Sunday, November 29, 2015

Nov 24th 2015 Theme: Family

“I don't have to look up my family tree, because I know I am the sap.” ~~ Fred Allen

Welcome to the fourth meeting in November blog.

            Barb was our toastmaster of the day.

The GAT(e) team comprised of: Grammarian – Robert, Ah Counter – Jan, Timer – Tobias.

Devi was the first speaker of the day. She completed her Project #3 from the CC Manual – Get to the point. Title of her speech “Changes! Challenges!! Cheers!!!” Duration of her speech: 5-7 mins.

Through her speech, Devi shared with us the various challenges that came into her life as a result of the changes that took place during different phases of her life. But towards the end of each challenging phase, she learnt important life lessons and hence she gives cheers to those challenges.

After graduation, Devi got a job as a lecturer in the same college from where she graduated. While as a student she was sometimes careless, as a lecturer she knew she had the responsibility to teach her students. While living with her parents, she could afford to dump all her belongings on the couch, but after getting married she had to discipline herself.

Moving to Seattle from India was a great change in her life. After the first few months, she started missing her family and felt lonely. But with her husband’s encouragement, she took this change positively. Finally, after giving birth to her son, Devi who was fond of sleeping had to go through many sleepless nights.

Amritha was her evaluator. She appreciated how Devi conveyed her message through stories from her life with a well-organized and well-structured speech.

Our second speaker was Naser. He completed Project #2 from the advanced communication Manual – Interpreting Poetry. For this project, Naser chose the poem Daffodils written by William Wordsworth. Duration of his speech – 6 to 8 mins.

Naser was introduced to the poem Daffodils during his school days through his English textbook. During the speech, along with reading the poetry, Naser shared with us how the poem invoked within him strong emotions during his school days that they became his favorite flower though he had never seen it in real life. An assignment given to him by his teacher to describe the poet’s emotions when he saw 10,000 daffodils further strengthened his love for daffodils.

Years later, when he first visited the tulip festival, he got a chance to see his favorite flower. After spending few minutes near those flowers, he started sneezing and rashes appeared - he realized that it his favorite flower daffodil had started an allergic reaction in his body. Naser says even to this day Daffodil is his favorite flower, thanks to the strong emotional feeling that was invoked within him by the poet.

Jim was his evaluator. Jim gave kudos to Naser on his expressive, musical recital of the poem. He appreciated how well Naser blended in humor into his poetic talk.

Our third speaker was Warren. He completed his Project #1 from the CC Manual – Ice Breaker. The title of his speech was “If only I Could…”. The duration of his talk was 4-6 mins.

Through his Ice Breaker, Warren shared with us the following 6 principles that led him through a successful career.

·       Profit – Understand where profit is made in your company and contribute.
·       Risk and Reach out – Move out of your comfort zone and learn to deal with your weakness and learn.
·       Own customers – you have to be a part of the profit, not the overhead.
·       Fake it until you make it – When faced with a situation that you are not sure how to handle, have confidence and proceed.
·       Invent / Innovate – Finding new solutions to existing problems makes you a more valuable resource.
·       Teach – Assume the role of a teacher to learn better.

The first alphabets of Warren’s principles when put together forms the word PROFIT. What a simple way to keep these important principles in mind!!!

Jean was his evaluator. She pointed out that Warren was a natural speaker. With good gestures, eye contact and the use of a white board – Warren gave a wonderful Ice Breaker.

Both Warren and Jean were voted best in their respective categories.

Lynne was our table topics master. Our table topics speakers were Tobias, Andrew, Jan and Amritha.

Tobias spoke about how his family is a link to his present and a bridge to the future. Being a dad to grown up daughters’ who are in in college now, his children have always been there to cheer him up at all times.

Andrew spoke about how his children teach him about life. Having 3 daughters of his own, he is amazed at how quickly they learn. His daughters’ inspire him to learn and be joyful.

Jan spoke about her thoughts on healing the world through healings one’s family. She believes that creating a loving family, we relate to others with love. Love allows to develop a grudge and resentment free world.

Amritha spoke about how by spending quality time with her children, she is able to be a better parent herself. Looking back to her childhood years, she now understands that the time her parents devoted for their children laid the foundation to a strong future.

Jan was voted the best table topics speaker.

Members who attended the meeting numbered to 18 and were:  Amritha, Andrew, Barb, Chizuko, Dan, Devi, Jan, Jean, Jim, Julie, Linda, Liz, Lynne, Naser, Rance, Robert, Tobias, and Warren.

