Sunday, July 26, 2015

July 21st 2015 Theme: Annual Awards Party

Americans are always mortified when I tell them this, but in England, it's a tradition to put your plaques and photographs and awards and gold records and stuff in your bathroom. I don't know why.” ~~ Adele

Welcome to the third meeting in July blog. Today, we had 12 guests attend our meeting. 

Jim was our toastmaster today who conducted a full-fledged meeting. To allow time for the award ceremony and table topics section, the speakers were not evaluated formally, but in written comments.

The GAT(e) team was: Grammarian - None, Sep as the Ah Counter and Kathy as the Timer.

Andrew was our first speaker today He offered his 1st Speech from the Competent Communicator Manual, Project #1 – Ice Breaker. The title of his speech was “Women, Mentors and Cats”. He completed his speech within 6 minutes.

Andrew shared with us his story and experiences of growing up as the only male child among females – mother and sisters. The only male companion in his house was his cat. As a grownup, he worked in various fields including concrete, iron work, as a Marine and in the IT sector. He found his mentor who helped him get through the thick and thin of life – Jesus.
He got married to a wonderful Mexican lady and is the father of their 3 girls. After the birth of their 3rd daughter, being the only male in the family, he got himself a male cat.

Our second speaker was Jackie.  She offered her 1st
Speech from the Competent Communicator Manual, Project #1 – Ice Breaker. The title of her speech was: “What’s far more precious than life?” She completed her speech within 6 minutes.

In her Ice Breaker, Jackie shared with us the core values of her family- the foundations that were laid down for her as a child – honor, courtesy, honesty and gratitude. She was born in San Diego, CA and as a child, lived in Manila, Philippines.

As an adult, her travel to Japan for business purposes further reinforced the values that had been embedded in her. At present, she and her husband are entrepreneurs working from home which allows them to spend time with their children.
Jackie is the author of 2 books titled “Customer Loyalty 101” and “How to Stop Losing Patients NOW”.
Barb – our Division E Director distributed badges to our award recipients. She recognized the effort each of them put towards their achievement, thus helping our club become recognized as “President’s Distinguished.”
Our award recipients were as follows:
Jean - DTM
Naser - CC
Jim – CC, ALB
Linda – CC, CL
Robert – ACB, CL
Lynne – CC

Naser was our Table Topics Master today. The theme chosen was “Stories from around the world”. As an example, he narrated a short story about a fox and a crow, the moral being “Beware of cunning foxes around you who try to attack where you are weakest.”

Pat S shared with us the story of a king who sent his most beloved daughter away from the kingdom when she announced that she loved the king as much as she loved salt. After she left, the king missed the delicious meals that she used to cook for him. He realized his mistake and when she sneaked back in disguise and was revealed, brought her into the kingdom and lived happily ever after.

Amritha shared a story that she heard from her dad as a kid. It was about a bird’s efforts in building a nest for his family. The bird collects one twig at a time, starts building his nest, and continues the process till he is finally successful. She observes that success in life comes by taking tiny steps with patience – one step at a time – just like the bird.

Alice shared the story of 2 frogs who fell into a bucket of cream. After trying to jump out by paddling their feet for a little while, one frog gives up and drowns; while the other keeps paddling and paddling, in the process the cream turns to butter and then cheese and he is able to jump out. Through this story, Alice encourages us to persevere  – paddling like the frog - no matter how difficult the circumstances look.

Sep – Talked about an advisor to the King of Persia, who, each day, got up early, walked to the palace and worked diligently. The King had him followed one day and the Advisor got mugged. The sardonic moral to this story is: “The early bird catches the worm.”   

Gregory shared a real life event from his father’s life. He told of how his grandfather (after his death) communicated to his dad about a future danger that was about to befall his grandmother. This involved lightning striking a tree next to his grandmother’s house. Gregory’s granddad advised his dad to take appropriate actions to ensure the safety of his grandmother. And so the tree was chopped down and the disaster prevented. By sharing this event, he conveys to us that our ancestors are around watching out for us.
We had 2 winners of the CL Manual drawing. They were: Robert and Jung.  Each of them received $15 Starbucks gift card.

