Friday, June 1, 2012

Public Speaking Northwest Agrees with Mark Twain

Public Speaking Northwest Agrees with Mark Twain ~ “The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.”

That’s why our toastmaster club has an “ah” counter. The “ah” counter encourages pauses instead of saying “ah” or “um", or filler words. A quiet pause gives the speaker time to think. It gives the listener relief from hearing too many distracting “ahs", "ums,” and “ands.”

Ana our “ah counter” charged a nickel for each filler word to help our members use Mark Twain’s important pause.

Ken presided over the meeting today with Lynne, Jamie, Emery, Prema, Yanhong, Ana, Pierce, Cary, Jean, and, guests, Juliet and 8-year-old Jenny. (It was so good to see Pierce back.)

Emery, our toastmaster, led the meeting. His theme, “vacation,” created fun and laughter.

Jamie, our grammarian, chose “exacerbate” as the word we each needed to weave into our speaking moments. Six of us used it when we had the chance to speak. Now our challenge is to add it to our vocabulary during the week.

Lynne, our timer, is becoming a pro at explaining her job to keep us on time with our special lighting system.

Yanhong, our speaker for today, entitled her presentation, “Interactive Teaching, Learning, and Thinking.” Inspired by Andrew Clements kids’ book, Frindle, Yanhong told us the story of a boy named Nick Allen. Whenever Nick learned an interesting tidbit, he’d create a new word for it. For example, Nick named the word, pen, “Frindle.”

Yanhong’s point was that teaching kids to be creative thinkers is important. She asked us, “Would you rather raise a smart kid who, as an adult, settles into a routine job or a creative child with lots of ideas who grows up to make a difference in the world?”

Yanhong believes that interactive teaching is the answer. She demonstrated a clever math game with her 8-year-old daughter, Jenny. It looked like so much fun that Jean decided to use it with her 8-year-old grandson.

Pierce evaluated Yanhong’s talk. He noted that English is her second language and praised her for speaking so well. He pointed out her graceful smile, how she stood free of the lectern, and used (Mark Twain’s) pauses well. “You are setting a positive example for your daughter,” he said.

Little Jenny beamed. She seemed happy to be a part of her mother’s presentation.

Jean, our table topics master, decided to follow in Yanhong’s steps with a game and use Emery’s theme, vacations. She introduced the game, “Truth or Lie.” Each person was to tell us about one of their vacations. It could be the truth or a lie. The members were to decide. If any of the speakers fooled all of the members, that speaker would be given a standing ovation.

Ken told us a bear story. Cary, a fish story, Emery, a traveling nightmare, and Juliet told a deep sea diving story. Oddly all their stories were true. Only Ana received a standing ovation because everyone believed her vacation story. It was a lie.

The Blue Ribbon Winners were:

Best Speaker: Yanhong
Best Evaluator: Pierce
Best Table Topics Speaker: Emery

Congratulations to all!

If you'd like to join us for polishing your presentations, developing leadership skills, and making friends, we welcome you.

We meet every Tuesday from noon to 1:00 PM. You'll find us at the Seattle Times Building in Bothell, Washington ~ 19200 120th Avenue NE. Feel free to bring your lunch.

To find out more contact: Emery Jordan at: (206) 235-1356

Respectfully Submitted,
Jean Tracy, DTM ~ Secretary


  1. We missed our President, Barb Katz. Please get well Barb. You are our treasured leader.

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  3. "Turth or Lie" was a new twist on impromptu speaking that brought out creativity!

  4. I'm so sorry that I missed this meeting. It sounds like lots of fun. Greetings to you all.

  5. When can you tell a lie and convince most that it is the truth?
    Of course, during a Toastmaster's Table Topics speech. Thank you Ana for your delicious deception.

  6. Welcome to our two new members,
    Juliet Bemritter and John McGinn. Congratulations for making this wise decision!

  7. Thank you Jean for summarising the fun and learning at our meetings.