Our active membership total currently is at 30.
Respectfully Submitted,

Amritha Imandi, Secretary
Public Speaking Northwest #9406

Monday, November 23, 2015

Nov 17th 2015 Theme: What Sports, Politics and War Have in Common

“Sports is like a war, but without the killing.” ~~ Ted Turner

Welcome to the third meeting in November blog.

         Jim was our toastmaster of the day.

The GAT(e) team comprised of: Grammarian – Anisha, Ah Counter – Jessica, Timer – Grace.

Jan was the first speaker of the day. She completed her Project #1 from the CC Manual – The Ice Breaker. Her speech was titled “The Twin Peeks.” Duration of her speech: 4-6 mins.

Through her Ice Breaker, Jan introduced us to her identical twin sister (Jean). Jan and Jean joined their family of 2 brothers and a sister when their parents were in their 40’s. Being identical twins, the question was how could anyone tell them apart? Their dad would get confused sometimes, but fooling mom was never possible.

Jan and Jean grew up together as best friends – sharing secrets and being loyal to each other. Along with it came conflict and competition. Jan got married to Bill in her mid-20’s followed by Jean 5 years later. After marriage, Jean moved 75 miles away. This allowed Jan to have her own independent identity without her twin sister.

Towards the end of her talk, Jan shared with us a funny confusing incident that occurred as a result of Jan and her husband showing up in a church to meet some nuns in place of Jean and her husband.

Linda was her evaluator. She appreciated Jan on the strong opening of her Ice Breaker, her ability to connect with the audience, and the poise with which she introduced us to her twin sister. With a well-structured talk, and the use of rhythmic language, Jan’s Ice Breaker was just perfect. As a suggestion, Linda offered her to move around a little bit.

Linda was voted the best evaluator.

Our second speaker was Amritha. She completed her Speech #9 from the CC Manual – Persuade with Power. The title of her speech was “A Super Stress Buster” Duration of her speech –  6 to 8 mins.

After sharing a personal story from her life where taking a series of continuous rhythmic deep breaths helped Amritha deal with a stressful situation, she spoke about how everyone could use the same technique to combat stress. Her talk was backed by data from the American Institute of stress, which states that deep relaxed breathing for 20 to 30 mins helps reduce stress and anxiety.

While on a physical level, deep breaths energize our body by providing oxygen to all the vital organs, on a deeper level they help to bring our body and mind together, letting our awareness focus on the present moment rather than the worries in our mind.

She strongly believes that in today’s fast paced society it is essential more than ever before to bring in practices which relieve stress from our lives – deep breathing is one such simple practice which can be done anywhere anytime and is totally free of cost.

Amritha was voted the best speaker.

Robert was her evaluator. As per him, in addition to meeting the speech objectives, Amritha’s hand gestures and body movement were excellent. As a suggestion, he offered her to add more vocal variety.

Jean was our table topics master of the day. She picked up few members from the meeting and asked random questions.

In response to the question, “What is it that most people are looking for?”, Warren said he finds most people don’t even know what they are looking for. Sometimes people look toward education or spiritual organizations in an effort to find answers to their questions, whereas the real answer lies within each individual.

Linda was given the question “What makes you safe and secure?”. For her, going back home after a busy year of schooling and other activities makes her feel grounded. Though she is a fairly positive person, the stress of life sometimes takes over. In such situations, going back home to visit her family gives her a sense of safety.

Jessica D. answered the question “How important is honesty in friendship?”. She considers honesty is important not only for friendship, but in all relationships. She spoke about how by being 100% honest, she has built a strong friendship with one of her childhood friend who is her best friend. She emphasizes being honest with all her relationships now.

Jessica was voted the best table topics speaker.

Barb was our general evaluator. She gave kudos to the organizing team and the participants for a well done meeting on time even though we had to start late.

Members who attended the meeting numbered to 12 and were:  Amritha, Anisha, Barb, Grace, Jan, Jean, Jessica D., Jim, Linda, Lynne, Robert, and Warren.

Our active membership total currently is at 30.
Respectfully Submitted,

Amritha Imandi, Secretary

Public Speaking Northwest #9406

Friday, November 13, 2015

Nov 10th 2015 Theme: Festival of Lights

"Let this diwali burn all your bad times and enter you in good times." — Unknown

Welcome to the second meeting in November blog. 