Few pictures of audience from the meeting are posted below:

Our members attending numbered 20 and were:  Alice, Amritha, Andrew, Barb, Dan, Diana, Jackie, Jean, Jerry, Jessica, Jim, Julie, Jung, Kathy, Linda, Liz, Naser, Pauline, Robert, Sep along with 12 guests:  DanDan, Gregory G., JC M., Jessica D., Koko, Mike R., Natalia M., Pat S., Shreya K., William W., Yan, Yash K.

Our active membership total currently is at 32

Respectfully Submitted,

Amritha Imandi, Secretary

Public Speaking Northwest #9406

Saturday, July 18, 2015

July 14 2015 Theme:Leadership

“Leadership cannot really be taught, it can only be learned.” ~~ Harold S. Geneen

Welcome to the second meeting in July blog. Today, we had 3 guests attend our meeting. 

Barb was our toastmaster today.

The GAT(e) team was: Julie as Grammarian (Pernicious), Andrew as the Ah Counter, Nicki as the Timer and Jean as the evaluator.

Jung was our first speaker today She offered her 1st
Speech from the Competent Communicator Manual, Project #1 – Ice Breaker. The title of her speech was “New Priorities”. She completed her speech within 7 minutes.

Jung began her talk by sharing with us her belief that setting priorities is important for leading a balanced life. She was a Korean literature teacher in her home country Korea. While in her 40’s, due to a better job opportunity that her husband got, she and her family (husband and 2 daughters) moved to Seattle.

Her priorities changed while raising her daughters in America. Wanting to be the best mother to her children, she decided to stay home and give them the best education possible.

Today she and her husband are the proud parents of a doctor and a lawyer. Jung’s elder daughter is a practicing doctor in Boston. She went on to graduate from MIT, then to receive a PhD in Immunology from Oxford and thereafter to Harvard to earn her MD. Her younger daughter graduated from UW, Seattle and studied law. Currently, she is a practicing attorney in Seattle.

After her daughters moved out, she realized it was time to reprioritize her goals in life. 6 years ago, she discovered her passion for oil paintings. She took art lessons, met many artists and visited museums around the world. Painting gives her a peace of mind and a sense of accomplishment. She shared with us 2 beautiful oil paintings that she made. She aims to have her own exhibition one day.

Her desire to improve English communication skills led her to Toastmasters.  She thoroughly enjoys being a part of our club. Today, she is thrilled to have new priorities and goals – working on improving her oil painting skills, becoming fluent in English and building her self-confidence.

Amritha was her evaluator.  She liked how well Jung introduced us to herself and her family in her short Ice Breaker Speech. She appreciated Jung sharing her viewpoint on prioritizing and setting goals.

Amritha liked that Jung’s speech was well-organized, clear and audible with good pauses. She congratulated Jung on not using any notes. She appreciated Jung sharing her paintings with the club.
As a suggestion, she encouraged Jung to move out in front of the podium and get comfortable with the stage space in future speeches. She also suggested that Jung could have passed her paintings during the course of her speech instead of towards the end.

Our second speaker was Sepideh (Sep).  She offered her
her 1st Speech from the Competent Communicator Manual, Project #1 – Ice Breaker. She completed her speech within 6 minutes. 
Through her Ice Breaker, Sep shared with us her experiences in JinZhou (pronounced Gin-Joe), China – where she was an English teacher for a local university for 3 years.

Sep graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Communication Journalism. Through her friends, she came across a Chinese company looking to hire English teachers for their University in China. Though she had little hopes of getting accepted, her desire to lead a less stressful life and enthusiasm to visit another country led her to apply for the position. To her surprise she was accepted.

