Chuck’s Excellent Experience of Excellence!

Dana LaMon and Chuck Mencke

I had the honor of attending my first Toastmasters International Convention August 18 – 21, 2011. The experience left me speechless, and that’s pretty tough for a Toastmaster. The convention was overwhelming and at the same time extremely fulfilling. It was tough to unwind at night and get to sleep because I had so much raging through my brain.

I got to meet and interact with Toastmasters from all over the world and “rub elbows” with many of the former “World Champions of Speaking.” I also got to meet the board of directors and staff from Toastmasters International. What an experience!

I’ve decided to share with you, over the next few weeks, my insights concerning some of the excellent educational sessions I was able to attend.

“E is For Excellence in Speaking and Leading” was presented by Dana LaMon, DTM, Accredited Speaker. The session left me invigorated and thirsting for more from this wonderful speaker. Blind since the age of 4, Dana has built a life of great achievement. He is a Toastmasters Accredited Speaker and 1992 World Champion of Public Speaking – the only Toastmaster who holds both distinctions. For more information, visit

Dana shared 8 principles on how we can strive for excellence in our speaking and leadership journeys, drawn from his book “The Excellence Book: 104 Principles for Living and Working.”

  1. Improvement: “To excel is to do better today than you did yesterday.” – Compare your performance today with yesterday’s results. If you improved or advanced, you excelled. If you see room for more improvement, you are looking at tomorrow’s opportunity to excel.
  2. Development: “Excellence seeks to discover and develop your hidden and unused talents.” – You have been empowered with special abilities to fulfill your purpose and live in excellence. Discover your hidden talents. Develop those that are unused. All of your talents are essential to getting the most out of life.
  3. Movement: “Excellence welcomes change.” – An environment where change is not occurring is a stagnant one. Stagnant surroundings do not invite or encourage development. Opportunities for growth are presented when there are changes in living conditions and work environments.
  4. Tenacity: “A commitment to excellence prompts you to run a little harder in the face of opposition.” – When your course leads downhill, forward motion comes easy. When the course is uphill, you are required to shift gears into the drive that will keep you moving forward. The uphill course tests your drive for excellence.
  5. Adjustments: “Excellence makes adjustments where mediocrity makes excuses.” – When you make excuses for your work, you argue for the acceptance of mediocrity. By making the excuse, you acknowledge that your performance could have been better. Never will there be a good argument for a mediocre performance.
  6. Possibilities: “The realm of possibilities and the field of uncertainty occupy the same space; their difference is how you approach them.” – There is a degree of uncertainty in everything you do. There is the possibility of success in everything you attempt. You decide whether you will cower to the uncertainty or charge towards the possibilities.
  7. Teamwork: “Team excellence requires a what’s-in-it-for-us rather than a what’s-in-it-for-me way of thinking. – For a group to do its best, each member must have the assurance that he will be supported and not undermined by his fellow team members. If one person takes the ‘for-me’ approach, all will have to do the same for self-preservation.”
  8. Love: “Quality can be controlled and time can be managed, but people must be loved.” – Management and control does not cultivate or promote excellence. To promote the spirit that sparks excellence, you must touch the soul of an individual, and the soul is touched only by love.

Chuck Mencke
Public Relations Officer



by Jodie Sanders