                    Amritha was our toastmaster of the day.

The GAT(e) team comprised of: Grammarian – Julie, Ah Counter – Pauline, Timer – Dan Dan

Lynne was the first speaker of the day. She completed her Project #1 from the Story Telling Manual - The Folk Tale. Her speech was titled “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.” Duration of her speech: 7-9 mins.

Lynne started her speech by vividly describing the mountains of Norway where 3 brother billy goats lived - a small one, a medium one and a large one. They soon ran out of grass and had nothing to eat. They knew there were meadows up in the mountains across the river. But in order to reach there, they had to cross a bridge under which an ugly scary troll lived who loved to eat goats for dinner. 

Though the billy goats were scared, they decided to proceed moving towards the meadows one after the other. For the rest of her speech, Lynne enacted out in a very humorous and engaging manner the conversations that each billy goat had with the troll while crossing the bridge. She depicted how the small and medium billy goats tricked the troll and how the large billy goat charged the troll and threw him into the river. The three billy goats lived happily grazing on the fresh green meadows.

Jessica D. was her evaluator. She appreciated Lynne on her strong story telling abilities which were filled with humor, body gestures and vocal variety with a distinct voice to each character. As a suggestion, she offered Lynne to may be come up with a moral from the story that the audience could benefit from.

Our second speaker was Barb. She completed her Speech #2 from the Persuasive Speaking Manual – Conquering the Cold Call. The title of her speech was “A Cold Day in...?” Duration –  10 to 14 mins.

Barb started her talk by asking questions that directed the audience's attention towards the process of making big investments. She spoke about the cautious mindset any one might have while purchasing expensive items from an unknown sales person. 

Barb then role played with Grace where she demonstrated how to make a cold call to a stranger (Grace in this scenario). In the conversation that followed with Grace, Barb started out by getting to know Grace and her family and then she proposed some investment plans (cold call). Towards the end of Barb's speech, she turned to the audience to get their opinion on how successful she was on selling the cold call to a stranger.

Linda was her evaluator. Linda acknowledged how well Barb got audience's attention using questions, the impromptu role play with Grace was performed and how towards the end she opened up to the audience for questions. As a suggestion, she offered Barb could use more body gestures. 

Both Lynne and Jessica D. were voted best in their respective categories. 

Chizuko was our table topics master of the day. The table topics speakers were - Pauline, Robert, Naser and Lynne. They were given a scenario - one of Chizuko's friend is visiting Seattle from Japan. The speakers were asked to suggest places in various categories where she could possibly take her friend.

Pauline spoke about the scenic places that one should not miss in Seattle. She suggested visiting the beautiful gardens across Seattle, the Science Center and city of Seattle when lighted up. If the person appreciates nature, a trip to Mount Rainier,  hiking or a visit to the hot springs would be fun.

Robert spoke about the museums around Seattle that one should not miss. He shared his experiences while visiting the Art Museum of Seattle and UW gallery - the latter being more interesting when compared to the former. In either case, one must be willing to walk around.

Naser spoke about the restaurants to visit in Seattle. He suggested Denny's where our club meets, so that her friend could have the double benefit of experiencing pure American lunch along with the opportunity to attend our meeting.

Lynne suggested things to do in the evening. As per Lynne, ferry rides are a great afternoon trip with the scenic mountain views. On the return truip, one can see the whole skyline of Seattle lit up. Reserving a table on the space needle restaurant would take care of their dinner with spectacular views of the sunset.

Naser was voted the best table topics speaker.

Our humorist was Robert who shared a joke on Van Gogh's family tree. 

Members who attended the meeting numbered to 17 and were: Amritha, Andrew, Barb, Chizuko, DanDan, Grace, Jan, Jean, Jessica D., Jim, Julie, Linda, Lynne, Naser, Pauline, Robert, and Warren.

Our active membership total currently is at 30 with Warren as our newest member. Welcome Warren!!!

Respectfully Submitted,

Amritha Imandi, Secretary
Public Speaking Northwest #9406

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Nov 3rd 2015 Theme: Did you know….

“While necessity may be the mother of invention, ignorance is definitely the father of adventure!” ~~ Unknown

Welcome to the first meeting in November blog.

             Lynne was our toastmaster of the day.

The GAT(e) team comprised of: Grammarian – Dave, Ah Counter – Jingly, Timer – Jean.