Eager to travel to a new country she did her paperwork, packed and within weeks was in China. Being a foreigner, she carried with her a mandarin phrase book which she hoped would help her to communicate with local people.
One day, on a cold winters evening she was walking along the street in Tiananmen Square, hungry and thirsty. Not able to find a restaurant, she approached a guard who was close by, and asked “Where is restaurant?” in English but the man did not understand even a single word. She tried to tell him using signs and then used her phrase book to show the guard what she meant. She soon realized he didn’t know to read.

At last, she said “Woalla” meaning “I am hungry” in Chinese. She learnt this from her brother whose goal in life was to learn “I am hungry” in all languages. The guard had a hearty laugh and pointed her in the direction of the closest restaurant. A one mile walk led her to McDonalds.
During her 3 year stay, she made great friendships and found some of her best friends. Sep shared with us her Chinese driver’s license and 2 pictures – one of herself in a Chinese costume and the other with a friend.
Sep was voted the best speaker.

Alice was her evaluator. Alice appreciated how Sep started her speech with a question - a great interactive start to any speech. She liked how Sep walked to the front of the stage and presented herself without just staying behind the podium.
She gave kudos to Sep’s natural, smooth body language with good hand gestures. The use of humor throughout Sep’s speech was well appreciated.

As a suggestion, Alice recommended Sep to talk a bit louder.

Our third speaker was Naser.  He offered his 4th Speech
from the Humorously Speaking Manual. The title was "Weatherman". Through his hilarious speech, Naser shared with us how he earned the nick name "Weatherman”. He completed the speech within 8 minutes.

In the year 2005, while being dissatisfied with the job he had in India, Naser decides to look for a new job. When the upper management learns about this, he gets a call from the VP of his company with a better proposition for him – a job offer to manage a team in Boston, MA.

Instead of listening to his brain (which weighs the pros and cons of the offer) or to his heart, he chooses to listen to his wife (so that if things did not work out well, he could blame it on her) whose desire is to come to US.

Before his travel, he gets trained to familiarize himself with US culture. In the training, he is informed never to have a conversation with Americans about family, religion, and politics – he is left wondering what was left to start a conversation. That is when he is told it is always ok to talk about the weather.

Shortly thereafter, he gets posted to Illinois. His friend receives him at the airport. Naser is eager to have a conversation with his friend about family, children etc. but did not want to offend him in any way. So the only topic remaining to Naser is to talk about the weather. The next day at work after being introduced to the team, to start the conversation, again he talks about weather. And thus began his journey towards earning the nickname “weatherman”.

A few years later, he was transferred to Seattle. He faces situations where he has to interact with clients. Due to lack of topics for conversations, sometimes he chooses to be quiet and sometimes, talks about weather.

Ultimately, he went to his first toastmasters club in Bellevue. There he met toastmasters who spoke about family, relationships and much more. He fell in love with the energy, passion and enthusiasm of these men and women and decided to become a member. Since that day, he has actively participated in toastmasters.

Jim was his evaluator. He appreciated that throughout the speech, Naser stood with confidence and took deliberate strides. He especially liked the humor that Naser put into the beginning of his story – passing the choice to his wife thus insulating himself from criticism.

As a suggestion, Jim offered Naser to consider using props – one to depict his move from India to US and another related to weather, to set the stage up for humor.

Jim was voted the best evaluator.

Jean was our general evaluator today. She appreciated Robert who volunteered to lead the pledge of allegiance in the absence of Lynne. She also appreciated Naser who took over Linda’s role to preside over the meeting and to welcome guests.

She explained the importance of timing speeches. She pointed out that if speakers were to take part in competitions or speak in events outside the club, it is important that they stay within time limits. She gave a brief description to our guests about the sandwich model of evaluations.

She also suggested that evaluations should always end with a summary of the points already made – the compliments, suggestions and compliments (sandwich method).

