Monday, April 27, 2015

Apr. 21st, 2015 Theme: Voice Lessons

“From the heart: Cinderella never asked for a Prince; She asked for a night off and a dress.” ~~ Kiera Cass

Welcome to the 3rd April meeting blog. Today, we had 1 young guest with us.  

It was announced that our Division E International Speech constestant, Naser, on April 17, 2015 won 3rd place for his speech: “What Does Great Mean?  Congratulations, Naser, for a speech that you refine until it sparkles like a crystal in the sunlight!
Lynne was our toastmaster and offered a heartfelt connection between the voice and the spirit at this meeting.  She talked about the need of speakers to have more than their voice for maximal impact on an audience. She wants words to mean something and come from the heart.
The GAT(e)  team was: Jessica  as Grammarian (Splendor), Preston as the Ah Counter, and Sue as the Timer. 

Jim was our first speaker today. He completed his 10th speech (A Project To Inspire Your Audience) from the Competent Communicators Manual, which was called “The River Of Time” in 10:16 minutes.

Jim postulated Time as a metaphor for a running, flowing and an unstopping river. While we’re alive, we are conscious of time flowing, particularly when we become older. He told an allegory about riding the river. You are given a canoe or a kayak or a rowboat to ride the river. And rules:
• There is no choice about the type of boat,
• Your trip and its destination are pre-determined,
• You are free to choose how to react to setbacks, successes and other happenstances during the trip.

Jim artfully filled in many salient events in his life (based on the 3rd rule) which were linked to the goal of helping people: first as a Catholic Priest Seminarian and later as a Psychologist. Throughout these paths and some setbacks, he communicated with his guide, who imbued him with this advice: “As long as you’re on the river, do the best that you can.

Robert was his evaluator. Robert was delighted with the truly inspirational nature of the speech. He underscored that time is felt as more precious as we age, particularly since it also feels like it is speeding up. Jim used body language and hand gestures extremely effectively and provided very dramatic pauses.  He offered an exercise for all of us to consider a decision we have to make and in what time frame will we decide to make it. This was a gift of a moment out of the time flow to proact rather than react.

Jim and Robert were voted best in their respective roles.

Our second speaker, Anisha, completed her 1st speech project (The Ice Breaker) from the Competent Communicators Manual, which was called: On Again, Off Again Toastmasters in 5:19 minutes.

She reflected upon a significant meeting with her Boss back in November 2007, a week before the Thanksgiving holiday. This annual review resulted in her Boss recommending that she join toastmasters. So she joined the club: On Again, Off Again Toastmasters. She spent 5 years there and created four speeches. She gained this insight when exposed to all the speakers and speeches: Different communication styles are shaped by the speaker’s country of origin. Coming from India, moral characteristics inform her speaking style.  She also came to believe in the validity of the saying: “Those who know, do not speak; those who speak, do not know.

Jean was her evaluator. Jean liked that Anisha spoke with great vocal variety. Anisha’s presence was that of an elegant woman with a easy smile and pleasant disposition. She liked the quote by Lao Tzu,  from the Tao Te Ching. She suggested that Anisha deliberately speak louder and turn to look at all the people to include those that might be behind her.

Our third speaker, Grace, offered her 2nd speech project (Organize Your Speech) from the Competent Communicators Manual, which was called: I Have To Go Again in 6:23 minutes.

Grace related a story of a family vacation to Cancun, Mexico, which provided unexpected do-overs. On Day 1, they missed their flight because they didn’t allocate enough time to go through international processing; Traveling the next day, they arrived at a beautiful hotel, had dinner and then wanted to go swimming, but both the hotel’s swimming pool and “The Ocean” closed at 8PM. They swam the next day. Illness struck on the 4th Day for Grace and her husband. They returned on the 5th day.

Grace exhibited great resilience and positive mood in the face of these unexpected, successive roadblocks.

Amritha was Grace’s evaluator. Amritha thought that her speech rate of speed was just a little too fast for immediate comprehension. She thought the eye contact was very good and was hopeful that she could come out in front of the lectern. Amritha was especially impressed with her not being deterred by all the road blocked situations and that she maintained enthusiasm and positive energy. The chronology of her trip offered a great organizing framework.

Dave P. was the humorist for this day. He related a story about a young boy who felt compelled to knock over an outhouse. When confronted by his father, who told him the story about Abe Lincoln (George Washington?) who chopped down a tree and admitted it to his father and by not telling a lie, escaped punishment. In the case of the young boy, he learned that history repeats itself, but not always.

Preston received the Icebreaker Award from our President Linda, for his first speech, given on April 7, 2015.

Attendees were:  Linda, Jean, Jim, Robert, Dave P., Preston, Lynne, Jessica, Naser, Alice, Amritha, Anisha, Sue, Dave A., Kimberley as well as our young guest: Yosh I. Our membership total remains at 27.

~~~~~ Respectfully Submitted by Robert, the Secretary [Much Ado and comment] ~~~~~


  1. Thanks, Robert. It was a fun meeting with interesting and entertaining speeches.

  2. Thanks for the report, Robert. It was great to hear about the meeting, even if I wasn't able to go. See you all tomorrow!

  3. Robert, you do such a good job reporting about each meeting. I appreciate the thoughtful work you put into doing your best. You have a special way with words.

    One correction, Jim wasn't a Catholic priest. He was a seminarian.