Our first speaker was Amritha. She completed her Speech #8 from the CC Manual - Get comfortable with visual aids. Her speech was titled “Answers to my daughter’s questions.” Duration of her speech: 7-9 mins.

Amritha started her speech with a conversation that she had with her children Shreya and Yash about exhaust gases, how they pollute our environment and what people could do to help reduce their impact on environment. The second part of her talk was an attempt to answer Shreya’s question “How different would the world be if everyone drove an electric vehicle (EV)?” 

She shared her experience of how by owning an EV, her family not only gets 80% zero emission miles; it tremendously benefits them monetarily. Towards the end of her talk, she encourages the listeners to give EVs a try if they are in the car market to purchase a new car. By doing so, one can contribute to keeping our planet cleaner for us and our many future generations.

Linda was her evaluator. She appreciated the information that Amritha shared about EVs using visual aids along her family stories. As a suggestion, she offered her not to refer to paper notes and bring in move body movements.

Our second speaker was Jessica D. She completed her Speech #5 from the Competent Communicator Manual – Your body speaks. The title of her speech was “The benefits of stretching.” Duration –  5 to 7 mins.

Jessica started her talk by sharing with us her personal story of how she was benefited by stretching. About a year ago, she fell on her spine while hiking with her friends. Though the impact was minor on the day she fell, once she resumed her physical activities a year later, she started experiencing a mysterious shocking feeling on her right thigh which grew in intensity and eventually turned into numbing pains.

A visit to her chiropractor solved her problem. After twisting her like a pretzel to correct her spine, and massaging her thigh, Jessica was recommended a stretching exercise to be performed every day for 2 mins. Along with a bunch of vitamins, and the stretching exercises, Jessica completely recovered from her shocking pain within 2 weeks. Towards the end of her talk, she taught the audience 2 stretching exercises that we could benefit from.

Barb was her evaluator. Barb gave kudos to Jessica’s organization of her speech, facial expressions, body movements - all incorporated with lots of humor.

Both Jessica and Barb were voted best in their respective categories.

Julie was our table topics master of the day. The table topics speakers - Dan Dan, Naser, Warden L and Robert shared their opinion about the questions that were given to them.

When asked to pick one member from our club who has inspired her the most, Dan Dan spoke how every member of our club has inspired her a lot. Since the question was to pick one, she chose Amritha. She finds Amritha’s personal stories weaved into her talks with the moral values very inspiring.

Naser shared his opinion about how success is different for every person. Just by taking part in club activities, one is successful from a toastmaster’s perspective. He mentioned about one toastmaster in his previous club who was played an important role in getting Naser back to the club meetings again and again.

Warren Louis shared his goals with toastmasters which is a recent development for him. Having retired from Microsoft few years back and having given up few of his volunteering activities, he is looking for opportunities where he can talk in front of a group of people as he did in his work earlier, possibly provide education and develop new friendships along the way.

Robert shared his views on what he loves most about toastmasters. He admires the persistent nature of members who show up consistently. He shares how he has developed one to one and one to many friendships over the course of last few years.  Also, he finds it very gratifying to make others laugh which he successfully does during the meetings.

There were 15 members and 2 guests at the meeting.

Members:  Amritha, Barb, Chizuko, DanDan, Dave, Jean, Jessica D., Jim, Jingly, Julie, Linda, Lynne, Naser, Pauline, and Robert.

Guests: Emily H. and Warren L.

Our active membership total currently is at 29.
Respectfully Submitted,

Amritha Imandi, Secretary

Public Speaking Northwest #9406

Monday, November 2, 2015

Oct 27th 2015 Theme: Warming Winter Spices

“Fenugreek, is Tuesday's spice, when the air is green like mosses after rain.” ~~ Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Author of The Mistress of Spices

Welcome to the fourth meeting in October blog.

              Amritha was our toastmaster today.

The GAT(e) team comprised of: Grammarian – Jan, Ah Counter – Anisha, Timer – Linda.

Chizuko was the first speaker of the day. She completed her Speech #3 from the CC Manual - Get to the point. Her speech was titled “What I learned about from my mother and grandmother about education.” Duration of her speech: 5-7 mins.

Chizuko started her talk by introducing us to her grandmother who passed away 30 years ago. A hard worker by nature, she spent her entire life at home taking care of her family and household. She never got  a chance to learn to read and write. For the same reason, she was eager and curious when she saw her grandkids do their homework.