Robert was our humorist today. He shared with us a conversation between a husband and a wife. The wife is making fried eggs for both of them. Her husband walks into kitchen, looks at the stove and her and starts micro-managing her egg frying procedure with screams, panic and anxiety.
Listening to her husband, she asks, “Do you think I don’t know how to make fried eggs?”
The husband replies, “Honey, I just wanted you to experience how it feels while I drive with you in the car!!!”

Towards the end of the meeting Naser presented awards. Nicki, Jung and Sep received their Certificate of Achievement for completing their Ice Breaker speech. Robert received the Competent Leadership award for taking up leadership roles in the club and mentoring fellow club members.

Attendees were:  Naser, Jim, Dave, Alice, Rance, Sep, Grace, Robert, Nicki, Julie, Jean, Jerry, Andrew, Amritha, Jung, Barb along with 3 guests: Dan K., Jessica P. and Liz L.
Our active membership total currently is at 30.

Respectfully Submitted,

Amritha Imandi, Secretary
Public Speaking Northwest #9406

Sunday, July 12, 2015

July 7th 2015 Theme: Independence Day

The new electronic independence re-creates the world in the image of a global village." ~~ Marshall McLuhan

Welcome to the first meeting in July blog. Today, we had 6 guests attend our meeting. 
Amritha was our toastmaster. 

The GAT(e) team was: Jung as Grammarian (Amicable), Julie as the Ah Counter, and Andrew as the Timer. 

Our new officers for the term 
July - Dec 2015 were inducted at the start of the meeting. James Collins, Area 54 Director, presided over the induction ceremony. 

Before the induction of 
new officers, he thanked 
the outgoing officers for 
their invaluable services.

The new officers for the next 6 months are:
• Linda, President           
• Naser, VP Education
• Grace, VP Membership 
• Diana, VP Public        Relations
• Amritha, Secretary       
• Jim, Treasurer
• Lynne, Sergeant at Arms

Naser was our first speaker today. He gave a talk from the Humorously Speaking Manual, Project 3. It was entitled “Flying Guru” and was delivered within 10 minutes.

Naser began his talk by asking – How many in the room would believe him if he said he could teach us to breathe fire or jump out of the space needle? Not many hands were raised.
He shared with us the meaning and origin of the word Guru - a Sanskrit word for teacher, meaning the remover of ignorance. In today’s world, people often tend to ignore the many gurus around them. How does a guru feel when he is not taken seriously? To demonstrate his point he led us through a story.

You are seated in a flight flying across the Brazilian rain forests, a sudden engine failure leads to a crash. Surviving with some injuries, you find yourself amongst a group of people – all of them with their eyes covered with leaves. You soon figure out you could be their guru - teach them to remove their blindfold and see. And thus let them experience the beautiful world around them. Who would believe you? The problem is that people do not believe what they do not understand. He finished the story with the question - What can you do to promote understanding?

He suggested that we be open minded and be willing to listen to what gurus try to say.

He prompted us to see ourselves as gurus.

Naser was voted best speaker.

Jean was his evaluator.  Jean liked how Naser started his speech by talking about “dragons breathing fire” “jumping out of the space needle”. She mentioned how the use of his punchline, “A Guru might be Superman”  fit in really well with his sudden costume change.

She appreciated the involvement of audience as gurus in his talk and how he prompted the audience to think of themselves as gurus. She especially liked his statement “People don’t believe what they don’t understand.”  She suggested creating more space for himself by pushing back the lectern.

Our second speaker was Nicki.  She offered her 1st
Speech from the Competent Communicator Manual, Project #1 – Ice Breaker. She completed her speech within 6 minutes.

Nicki started her talk with the question - What should she be called – Nicki or Nicole? Growing up, she was called Nicole only when in trouble. At all other times, she went by her nickname Nicki. Now that she is a grown up woman, a mother and a business woman, would people take her name Nicki seriously? Apparently everyone did.

