmasters club from China, amazing photos of the Great Wall and of course interesting questions. I’m happy that it’s a world-wide community and we all help each other to step out of our comfort zone.
 Our regular guests Gulnisa (Timer of the meeting) and Arailym  (from left to right respectively) are sharing their thoughts on the meeting


Hope everyone enjoyed holidays! Don’t forget to join our club’s social events (announced in the social media, sent by e-mail)! See you all on March, 30th.