Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Jan. 27th 2015 Theme: Inspirations – Who? What?

You have never really lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. ~~Unknown

Welcome to this 2015 Blog. Today, we were again visited by a returning guest. Jim was our toastmaster. He described how we get inspired by other people or by objects (e.g. National Flag).

The GAT(e) team was: Alice as Grammarian (guidance), Dave as "Ah" Counter, Amritha as Timer.        
Barb was our first speaker today. She completed the 3rd project (a “modified” monodrama by Walter Ben Hare) from the advanced Interpretive Reading Manual in 7 minutes. Her speech title was "A Leap Year Leap". In her speech, Barb assumed the identity and the determination of the unnamed heroine to take the initiative and propose to the man she wished to marry, since he appeared shy and reluctant. Her several practice tries, which explored physical and emotional aspects led to an ultimate happy ending.

Barb was voted best speaker.

Lynne was her evaluator. Despite the speech being based on an interpretive reading monologue, she felt like the marriage proposal by Barb was very real. Barb’s emotions, frustrations and gesticulations stood out. The blending of the world of the reading and modern day was smoothly woven together. Lynne and the audience were rather delighted with the iPhone call via Siri to Robert’s iPhone.

Our second speaker, Jean, completed her tenth project,  from the Competent Communication Manual in 11 minutes. The name of her speech was "A Spider, A Speech and a Contest Talk". Jean broached the topic of the fears of spiders and other objects and/or experiences and demonstrated with the audience a way to reduce such fears using a 1-10 linear fear scale along with deep breaths and guided imagery. The consequence of the fear reduction is to promote freedom and growth. The call to action, after members felt a fear reduction, was to ask for volunteers to participate in next month’s International and Evaluation speech contests upcoming on February 17, 2015. She received several volunteers.

Naser was Jean’s evaluator. He verbalized the underlying desire of Jean’s speech to inspire and motivate audience members to volunteer for the Speech contests.  Naser reminded us that Jean’s warm smile began with an observation that the perceived size of a spider was directly proportional to the amount of fear (fear factor) held about spiders. He suggested a future improvement in transitions between topics (e.g. The fear reduction formula used with a friend transitioning to the same fear reduction exercise with the audience.) He commented on the effectiveness of the exercise and verified that all eyes were closed as requested. He also invited Jean to consider a more emphatic closing statement to underscore her call to action. 

Naser won
best evaluator for this oral review.

In keeping with today’s theme, Linda, the Table Topics Master, was inspired to conduct a brainstorming session with the audience regarding the U.S. Asia Education Winter Summit to be held on February 9, 2015 at the Nexus Hotel in Seattle, WA (Northgate).

It was brought out that:

• There would be a translator (Linda herself) from English into Chinese.

• Table topics should be the 20 minute structure used to demonstrate a Toastmaster meeting activity.

• Verbal humor would be a difficult matter to succeed with.

• Linda would be a good person to describe her reasons for joining Toastmasters.

• One or more toastmasters might learn and speak a Chinese phrase.

• Grace might exemplify and demonstrate a shy speaker.

• It is difficult being in a country where you cannot understand nor speak its language

• As two table topic exercises,

   - Use gesture and body language (non-verbal) to demonstrate a topic situation.

   - Use restricted vocabulary (e.g. yes or no only) to have a conversation for 2 people.
• the 20 minute session could include (1) Jean’s fear removal exercise, (2) A Table Topics demonstration and (3) An Invitation for attendees to come the next day to the February 10, 2015 Toastmaster meeting at the Seattle Times Building to experience a 1 hour meeting.

Linda indicated the next step would be talk during the officer’s meeting on February 3 and create a plan with the people who will be attending this Summit meeting.

Our humorist for today was Robert. He told two stories: one about a Rabbi and a very short boy and the other about a most unusual jigsaw puzzle and a senior citizen. They had unexpected punch lines and were amusing.