She started her career and became a successful insurance agent. After 10 years, she decided to pursue life as a nurse after helping her brother-in-law survive cancer. She felt a deep calling to be of service to others and went to college at age 35 to get a degree in pre-nursing.

Soon she realized she didn’t want to be a nurse, instead was drawn towards being a business owner to pursue her ideas and vision. Today she runs her company “Seattle International BioMed” providing connections between Brazilian raw materials Suppliers and Medical and Chemical Biotechnology U.S. Companies.

She is the loving mother and teacher of her 16 year old son who taught her a lot about patience, understanding, hard work and determination.
At the end of her speech, she concluded that she has chosen to continue with both Nicki and Nicole.

Jim was her evaluator. He congratulated Nicki on her 
solid Ice Breaker. He liked how she started with a question, maintained suspense throughout and how she tied it beautifully with the ending of her speech.

He liked her well- paced talk with smooth transitions. He pointed out that her speech was organized in a logical manner and appreciated her sense of humor.

Jim was pleased with how well Nicki handled the podium. As a suggestion, he encouraged her to move out in front of the podium and get more comfortable in her future talks.

Jim was voted the best evaluator.

Our third speaker was Anisha.  She offered her 3rd Speech from the Competent Communicator Manual,
Project #3 – Get to the point. Her title was “Is it safe to jump in the lake?” She completed her speech within 7 minutes.

Throughout her speech, Anisha helped us understand the problem of water pollution. She shared with us how a friend of hers asked a question “Is it safe to jump into the lake in summer?” Given the fact that bodies of water are extremely polluted in her home country (India), she set out to look at the situation in Seattle. How safe are our bodies of water?

She posed a question to the audience “Where would water runoff occur more if 10 gallons were dumped onto a lawn or onto a pavement?” It turns out due to pavement being waterproof, water runoff occurs moreso on pavement.

She educated us about storm water runoff and how it affects the fish and wild life of our natural water resources. Fast flowing water causes erosion and thus sediments deposit in water sources which in turn cause depletion of oxygen from water – posing threat to wildlife and fish. Storm water runoff also increases the temperature of the streams thus adversely affecting wildlife and fish.

She mentioned that she would share tips and solution to deal with storm water runoff in her next talk.

Linda was her evaluator. Linda appreciated the 
technical topic that Anisha chose. However, she did suggest further explanation of some terms. 

Linda liked how the club members were involved in the speech. She pointed out Anisha had fine eye contact, good speech structure and her nervousness seemed very controlled. She wished that Anisha could have answered her leading question, “What can we do about Water Runoff?” in this speech rather than the next one.
She suggested Anisha to speak a bit louder so that her message is clear to the whole room.

Barb was our Table Topics Master. Due to time constraints, we had only 2 table topics speakers who were our guests Marcus and James Collins.

Marcus spoke about one brave/foolish act that he remembers. He spoke about how he foolishly picked up a table topics question during the meeting without actually realizing he had to speak. 

He was voted the best Table Topics Speaker.

James Collins spoke about how parents and children find challenges in day to day life. By letting kids learn by trial and error, he pointed out it is hard as parents to watch them and not correct them often. While taking this approach, many times he watches his children learn the hard way.

Dave was our humorist. He shared a joke about an experience riding a horse.  One day while he was horse riding, the horse started bouncing out of control. No matter how hard he tried to hold on, he was thrown off but remained hanging down from the horse as his foot got caught in the stirrup. Just as he was giving up hope and losing consciousness, the Walmart Greeter came and unplugged the horse!

Attendees were:  Linda, Robert, Naser, Grace, Pauline, Dave, Rance, Diana, Andrew,  Barb, Jim, Julie, Jean, Anisha, Nicki, Jung, Amritha as well as 6 guests: Marcus, Steve W., Stephanie T., Liz L.,  Jerry H. (a previous member who plans to reactivate his membership) and James Collins
Our active membership total currently is at 29.

Respectfully Submitted,

Amritha Imandi, Secretary
Public Speaking Northwest #9406