Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Public Speaking Northwest Makes a Difference!

Public Speaking Northwest Supports the words of John F. Kennedy, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.” 

Our toastmaster club makes a difference in the lives of our members through practicing our speaking and leading skills. And today we learned how one member made a difference in the many lives she touched. Stay tuned to find out what Jan Skoog did.

President Barb welcomed Ken, Casey, Emery, Cary, Kyle, Juliet, Kate, Cindy, Barbara, Jamie, Pierce, John, Jean, and guests Leona, who found us on the internet, Bethany, Barb’s daughter-in-law, and Wendy, Jan’s daughter.


Juliet gave us “Benevolence” as our word for today. Many members used it well during the meeting. The ones who didn’t paid 25 cents.

Cary stepped up to the plate and practiced the role of Timer. He described his duties with ease and precision. This was his first time as timer.

Jan, our speaker, gave her 10th speech, entitled “Making a Difference.” Jan is a world traveler and has spent 20 years overseas helping the less fortunate. She taught English so others could rise to higher paying jobs, provided 1,500 ski coats, handmade quilts, computer classes, and medicines. "I didn't do it alone," she said.

Two of the countries where Jan concentrated her efforts were China and Romania. Jan shared her stories about Shao Lee and Shao Jing and how she labeled everything in English for them. They became proficient in English within 6 months. Jan taught cooks how to make hamburgers and chocolate chip cookies at a US Embassy, and brought supplies to a hospital in Romania.

For Jan the smiles of those she helped touched her heart and showed her how she made a difference. “Their smiles were the best pay,” Jan said. “They made a difference in my life too.”

Barb evaluated Jan’s presentation. She praised how Jan drew us in with her stories, confidence, and humor. Barb noted the difference between how nervous Jan seemed when she gave her first speech and how confident Jan is now. Barb also mentioned how Jan made us chuckle when she said, “I felt like a mini Oprah Winfrey.”

Jean led a discussion about our club ballot system. New members learned how to write evaluations for speakers and vote for best speaker, evaluator, and table topics. For evaluations members shared how to offer suggestions for improvements with phrases like, “I suggest…” “In my opinion...” and “To make your talk even more effective…”

Pierce shared the UPS policy of giving 4 positives to one negative. Ken summarized the discussion.

John hosted Table Topics by asking members for the meaning of new words that have been added to the dictionary like bromance, sheeple, and bargainous.

Cindy dramatically gave a humorous but accurate meaning of bromance. It’s a noun and means a close platonic male relationship. She approved of male hugging and playful punching. She said she wasn’t jealous, when her husband engages in such behaviors.

Ken acted out the meaning of sheeple. He flapped his arms, sputtered as if he had feathers in his mouth or was it wool? Our laughter egged him on to keep up his funny antics. We’re still wondering whether he got the meaning correct. Sheeple is a noun and means unquestioning followers (from sheep and people.)

Kyle did a great job explaining the meaning of bargainous through his example. He told of his wife going to garage sales. When she comes home she tells him whether the things she saw were priced correctly or whether they were too expensive. Bargainous is an adjective meaning costing less than expected.

Our Blue Ribbon Winners:

Best Speaker ~ Jan

Best Table Topics ~ Cindy

(Barb gave Jan and her speech so much praise that Barb went overtime with her evaluation and did not qualify for a blue ribbon.)

News We Can Use! 

1. Jan, in completing her 10th speech in our Competent Communication Manual, received a special certificate with our enthusiastic applause. Congratulations, Jan!

2. We will have an open house on September 11th when Pierce chairs our club contests.

  • Cary volunteered to participate with a humorous speech. 
  • Emery volunteered to participate with table topics.  
  • We are open to more contestants so feel free to sign up. 
  • There will be trophies for our winners. 
3. Jean will host our annual summer potluck on the 25th. Please let Jean know that you and your family are coming.


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


  1. I won't forget Ken's acting out of Sheeple any time soon. It was a lot of fun. Sure enjoyed it all.

  2. The sheeple explanation delivered by Ken was elegantly explained and I second the memorable experience.

  3. I had no idea what I was thinking or where I was going...had fun getting there. Chances are everyone will remember "sheeple"!

  4. I'm still confused. Ken, why did the word SHEEPle make you act out a BIRD? That's what I call imagination!

  5. Jan has come so far with her speaking and leadership skills. WELL DONE!