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] ~~~~~

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Apr. 14th, 2015 Theme: Every Day Has A History

“Nobody else feels the same way about your dog as you do.” ~~ Daniel Clowes, Author of Ghost World, born April 14, 1961

Welcome to the pre-taxing April meeting blog. Today, we had 1 young guest with us.  

Jim was our toastmaster and conducted a lively and fast-moving meeting.  He talked about the 217 citings of April 14 events throughout the centuries. For examples, the first dictionary was published in 1828 by Daniel Webster; Apple’s Lawsuit against Microsoft for Graphical User Interface infringement was thrown out in 1992; and 99% of the human genome completed being sequenced in 2003.

The GATE  team was: Chizuko as Grammarian (Account), Jean as the Ah Counter, Alice as the Timer and Pauline as the General Evaluator.     
Lynne was our first speaker of the afternoon. She completed her 1st speech from the High Performance Leadership Manual (The Vision) in 7:01 minutes. Her speech title was "The Bigger Picture".

Lynne has chosen a high performance project as Chairperson to oversee and coordinate the 13th Annual Celebration of Opening Day by multiple Yacht Clubs including her own. This will occur on May 2, 2015, starting at 10AM (to 5PM) at the Dock below Anthony’s Restaurant in Everett. Celebrating the Seahawks will be the theme. A decorated boat/water parade round-trip between Everett and Mukilteo will occur. There will be food and an awards ceremony.

Lynne’s task is to encourage other competent, able people (especially owners of boats) to be chairpersons of various subcommittees and to sign up volunteers to populate these subcommittees.

With all these activities, (like plates on vertical sticks, in circles, spinning!) Lynne is determined to have fun, be grateful and flexible.

  Robert was her evaluator. Robert liked the ease in which she explained her leadership role elements, instantly assigned Pauline to be the person responsible (for a few moments). Lynne offered the Flyer for the event and passed around large pictures of previous celebrations. Her repeated interaction with the audience, Body language, joyful energy, positive movement throughout the speaking area all formed parts of an effective speech.

Lynne and Robert were voted best in their respective roles.

Our second speaker, Sue, completed her 2nd project (Organize Your Speech) from the Competent Communicators Manual , which was called: In The Cloud, What Does That Mean? in 6:24 minutes.

She talked about a training class in SQL Server Azure that she attended, where she was introduced to concepts such as cloud (computing), which lets people or companies use remote (to them), centralized applications and databases via a Web Browser. These people or companies may use large amounts of disk storage space or large numbers of transactions with a populated database, for which they might pay much money in exchange if the cloud owner is a large company like Amazon, Apple or Microsoft.

Sometimes these Applications and databases are realized by Virtual Machines which simulate physical computer operating systems and are housed in huge computer servers. This permits the cloud administrator to scale the computer demand with great flexibility.

Sue indicated several issues with cloud computing: Users are at the mercy of mandatory updates for all, even if they don’t want anything to change; Cloud services are available all the time, except when they are not. 

Sue discussed in her speech a sophisticated level of modern day computing architectures.

  Linda was her evaluator. Linda liked that Sue started with a humorous story of her training class at the beginning of her speech. Sue’s body language when depicting the “cloud” while looking down was an excellent visual. Due to the technical nature of the talk, a white board with the written names and acronyms would be a helpful supplement. Linda liked the benefits and issues involved with cloud computing. To relate the audience’s experience with the cloud, Linda suggested asking that Sue ask the audience about who uses Google Drive [or Microsoft Office 365 or Web based Mail -- me.]  Summarizing the most important points in a louder voice was also suggested.

  Our third speaker, Naser, offered a refined version of his contest speech in 6:53 minutes. Naser, as winner of the Area 54 contest last month, is competing on April 17, 2015 at the Division E Contest in Kirkland.

Round robin comments were offered to Naser, which admired the many improvements made to the speech “What Does Great Mean?”

See the March 10th and February 24th Blog posts for more information about the content of this speech.

  Amritha was the humorist for this day. She told a story about a long married couple. The wife kept a shoebox in the closet whose contents were forbidden to the husband to be opened and viewed. When the wife becomes seriously ill, the secret box is opened in her presence and the husband totally misconstrues the implications of the contents.

  Pauline was the General Evaluator today.  She liked the smoothness with which Alice replaced Grace (absent) as timer. Pauline wished that a short table topics section could be fit into the meetings, even with 3 speakers on the agenda. She thought that Linda as evaluator, could speak in a stronger voice. She also suggested that Robert get up prior to being introduced to streamline the Evaluation section.

  Two of our members received certificates for their endeavors. Diana received the Icebreaker Award for her first speech. Jim received his Competent Leadership Award for Completing the required roles in the Competent Leadership Manual.

