Sunday, November 30, 2014

Nov. 25th Theme: Thanksgiving

Pauline was our toastmaster today. She picked "Thanksgiving" as the theme. She shared traditions of Thanksgiving in America and also other similar traditions celebrated in other countries around the world such as Mid-Autumn Day in China and Chuseok in Korea.

The special word for the meeting was "cornucopia" which means abundance and nourishment and our members had much fun integrating it with their talk about Thanksgiving. 

Jean was our speaker. Her "Turkey Talk" involved all the members to improvise and come up with interesting ideas, which we enjoyed a lot. During the speech Jean created three Thanksgiving scenarios, and she called on our imagination to use special items- cards, table cloth and books with open pages- to create interesting holiday memories. 

We also had cornucopia of table topics throughout the meeting, which was hosted by our guest Dave. We had a great time and Dave decided to join our club. Welcome to be part of our group, Dave!  

Nov. 18th Theme: Presidential Firsts

Barb was our toastmaster today. She picked "Presidential Firsts" as the topic. Throughout the meeting Barb shared many facts about presidents establishing traditions, such President Lincoln proclaiming Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1863. 

Jim was our first speaker today. He gave a talk from the 5th project of the Competent Communication Manual-- "Your Body Speaks". His topic was "What Fires Together, Wires Together". He raised three questions about the physical wiring and activities happening in our brain. He explained the negative emotions such as fear and anger that helped humans survive, and positive emotions that can be enhanced through practice such as mindfulness and meditation. 

Robert was our second speaker. His speech was from the Interpretive Reading Manual. His title was "Address to the Plenary session, Earth Summit, Delivered by Severn Cullis-Suzuki at Rio Centro, Brazil 1992." Severn is an activist and writer who has been speaking out about social justice and environmental issues since she was 12 years old. Robert picked her speech at the Earth Summit in Brazil in 1992 and was able to share environmental issues with us through the power of his voice. 

We had two guests today, Dave Almond and Emery Jordan. Emery is a past member and president of the club. He was happy to visit and see an expanded group since he left. Dave has visited us twice and he liked our organization and a variety of roles that help person improve skills in different ways.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Nov. 11th Theme: Singles' Day

Our toastmaster today was Linda. She picked Singles' Day as the theme. This holiday was originated from Chinese university students who believed the visual connotations of "11.11" look like "bare sticks", Chinese slang for being single. Nov. 11th has become a popular celebration day among Chinese young people and a shopping event cross the country.

Jean was our speaker for today. She gave a talk from the 9th project of the Competent Communication Manual. Her goals were to encourage and persuade the audience to use quotes in a speech. She opened with a quote from Julius Caesar. She followed the quote by telling us she would present 3 stories about people who conquered their fears. This was a demonstration for creating an effective speech opening. Then Jean divided us into two groups and asked each group to craft and present an introduction using a quote. She said, “The results were amazing!”
We did table topics and a round robin evaluation for the rest of the meeting. Members all actively participated. Many commented that this meeting was a great practice for developing their skills. 

Congratulations on Lynne getting her 5th Speech Nickel Award. Linda also got her Competent Leader Award and 10th Speech Competent Communication Award. We're very happy to see the progress made by our members!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Nov. 4th Theme: Election Day

Jim, our toastmaster today, picked the theme "Election Day". Jim shared some interesting facts about elections in the United States and other Countries.

Lynne, our first speaker, finished her 6th talk from the Competent Communication Manual. Her title was “From Pianissimo to Fortissimo, Living Out Loud.” Lynne talked about postponing her speech projects at our toastmasters club. Her “passive procrastination” had delayed her from achieving her goals. In finding a cure for this issue, she was inspired by two opposite modes in music, pianissimo and fortissimo. Lynne described her “pianissimo” style as passive, procrastination, and paralyzed. In music pianissimo is a soft mode. “Fortissimo” means strong and loud. Lynne is choosing to live “fortissimo” and “out loud” by being fruitful, forthright and free in reaching her speaking goals.

Kathy, our second speaker, completed her 4th project from the Competent Communication Manual. Her humorous topic was the “Hot Yoga Experience.” We laughed throughout as Kathy shared exaggerated stories about what she’s learned in 150 degree temperatures.

Linda, our third speaker, accomplished her final project from the Competent Communication Manual, Inspire the Audience. Linda talked about her eight years of learning classical Chinese dancing, watching a MIT physics lecture video, and joining our toastmaster club. She shared how her teachers and mentors, who showed they cared, inspired and challenged her to succeed. Although she struggled in the very beginning, she eventually gained confidence in learning their subjects. She inspired us to not only appreciate the teachers who offer encouraging help, but to pass on this spirit of helpful caring to friends, family, and mentees.

We had one guest, Annath. He enjoyed our meeting very much and said he’d come back. We welcome his second visit!