Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mar. 24th, 2015 Theme: Quotes To Live By

What's another word for thesaurus? ~~ Steven Wright

Welcome to the fourth March meeting blog. On this day, we had 3 guests gracing our meeting room.  

Pauline was our toastmaster and conducted a streamlined and fully featured meeting.  She quoted the literalist Steven Wright: Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.”
The GAT(e)  team was: Anisha as Grammarian (Resilient), Dave P. as the Ah Counter, Jim as the Timer.
Grace was our first speaker of the afternoon. She completed the 1st project (The Icebreaker) of the Competent Communicator Manual within 6 minutes. Her speech title was "Talking About Myself".

Grace offered her history and journey of her life so far. In China, she was a Computer Guide for a hospital serving the staff and also maintained the Software System for 11,000 users. She met the man who was to be her husband there. He not only swept her off her feet, but swept her to the United States within two months of being married. She had to start to learn English. 

Grace is a helper and offers positive feelings to others. With these motivators, she trained and became a realtor.

Jean was her evaluator. Jean liked that Grace showed a big smile, friendliness and warmth. Prior to the onset of her speech, she showed great poise in waiting for the Timer to start the timing. Reenacting dialog between Grace and her husband to be was a highlight of this talk. Jean suggested that she slow down her speaking pace for greater audience comprehension and impact of her words.

Our second speaker, Kimberley, also completed her first speech, from the Competent Communicators Manual (The Icebreaker) within 6 minutes. The name of her speech was "Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone". Kimberley was born in a small town near Quebec, Ontario in Canada. Binoculars were a standard product used to find out the latest neighborhood goings-on.

She describes her mother as enduring narcolepsy and was a striking teacher of unconventional uses of household products: Toilet papering a house or the precise amount of dish soap to introduce to a town fountain.

Her dad was an Entrepreneur who traveled regularly and unfortunately passed away last summer.

In her mid-twenties, she moved to Vancouver, B.C. and spent some time surviving climbing rock faces. This was followed by a stint as a Sea Kayak Guide. In one anecdote, she described her Kayak partner Steve, as a man with odd reactions. A Bear sighting put him to sleep, yet walking on and crunching a shell frightened him into wakefulness.

Later, she used a Hydrophone to simulate whale sounds to other whales. A Baby Orca was curious and came to her, followed by a male Orca, who looked her in the eye and splashed her with his tail.

She is now happily living (perhaps more sedately) in Seattle.

Linda was her evaluator. Linda liked that Kimberley talked so openly about her background and threaded it with humor. There was comprehension and suspense while describing the Orca incident and the actual sound effect of a crunched shell was very effective. She liked that Kimberley seeks out adventures to have, grappling with nature. She suggested that a longer conclusion was needed, perhaps involving her dad’s journeys to tie back to her opening description of her family.

Linda won the best Evaluator award today.

Our third speaker, David A, completed the 6th speech from the Competent Communicators Manual (Use Vocal Variety) within 8 minutes. The name of his speech was "Have You Had A Pete Carroll Moment Lately?". David started out recreating the Seahawks superbowl cliffhanger atmosphere to bring out that we all could make use of a “Do Over Rule” to neutralize catastrophic mistakes.

His daughter was a soccer player and injured her lower back late last year. She was a model patient: wore a lower back brace to help mend the stress fracture there and took part in physical therapy. At a suitable time, she was weaned from the brace and the physical therapy. While she was given permission to go back into sports, her doctor suggested a sport whose season is just commencing, rather than one that is already in full swing.

She joined her team to play a semi-final soccer game (Dave was the Team Coach). She played OK but had limited stamina. The team won. So she played also in the Final game and while completing a penalty kick, she re-injured herself in her lower back (but ultimately, much less seriously).

Dave was aghast at what happened and was overwhelmed with remorse.

Dave A. was voted best Speaker.

Naser was his evaluator. He felt completely involved in the speech. The sports descriptions were very realistic. There was great vocal variety. He suggested that Dave provide dramatic pauses as in: “In the blink of an eye” – pause –  “it was over”.

Amritha was the Table Topics Master today. She prepared in advance several printed questions that volunteers were asked to come up and answer. 

Sue F. responded to “What makes a person beautiful?” : Talk, respect, offering feedback, and choosing to meet a lot of people for finding beauty.

Anisha responded to “If you want to offer a message to many people, what would it be?”: push yourself beyond your comfort to grow; learn when to fight, flee or freeze.

Barb responded to “What life lesson did you learn the hard way?”: Her first husband was unsuitable by popular acclaim, but she married him anyway to prove that everyone was wrong. 