Attendees were:  Linda, Jean, Jim, Robert, Barb, Dave P., Preston, Lynne, Jessica, Naser, Kathy, Alice, Amritha, Anisha, Chizuko, Sue, Pauline, Diana, as well as our young guest: Ivan H. pictured above. Our membership total remains at 27.

~~~~~ Respectfully Submitted by Robert, the Secretary [Come on and comment] ~~~~~


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Apr. 7th, 2015 Theme: Easter Bunny

An Easter Bonnet can tame even the wildest hare ~~ Unknown

Welcome to the first April meeting blog. Today, we had 3 guests attending our meeting.  

Naser was our toastmaster and conducted a full and enjoyable meeting.  He talked about the Easter tradition of celebrating new life at this season. The Anglo-Saxon Goddess Oestre (or Ostara) was the Goddess of Spring, Dawn, Fertility, Rabbits, Eggs and the East. Her primary qualities were bringing birth, rebirth and renewal to a winter-weary world.
The GAT(e)  team was: Linda as Grammarian (Triumphant), Chizuko as the Ah Counter and Jessica as the Timer.

Pamela was our first speaker of the afternoon. She completed her 1st speech from the Competent Communicators Manual (The Ice Breaker) in 5:30 minutes. Her speech title was "Getting To Know Pam".

Pamela summarized the first part of her life as: born in Enumclaw, moved to Buckley, married her childhood sweetheart, raised 2 sons. She preferred kitchen dish toys to books and when her sister introduced her to a Tea Room in Burlingame, CA, that became an abiding theme in her life. She moved to Redmond, then Arizona, then Bothell. She acquired training, catering instruction, learned tea etiquette, but could not absorb marketing. She now offers locally, a tea catering at your home business.

Pamela won the best Speaker award today (tied with Amritha).

Jean was her evaluator. Jean liked her excellent gestures, audible voice, eye contact encompassing the entire room's occupants. She also appreciated the various steps from a little girl with toy tea cups and saucers to commercial tea cups and saucers and how that journey was tied together in her speech. Jean encouraged her in a future speech to step out in front of the lectern and speak directly to us.

Our second speaker, Amritha, completed her 3rd project (Get To The Point) from the Competent Communicators Manual , which was called: HABITS – Cornerstones Of Success In Life in 10:40 minutes.

She talked about how her life changed after she joined our club on 12/16/2014. Her habit of procrastination would be put to the test. She based her ability to deal with forming more helpful habits with a book called: Mini-Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results by Stephen Guise.

She described what parts of our mind are involved with habit formation. The conscious mind manages and thinks and makes decisions; The subconscious mind recognizes patterns and does repetition.
She identified four steps to mini-habit formation: (1) Identify a desired goal [Finish a book]  (2) Identify a required habit [Read every day] (3) Define a Mini-Habit [Read at least 3 pages/day] and (4) Track the progress toward meeting your goal. [Book done yet?]

She gave all of us an exercise to use these steps for our own individual goals.

Amritha won the best Speaker award today (tied with Pamela).

Dave A. was her evaluator. Dave liked that Amritha satisfied the goals of her speech project. She kept her composure, varied the rhythm of her speaking (talk, stop, focus while pausing, carry on speaking). He was delighted with her passion as evidenced by her movements covering the entire inner U shaped space throughout her talk. He suggested that her audience focus be expanded to both sides as well as in front of her.

Our third speaker, Preston, completed his 1st speech from the Competent Communicators Manual (The Ice Breaker) in 5:24 minutes. Preston talked about his work experience marketing Aerospace Engineering to Colleges where he collaborated with a colleague. Preston wrote and his colleague spoke on Conference Calls.  In a later job, he got to do both the writing and speaking, but this time in a Webinar setting where the audience was 5-10 times greater and nationwide. (e.g. 30 attendees from Minnesota alone). This gave him an unexpected dose of stage-fright. Preston has joined our club to reduce his tendency toward stage-fright and to receive positive and gentle guidance for improvement in his public speaking.

Barb was his evaluator. Barb was very impressed with Preston’s ability to speak without notes, stand up in front of us and offer a well-organized description of his path to Toastmasters. She enjoyed him describing the synchronicity of the increasing number of Minnesota Webinar connections with his mounting fear. She praised his timing, comfortable speaking style, and vivid descriptions of his situations.

Barb was voted best Evaluator.

Jim was the Table Topics Master for this meeting. He provided separate questions to two volunteers, who were to answer and talk for at least 45 seconds and no more than 2.5 minutes.

Alice answered the question: Would you rather be invisible or fly? She chose invisibility and listed various benefits that deliciously go to the dark side to gain an advantage.

Alice won the award for best Table Topics Speaker.
Dave P. answered the question: How different are you from all others? His response was that he had a unique ability to be and remain positive in all situations.

Our humorist was Robert. He first offered an Easter Bunny Formula:

Easter Bunny = Santa Claus – (Breaking And Entering)

He then told a story about a motivational speaker who used an attention-getting verbal device successfully in a seminar and of an executive in the audience, who decided to try it out at a dinner party held that weekend to disastrous effect.

In the photo below, Grace has captured the shared chocolate addiction of two of our members: Barb and Alice (l-r). As best in their respective categories, each received the edible Easter Bunny. (Amritha was also a recipient of this award.)

Attendees were:  Linda,  Jean, Jim, Robert, Barb, Dave P., Dave A., Preston, Pamela, Pauline, Diana, Jessica, Naser, Grace, Alice, Amritha, Chizuko, Sue along with guests: Emily G., James C. and Tobias B. Our membership total remains at 27.

~~~~~ Respectfully Submitted by Robert, the Secretary [State your views or comment] ~~~~~