Chizuko's mom received schooling until middle school and then was later sent to dress making classes. Though Chizuko's mom was eager to pursue further education, due to financial reasons her family chose to educate her brother (because parents had more expectation on boys in that generation).

Today, Chizuko and her siblings are well educated with everyone having a degree from a college or university. As a mother of 2 teenagers of this generation, she strongly believes that in order to rightly educate our children, apart from sending them to just the right school, we must impart the essential life skills that will help them be better human beings.

Chizuko was voted the best speaker.

Lynne was her evaluator. She gave kudos to Chizuko for her detailed talk and for having shared the idea of education in her family for 4 generations. Having met all the objectives of the project, delivered her talk with great sincerity and confidence.

Our second speaker was Julie. She completed her Speech
#2 from the Competent Communicator Manual - Organize your speech. The title of her speech was “I'm going to Brainwash You.” Duration –  5 to 7 mins.

Julie started her talk by engaging us in a simple exercise which empowers our mind to think positive happy thoughts. Apart from being a successful realtor, she is also a trained clinical hypnotherapist. This added credential allows her to understand the human mind better.

She made a power point presentation comparing the similarities between brainwashing and advertising. Both of the techniques persuade, influence, and manipulate people (using stories or visuals) to achieve their end results. She states that any successful ad uses all the cues of a highly trained hypnotherapist.

She encourages us to use the above mentioned techniques for our own personal benefit. She calls it self-directed advertising or re-brainwashing - sending repetitive messages to our brain of what we want in our life. With a continued morning and evening practice of re-brainwashing one can change the thoughts in our brain and thus get the results we want.

Jean was her evaluator. Jean praised Julie's effective use of power point presentation to make her point. The exercise at the beginning as well as the positive quote print out that Julie brought for audience was well appreciated.

Our third speaker was Liz. She completed her Speech #2 from the Competent Communicator Manual - Organize your speech. The title of her speech was “What are you attracting?” Duration –  5 to 7 mins.

Liz drew our attention to the mindset that we usually have at the beginning of each day. With a focus on more good thoughts, one can achieve more good days. She gave us a 3 step process, the continued practice of which can enable us to get what we want in life.

Step1: Ask - It is important to ask the universe what you wish to receive with lots of detail in it.
Step 2: Believe - Once your wish is put forward, believe that it is possible. Do not focus on the negative thoughts instead think positive.
Step 3: Receive - Give thanks to the universe as if you already have it.

By asking what you want with lots of details, believing in your wish and with an attitude of gratitude it is definitely possible to attract what you want in your life.

Jim was her evaluator. He congratulated Liz on her speech, through which she gave the audience precise points to follow. To make it more memorable, he suggested using an acronym ABC - Ask, Believe, and Catch.

Jim was voted the best evaluator.

Pauline was our table topics master of the day. She had a rather interesting way of conducting this section - playing “Dear Abby” (which is an advice column) with 2 of our speakers Anisha and Lynne. The other 2 table topics speakers Linda and Jessica D. were given random questions.

Anisha shares her opinion of how important art is in anyone's life. Without making it the primary income source, one can definitely pursue art. If art is all one wants to do, she advices to just follow one's passion. Though it gets tricky at times with failures on the way, one needs to stay persistent to achieve success.

Lynne advices to approach our older generation with respect. Instead of finding fault with one's mother-in-law, try to find the good things that she has. By either asking for help with dishes or recipes, it is wise to get her involved as well.

Linda shared her experience as an Asian living in US. Generally speaking, Asian students are assumed to be more studious esp. good at math. Also, there is a general idea that all Chinese play ping pong - whether everyone plays or not, they love to cheer for their country.

When asked to talk about a place that she would love to visit, Jessica D chose to go to Belize. She heard about Belize from her friend who after a vacation could not stop raving about the place. When she went online to search, she found that Belize was filled with beautiful forests and scenic beaches with breathtaking views.

Lynne was voted the best table topics speaker.

There were 18 members and 5 guests at the meeting.

Members: Amritha, Anisha, Barb, Chizuko, Devi, Grace, Jan, Jean, Jessica D., Jim, Jingly, Julie, Linda, Liz, Lynne, Pauline, Rance, Robert.

Guests: Amruta, Collette, Jeng, Shreya, Yash.
Our active membership total currently is at 29.

Respectfully Submitted,

Amritha Imandi, Secretary

Public Speaking Northwest #9406