Barb was voted best Table Topics Speaker

Our humorist was Sue F, who told a story about an employee seeking a recommendation from his supervisor and how the supervisor’s letter could be interpreted both favorably and unfavorably.

Attendees were:  Linda, Lynne, Jean, Jim, Robert, Barb, Dave P., Anisha, Preston, Pauline, Kimberley, Grace, Dave A., Alice, Jessica, Naser, Kathy, Amritha, along with guests: Chizuko Y., Hao W. and Sue F. Chizuko Y. joined our club today.  Our membership total is now at 27.

~~~~~ Respectfully Submitted by Robert, the Secretary [Speak in print or comment] ~~~~~

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mar. 17th, 2015 Theme: All Things Irish

No man is an Ireland. ~~ Chicago Mayor Richard Daley

Welcome to the St. Patrick’s Day meeting blog. On this day, we had 2 guests come to visit.  
Barb was our toastmaster and conducted a timely and educational meeting.  Notable were the Irish phrases like: Any Crack? (What’s the news?), and response: Divil a bit (Not much.) and the Irish blessing: May cat eat you and devil eat the cat.
The GATE  team was: Jung as Grammarian (Brilliant and beautifully handwritten pages!), Amritha as the Ah Counter, Kathy as the Timer, and Jim as the General Evaluator. 

Two of our members were recognized for their achievements of goals. Naser completed the requirements of his Competent Communicator Manual and received a 10th Speech award. Lynne completed the requirements of her Competent Leadership Manual and received her recognition certificate.
Jean was our first speaker of the afternoon. She completed the 6th project (Vocal Variety) of the Competent Communicator Manual just above 12 minutes. Her speech title was "The DCP – The Bigger Picture".

Jean provided a clear description of the Distinguished Club Program (DCP) and all of the point components needed by a club to get that award. She noted that our club has received the DCP in 3 consecutive years, a tribute to our club members and officers who progress in their individual toastmaster goals. She offered the Member Goal Tracking poster and two pre-placed handouts. One was a visual description of two tracks a member could take to achieve a Distinguished Toastmaster award.

The other was a snapshot of our clubs progress this year towards a DCP award. We have until June 30, 2015 to get the needed, remaining goals. Currently, we have achieved Select Distinguished (7 Goals met) and need 2 more goals for getting President’s Distinguished. Also, on May 19, 2015 our club will be 12 years old.

Jean was voted best Speaker.

Linda was her evaluator. Linda liked that Jean offered lots of interaction and eye contact. She was grateful for the Tracking Poster and the handouts, which kept the speech on track with the audience. She wondered about what led up to the creation of this club in 2003. The energy level with which Jean spoke was very attention getting.

Our second speaker, Jessica, completed her second speech, from the Competent Communicators Manual (Organize your speech) within 6 minutes. The name of her speech was "Walkers and Optimists". Jessica noted that her New Year’s Resolutions were to think positive thoughts and to become more optimistic. This was also a way to strengthen her long-term health.

She is looking forward to attending College in the Fall to take Calculus and Computer Science classes.  As a teenager, she had been prone to be easily discouraged and pessimistic about completing school. She looks up to TV heroes, like those Zombies that populate “The Walking Dead”. Those characters show optimism, persistence and a deep down conviction that there has got to be a way to resolve any difficult situation.

Naser was her evaluator. He liked her opening up about her New Years Resolutions and suggested a more interesting beginning might be to say: Did you know that a New Year’s Resolution can extend your life?  He liked her references to the inspiring characters in “The Walking Dead” TV Show. He thought of a different way of organizing the speech would give it more interest. He thought to let the Structure of the speech be in the telling of a story: First, you went to a party; Second, you got up the next morning; The audience is now hooked into wondering what happened in between those two events.

Naser won the best Evaluator award today.

Jim was our General Evaluator. He thought that the GATE team was effective in the conduct of their roles and the speakers and evaluators were enthusiastic and precise in their words and interactions with the audience.

Our humorist was Robert, who told two very different stories involving deaths. One was about a man’s prediction to his wife in his afterlife and how she responds. The other was a longer story about a man named Artie and his success in making headlines but in a pun-ish-ing way.

Attendees were:  Linda, Lynne, Jean, Jim, Robert, Barb, Pauline, Jung, Grace, Dave A., Preston, Diana, Alice, Jessica, Naser, Kathy and Amritha, along with guests: Diane W. and Sue F. Sue F. is expecting to rejoin us on April 1.  Our membership total is currently at 26.

~~~~~ Respectfully Submitted by Robert, the Secretary [Say the word(s) or comment] ~~~~~