Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June 23rd 2015 Theme: Garden Quotes

“Unemployment is capitalism’s way of getting you to plant a garden”. ~~ Orson Scott Card

Welcome to the fourth meeting in June blog. Today, we had 3 guests attend our meeting. 
Pauline was our toastmaster and offered a quote by Joseph Addison:
   “What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity.
   These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life's
   pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.”
The GAT(e) team was: Amritha as Grammarian (Prolific), Alice as the Ah Counter, and Jung as the Timer.                                    
Robert was our first speaker today. He gave a talk from the Advanced Manual, The Entertaining Speaker, Project 3 [Make Them Laugh]. It was entitled Obsolete and was delivered 8:45 minutes.

His talk centered around the obsolete things, institutions, vocations and people that may be part of our collective memories depending on our age.

He first described a dream he had where he was seated on a train facing the back of the train, watching the scenery recede and disappear. This was a metaphor for considering everyday life as history and as a passing parade.

He offered five humorous jokes and stories that once were funny but now obsolete.

His handout had quotes from Anna Jane Grossman’s book entitled Obsolete.

On the second page, it also had trends that influence how items become obsolete in favor of improved replacements. Such trends include:
• Increasing Capacity
• Increasing Strength
• Decreasing Size
• Increasing Speed

He ended his talk by telling about a subsequent dream occurring on the same train and this time choosing to sit on the side bench, so he could see what was coming as well as what was passing. He urged the audience to face forward and backward in their lives as well. 

Jean was his evaluator. Jean appreciated Robert’s dramatic opening picture of his train dream as well as the closing improved train dream. She thought that he told the obsolete jokes well. She recommended that the book display and notes be put on a side table rather than the lectern.

Our second speaker was Chizuko.  She offered her 1st Speech from the Competent Communicator’s Manual (Project #1 – The Ice Breaker). Her speech was called: “My Journey” and was completed within 6 minutes.

Chizuko was born in Japan. In high school, she became an exchange student studying in England. She wanted to learn English and go to America. She realized this is 1994, when she arrived in Baltimore, Maryland, followed shortly by moving to Boulder, Colorado. By then, she was married and had a 3 year old son and baby daughter. She soon relocated to Japan again only to return to the Pacific Northwest last year.

She prefers the Seattle area as a place of diversity and since joining our club, she has blossomed beyond shopping and the school activities of her children.

Chizuko was voted best speaker (tied with Anisha).

Naser was her evaluator. Naser felt that Chizuko was very humble in telling about her world travels here, England and Japan. He was glad she chose to be a member of our Toastmaster club. He was reminded of the book/film “Memoirs of a Geisha” where he linked the courageous accomplishments of the character with that of Chizuko. He suggested that she reduce the details of the cities she has lived in and increase the more interesting situations that she found herself experiencing.

Naser was voted best evaluator.

Our third speaker was Anisha.  She gave her 2nd Speech from the Competent Communicator’s Manual (Project #2 – Organize Your Speech). Her speech was called: “Down Time” and was completed within 7 minutes.

Anisha explained that Down Time is more important than ever in our increasingly busy lives. It allows you to look beyond the details of your personal or work life and get the bigger picture. It allows you to connect with and listen to your subconscious mind. It allows you to weed out non-essential activities that do not further your life goals.

She suggested letting Down Time into your life by spending time outdoors and appreciating nature. Down Time can be inserted by scheduling such intervals in your maximized calendar of activities. During these intervals, eat and/or drink outdoors, such as at picnics; engage all of your senses. Stay present and savor each moment.

Anisha was voted best speaker (tied with Chizuko).

Jim was her evaluator. Jim complimented Anisha about her soft smile, which she uses quite effectively to underscore her words. He recommended that her low, soft voice could be replaced by a louder, more confident tone. At the end, he was pleased that she offered the “how” of Down Time: two ways to engage all the senses by staying present and savoring the moment.

Sep, a new member, was the Table Topics Master for today. Her theme was board games. She asked for a volunteer to choose a paper that had a board game name and talk about themselves in relation to that game.

Nicki picked the game Monopoly and told how she and her sisters played a never ending game, where she always went bankrupt.  

Nicki was voted best table topics speaker.  

Anisha picked the game Trouble and mentioned problems with teachers while in the 3rd grade. This involved inviting a friend to her birthday party in a very innocently forceful way. The friend went to the party, but complained to the teacher and principal about her fear of being killed if she didn’t come to the party. 

Our guest Rance picked the game Chess and explained that he had never played it or learned it but had friends who did.

Sue was our humorist for today. She asked that we not tell her sister about Sue divulging an embarrassing episode.