Attendees were: Linda, Lynne, Jean, Jim, Robert, Barb, Alice, Kim, Jung, Grace, Amritha, Kathy, Dave, Naser along with our returning guest Yen Z who is from the U.S. Asia Education organization. Our membership total remains at 20.

~~~~~ Respectfully Submitted by Robert, the Secretary [comments welcomed.] ~~~~~

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jan. 20th 2015 Theme: Traditions Around The World

Tradition is the illusion of permanence. ~~Woody Allen

Welcome to this 2015 Blog. Today, we were revisited by a returning guest. Pauline was our toastmaster. She described various wedding traditions that occur in China, Japan, Germany, Korea, Pakistan and India (e.g. Henna [Mehndi] Designs on the hands and feet of the bridal party).

The GATE team was: Jim as Grammarian (resilient), Amritha as "Ah" Counter, Grace as Timer and Lynne as General Evaluator. 
Linda was our first (only) speaker today. She completed the first project from the advanced Humorously Speaking Manual in 7 minutes. Her speech title was "Talking About Humor". In her speech, Linda talked about ineffective humor in both linguistic (What do you call a deer with no eyes? No idea.) and cultural (British Tweet: “In LA, digging up Marilyn Monroe”) contexts. 

In North America, 46% of humor are sexual jokes compared with 23% in Singapore. On the other hand, 64% Singaporeans enjoyed violent humor.

Her call to action for those speaking in front of a multicultural audience with varying degrees of English comprehension skills, is to research and know your audience before speaking to them.

She offered an excellent handout of Asian signs translated into English (e.g. Slip and fall down carefully! and Poisonous & Evil Rubbish.)

Barb was her evaluator. Each was best in their respective categories. She liked the organization of her speech on cultural humor:
• What doesn’t work 
• Why it doesn’t work and
• Suggestions for improvement

 In keeping with today’s theme, Naser, the Table Topics Master, provided examples of CQ (Cultural Intelligence) where volunteers were asked how they would handle foreign customs and traditions. 

Examples included: Eating from a communal plate without utensils, disliking your mother-in-law, deciding how to choose outsourced candidates in India when their custom is to be quiet and agreeable. Examples of cultural faux-pas were also explored. Jim received the best table topics speaker award for strenuously avoiding his mother-in-law.

Lynne was our General Evaluator for this meeting. She particularly was impressed with the vivid table topics situations that volunteers were able to talk about improvisationally. She also noticed the unity of the toastmaster theme with the speech and with the table topic CQ (Cultural Quotient). 

Her positive suggestion for all of us was when we come up to the lectern, we should shake hands with the person already there before they walk off. She also suggested waiting until all conversations were complete before starting to speak.

Our humorist for today was Dave. He told two well-chosen stories about Albert Einstein and his Chauffeur and an errant mis-delivered E-mail message. They were uproarious.

Dave also received an icebreaker certificate for completing his first speech last week, accomplishing his first objective to reach his goal of becoming a Competent Communicator.


Attendees were: Linda, Lynne, Jean, Jim, Robert, Barb, Alice, Pauline, Jung, Grace, Amritha, Kathy, Dave, Naser along with our returning guest Yen Z. Our membership total remains at 20.

~~~~~ Respectfully Submitted by Robert, the Secretary [Let me know if I’ve said something wrong.] ~~~~~

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Jan. 13th 2015 Theme: New Years Resolutions Part 2

A year from now, you're gonna weigh more or less than what you do right now. ~~Phil McGraw

For those entering this blog late, once again, Happy New Year! Today, we were revisited by a returning guest. Lynne was our toastmaster. She offered 4 major resolution suggestions: Start a daily gratitude journal, maintain a larger perspective, enjoy today and clean up your messes. 
The GAT(e) team was: Amritha as Grammarian (plethora*), Grace as "Ah" Counter, and Pauline as Timer.                                                                               (*Another lisper test word!)
Jim was our first speaker today. He completed the 7th project, Research Your Topic, from the Competent Communication Manual in 7 minutes. His speech title was "A HIT for New Year’s Resolutions". In his speech, Jim talked about the acronym HIT, which stands for History, Information and Tips.

Historically, the Babylonians were the first to offer New Year’s Resolutions, and they were always the same: Return borrowings and Repay debts.

He suggested that Resolutions should be reframed as goals and (measurable) objectives. His tips included:
• Recording what we do,
• Showing in plain sight a goal card with post-it note objectives to complete and
• Teaming up with a friend with a similar goal to get it done together and witnessed.

