Sunday, December 6, 2015

Dec 1st 2015 Theme: Christmas Decorations

The Earth reminded us of a Christmas tree ornament hanging in the blackness of space. As we got farther and farther away, it diminished in size. Finally, it shrank to the size of a marble, the most beautiful marble you can imagine.  ~~ James Irwin, Astronaut (1930 - 1991)

Welcome to the first meeting in December blog entry.

Jan was our toastmaster of the day. She offered historical information about lighted candles treated as Christmas tree ornaments and the relative lack of (forest?) fires occurring.

The GAT(e) team comprised of: Grammarian – Warren [facilitate],  Ah Counter – Lynne, and Timer – Devi.

There were three speakers and three corresponding evaluators.

The first speaker was Chizuko, who completed project #4 from the Competent Communicator manual.  She spoke within 7 minutes in a speech entitled: "Accounting Translation Taught Me A Lot Of Things!"

Chizuko emphasized at the onset that her job in Business translation differs significantly from Literature translation. It concerns numbers, profits, costs, revenues, material imports, and the current value of the Yen (Japanese Currency) and in her view, is inherently boring. She offered her multilingual skills in accounting and in her quest for flexibility, dealing with different perspectives, she successively specialized in projects such as a Family Restaurant, a heavy machinery firm, a Welfare organization for the elderly and the Academic Society of Concrete.

She was evaluated by Jean. Jean thought she used highly descriptive vocabulary about her job and offered a clear vision of Chizuko at her desk learning about various business terms. Recommendations included moving her body in a triangular set of positions to cover the entire audience and creating a 4"x6" card in 3 colored sections to encapsulate her speech: the first section Green with the speech start; the second Black with the speech body; the third red with the summary. This card would be an alternative to referring to the entire speech on paper from time to time. She thought Chizuko showed humor, brilliance, poise and was well organized.

The second speaker was Jim, who completed project #2 from the Advanced Storytelling manual.  He spoke within 8 minutes in a speech entitled: "The Challenges Paul Brought Me".

Jim told of a time when he was a Psychology Intern and was assigned to Paul, a 14-year-old (but looked like an 8-year-old) patient who was diagnosed with severe autism, since he made sounds only. He didn't speak in words. Jim's had a 3-part plan to improve the boy's quality of life. 

First, to deal with (lack of) control issues, he began to talk and hold hands and walk with Paul. He was successful with this. Second, to teach him to talk. He rewarded Paul with an m&m candy whenever Paul mimicked the word "mama" in any approximation. Eventually, he was able to speak this word to his mother, who was beyond gratified. Third, to protect Paul, he used a creative re-diagnosis to avoid a mandated transfer to a hostile all male ward in favor of a more supportive child/adult center across the campus. His speech was very moving.

Jim was voted the best speaker.

He was evaluated by Barb. She wanted to know more about Paul. Jim's speech was grounded, and focused us on the where, when and relationship and goals. She liked the character description provided to the climax and conclusion of the speech. She liked the objective oriented structure of the speech with 3 goals and the summarization by grading himself on how well he accomplished these goals. She suggested more description, including about Jim himself during these interactions with Paul.  

Barb was voted the best evaluator.

The third speaker was Warren, who completed project #2 from the Competent Communicator manual.  He spoke within 7 minutes in a speech entitled: "Force Field Analysis – A Cool Tool".

Warren talked about a process to make visible and tangible goals for individuals, families, work groups, organizations or entire corporations or other hierarchical entities. He described teams that analyzed the supportive and resistant/preventive forces and each came up with an action plan to increase the driving forces and decrease the opposing forces to come closer to a desirable state. Action plan elements were also characterized by the individual or higher level where they could be best accomplished. The 5 most pressing issues became the plan for the following year.

He was evaluated by Julie. She was impressed with his gestures and the gradual unveiling of the process pictures to make the analysis clear. She wondered if this could also apply to any toastmaster club. She suggested that he could be a bit more dynamic and adjust his voice to emphasize certain points. In all, she was quite impressed with the concept he presented. 

Dave was our humorist for today. He offered story about an elderly couple (Esther and Morris) who visited the state fair and went up on a helicopter ride on the condition that if they remained completely silent, the ride would be free, other wise they'd each have to pay $50. To influence them to yell or scream, the pilot did stunts and maneuvers designed to frighten them into yelling. When the helicopter landed, Morris and the pilot had decisively resolved the eternal tug of war between love and money.

1 Guest, Jing Z. and 12 Members attended this meeting: Barb, Chizuko, Dave, Devi, Jan, Jean, Jim, Julie, Kathy, Lynne, Robert and Warren.

Our active membership total has increased by 1 to 31 and we welcome our newest member Jing Z. (not to be confused with Jing Yuan Z.).

Respectfully Submitted,

Robert Katz for Amritha Imandi, Secretary
Public Speaking Northwest #9406


  1. Thank you for writing this blog, Robert. You summarized each talk so clearly that I felt like I was experiencing this excellent meeting all over again.

  2. Robert, I was at the meeting, but I learned a lot from the blog. Apparently I wasn't listening that well at the meeting, so I really appreciate your detailed summary. Thanks so much!

  3. Robert, I was at the meeting, but I learned a lot from the blog. Apparently I wasn't listening that well at the meeting, so I really appreciate your detailed summary. Thanks so much!

  4. Robert, after so many days i have gotten a chance to really relax and sit in front of the computer. Reading our blog was one of my to-do things of the day. You summarized every aspect of the meeting so well (as you always do :-)), i now have a desire to see and listen to the speeches myself. Special thanks for doing this in my absence. Amritha