The story occurred near Medford, Oregon. Her sister decided to avoid highway traffic and take a back road to her destination. A farmer is moving his herd across this road. A bull, part of the herd, takes great dislike to her sister’s Ford Pinto automobile and charges it, and went up and over. 

The Farmer, holding the bull down, needed the car to move from his leg. Ultimately an accident report was written and the Farmer paid for the car’s damages. This is a cautionary tale. You may be safer on heavily trafficked, more predictable highways.

Attendees were:  Jean, Jim, Naser, Sue, Robert, Barb, Pauline, Amritha, Anisha, Chizuko, Alice, Nicki, Sepidah, Jung as well as 3 guests: Andrew H., Rance, and Kyle.

Our active membership total remains at 26.

~~~~~ Respectfully Submitted by Robert, the Secretary
[A comment means to me that you read some part of this] ~~~~~

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June 16th 2015 Theme: Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway

“Fear is the mother of foresight”. ~~ Thomas Hardy

Welcome to the third meeting in June blog. Today, we had 3 guests attend our meeting.  
Sue was our toastmaster and offered empowerment and encouragement based on the book by Susan Jeffers called: Feel The Fear …And Do It Anyway 

She observed that fear is much less a psychological problem than an educational problem. It affects speakers and musicians. It is important to accept the fear within ourselves and move on anyway.

The GAT(e)  team was: Kathy  as Grammarian (Reminiscent), Jung as the Ah Counter, and Jean as the Timer.  

Jim was our first speaker today. He gave a talk from the Leadership Excellence Series. It was entitled “Developing A Mission Statement” and was delivered within 15 minutes.

His talk distinguished a vision statement from a mission statement. His objective was to clarify organizational jargon and transform these terms into a personal life mission whose goal is to realize the personal vision.

A vision is a non-specific statement of long term purpose.  Whereas, a mission is a broad statement that describes what daily activities occur to achieve the vision.

For a personal vision, the question, “what is your direction?” should suggest a one sentence epitaph on your tombstone. (How you want to be remembered.)

For a personal mission statement, write down successive versions and ask: Does this further my vision? Display your mission statement to keep it alive and visible and updatable.

Linda was his evaluator. Linda appreciated Jim’s introduction that was spoken by Sue to set the tone for the talk. She also liked the Star Trek metaphor and the readings Preston and Lynne gave for the Toastmaster vision and mission statements, respectively. She suggested that Jim give equal time (facially) to both sides of the audience despite equipment obstacles in the speaking area.

Our second speaker was Dave.  He offered his 4th Speech from the Competent Communicator’s Manual (Project #4 – How To Say It). His speech was called: “Why Do I Coach?” and was completed within 7 minutes.

Dave has 4 children and as part of their upbringing, coached Soccer, Basketball, Baseball and Lacrosse. He enumerated 10 reasons for his decision to coach:
• Enjoy being around youngsters, their banter, and special time in their lives
• Offer a positive influence on atheletes and teams
• Offset the scarcity of coaches
• Have and take the time to coach
• Feel and smell the field prior to a game
• Share the feeling of kids doing their hard working best
• Help them develop a positive work ethic
• Help them develop good sportsmanship and deemphasize Winning/Losing
• Meet and make friends with kids’ parents
• Become a better person by coaching

Dave was voted best speaker.

Barb was his evaluator. Barb felt that Dave’s speech used vivid images, precise words, and short sentences like “seeing a sea of kids with sticks”. The speech was well structured and the use  of notes worked well to give the 10 reasons why.

She recommended that Dave talk while standing still, vary the rhythm of the talk and leave the speaking area as he shakes hands with the toastmaster.

Our third speaker was Preston.  He did his 2nd Speech from the Competent Communicator’s Manual (Project #2 – Organize Your Speech). His speech was called: “What Is Paid Search?” and was completed within 7 minutes.

Preston explained what Paid Search or Pay Per Click means in the realm of search web sites like Google – which uses Adwords, Bing, and Yahoo.

He distinguishes the Search Market, which uses keywords. In this market, the advertiser bids on one or more key words and selects a bit amount. This is compared with the Display Market, which deals with pictorial ads and the advertiser bids “impressions” or the number of times an ad is shown. These pictorial ads show up in search engine results (ads, local lists, and organic links).
Naser was his evaluator. Naser complimented Preston about his insight in providing a new, informative view of Google search, where ads are ranked and advertisers are asked how much they want to pay Google to show their site.

Naser suggested that Preston offer a “takeaway” for this topic that the audience could use for themselves.

Naser was voted best evaluator.

Nicki, our newest member, was the Table Topics Master for today. Her topic was for a volunteer to describe a person, place or thing from childhood suggested by a written, starting letter picked from a basket.

Robert picked the letter M and launched into a memory of discovering m&m’s candy.

described a time when a boy offered gestures that he liked Alice while she, herself, was experiencing low self-esteem.

Alice was voted best table topics speaker.

Attendees were:  Linda, Jean, Jim, Lynne, Naser, Sue, Robert, Barb, Pauline, Julie, Kathy,  Anisha, Chizuko, David, Grace, Alice, Nicki, Sepidah, Preston, Jung, Diana as well as 3 guests: Andrew H., Srichand V, and Pratap B. Our active membership total remains at 26.