Barb was his evaluator. Each was best in their respective categories. She was positively struck by Jim’s use of a hen and egg analogy corresponding to showing a card with a written goal and successive post-it notes representing tactical objectives to be accomplished in pursuit of the goal.

 Our second speaker, Dave, completed his 1st project, known as the “ice-breaker”, from the Competent Communication Manual in 6 minutes. The name of his speech was "From Sea To Shining Sea". Dave pointed out in his introduction that he hailed from Center Moriches, Long Island, NY and ultimately arrived at the Puget Sound Area to maintain his contact with the water environment. He loves swimming and has two children (Washington natives). His light tone and composure made his humorous stories quite funny.

 Robert was Dave’s evaluator. He was pleased to meet another New Yorker with a great sense of humor and admired his development from a very young plumber’s helper to a Civil Engineer thanks to the Coast Guard Academy. His love of water shows in his initial profession in the Coast Guard and his relocation to the waters of Puget Sound. 

Jean provided a small set of Resolutions for each speaker to creatively speak about and emphasize some aspect of good speaking practice like body language, gesturing, and role play. Naser received the best table topics speaker award for getting people to come to his party.
Our humorist for today was Linda. She told a funny story about a Hawaiian squirrel, that she learned about during her trip to Hawaii last month.

Amritha received a certificate for completing her first speech last week, accomplishing her first objective to reach her goal of becoming a Competent Communicator.

Attendees were: Linda, Lynne, Jean, Jim, Robert, Barb, Pauline, Jung, Grace, Amritha, Kathy, Dave, Naser along with our returning guest Kim B. today.  Kim decided to join our club today.  We welcome her with delight. This brings our membership total to 20.

~~~~~ Respectfully Submitted by Robert, the Secretary [keep commenting] ~~~~~

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

January 6th 2015 Theme: New Years' Resolutions

Every man regards his own life as the New Year's Eve of time. ~Jean Paul Richter

Happy New Year! Today we had our new Officer Installation Ceremony and were graced with four guests. Dave was our toastmaster. The GATE team was: Pauline as Grammarian (Pithy*), Jean as "ah" counter (countess?), Jim as Timer,  and Kathy as General Evaluator.
(*A true test word for those that lisp.)

Amritha was our first speaker today. She completed the 1st project, known as the "ice-breaker", from the Competent Communication Manual in 5 minutes. Her topic was "A Glimpse Of My Life".
During her speech, Amritha traced her journey from Chennai, in Southern India to Bellevue, WA and from being a dutiful daughter to being a wife and mother of 2 children and 2 pets.  Her path to our toastmasters club came from her decision to stop being fearful when speaking in front of a group of 1st graders. Lynne was her evaluator and pointed out her confident and poised manner. Each was best in their respective categories.

Our second speaker, Barb, completed her 1st project from the advanced Speaking To Persuade Manual. The name of her speech was "Going Up?".
Barb pointed out in her introduction, that we all try to persuade others by selling a product, a service or ourselves. She talked about 3 aspects of selling: Listening, offering benefits rather than (technical) features and developing an elevator pitch (a 30 second response to: What do you do? or What is this?).
Combining a Computer Presentation, Role play with Alice, and having us give elevator pitches in pairs that were created on the spot made for an energized, insightful 16 minute speech. Linda was Barb’s evaluator and was very impressed by the variety of ways that she reached out to rivet the audience's attention.

Kathy gave a very positive general evaluation of the club meeting roles and segments effectiveness. 

Alice received a certificate, known as "the nickel award", for completing 5 speeches, the midway point to her goal of becoming a competent communicator.

Attendees were: Linda, Lynne, Jean, Jim, Robert, Barb, Pauline, Alice, Amritha, Kathy, Dave along with four guests today: Naser. K., Kim B., Alex Y. and Jung K. 
They all enjoyed our meeting very much and said they’d like to come back and join our regular meetings in the future. In fact, Naser and Jung both joined our club today.  We welcome them warmly. This brings our membership total to 19.
~~~~~ Respectfully Submitted by Robert, the Secretary [comments encouraged] ~~~~~