~~~~~ Respectfully Submitted by Robert, the Secretary [See, say then comment] ~~~~~


Monday, June 15, 2015

June 9th 2015 Theme: Success

“Success is getting what you want; Happiness is wanting what you get”. ~~ Dale Carnegie

Welcome to the second meeting in June blog. Today, we had 4 guests attend our meeting.

Barb was our toastmaster and offered printed insights about success (on the other side of the Agenda Page) with worldwide quotations including this one from the USA: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.  

The GAT(e)  team was: Preston  as Grammarian (Indicative), Naser as the Ah Counter, and Grace as the Timer.                                    

Lynne was our first speaker today. She completed her 10th speech (Project #10 – Inspire Your Audience) from the Competent Communication Manual. The speech was entitled “A Banquet Of Choices” and was delivered within 12 minutes.

Her title refers to Life as the multiple choices. She has learned that it is never too late to be what you are meant to be. It’s exciting to look at the future with great expectations. For Lynne, her first course was to try Toastmasters, then become a Yacht Club officer and then become a Rear Commodore. For the future she would like to taste being a Vice Commodore and then a Full Commodore. She is much more comfortable with being a leader.

Lynne was voted best speaker.

 Kathy was her evaluator. Kathy indicated that Lynne showed good eye contact, body language and vocal variety. In keeping with the Banquet analogy, she suggested specific appetizers (steps toward taking Yacht Club leadership) and perhaps a desert (Successful Opening Day 2015).

Our second speaker was Dave (A).  He offered his 3rd Speech from the Competent Communicator’s Manual (Project #3 – Get To The Point). His speech was called: “Social Security Retirement: Things To Know Before You Claim” and was completed within 9 minutes.

Dave used a series of powerpoint slides that introduced themselves for a limited time only. He explained the Benefit varieties of Social Security from the points of view of oneself, a spouse, a surviving spouse and an ex-spouse. He also discussed the timing of starting to draw benefits among the ages of 62, 66 and 70 and the effect on monthly payment size and the ultimate amount of money given to you in each case, should you live a very long time.

 Amrita was his evaluator. Amritha felt that Dave’s speech satisfied its purpose, to factually and clearly indicate the salient options as to when to draw Social Security benefits. The Graphs were especially compelling for visual learners. She liked the idea of knowledge = power and Dave’s unique humor.

Our third speaker was Linda.  She offered us a speech from the Successful Club Series. Her speech was called: “What’s The Power Of Evaluation?”  and was completed within 14 minutes.

Linda told why Evaluation is so important:
• Offers Face to Face feedback
• Offers improvements to make in the future
• Offers a way to build and maintain self-esteem

Evaluators should plan their responses based on the Speaker’s need:
- Talk to speaker before meeting starts
- Get the CC manual to record your reactions
- Note the manual and evaluation objectives
- Listen and take notes.

She related that in the Bruce Meeker Evaluation Workshop, it is helpful to use
• 3 column table with Column 1 (Characteristic), Column 2 (Done Well), Column 3 (Recommendation)
• Mind map to depict strengths and weaknesses

The Evaluator supplies the following (personalized) structure:
Opening, Objectives, Strengths, Improvements, Other Strengths, Summary, Closing/Conclusion.

Alice was her evaluator. Alice complimented Linda about using the Frog/Bird metaphor (from Amritha’s Speech the previous week). She liked her humor, pleasant smile and encouraging conclusion.  Alice suggested greater facial variety and a more dramatic depiction of the animals.

Alice was voted best evaluator.

Attendees were:  Linda, Jean, Jim, Lynne, Naser, Sue, Robert, Barb, Pauline, Jackie, Kathy, Amritha, Anisha, Chizuko, David A., Alice, Grace, Sepidah, Preston as well as 4 guests: Julie H., Gaby P., Nichole M., and Emory J. Our active membership total has been increased to 26, since Sepidah and Nichole joined during the week and today respectively.

~~~~~ Respectfully Submitted by Robert, the Secretary [You think? then comment] ~~~~~