Friday, February 26, 2016

Feb 23rd 2016 Theme - Leadership

“The first step in leadership: I look for what needs to be done. After all, that’s how the universe designs itself.” ~~ R. Buckminster Fuller

Welcome to the fourth meeting in February.

                               Barb was our toastmaster of the day.

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

Dave was the first speaker of the day. He completed Project #7 from the CC Manual – Research Your Topic. Title of his talk “Should I buy a Used Alternative?” which he completed within 7 mins.

Through his talk, Dave shared with us his research and reasoning behind buying a used electric car to replace the oldest minivan of the family, which has almost 200,000 miles is ready to retire. 

Based on his research, the pros of choosing a used EV is the less cost involved, less maintenance due to the absence of transmission, exhaust etc. which makes it simpler than a hybrid and reduced impact on the environment. The cons include limited mileage on a full battery charge, the battery life and the need for a 240V home charger which needs some investment upfront. Dave also gave us tips on how to extend an EV's battery life.

While Dave is totally up for buying a used Nissan Leaf for a reasonable budget (the most popular EV in the current market), his children are more inclined on getting a far more expensive Tesla (the runner-up in the market). 

Amritha was his evaluator. She appreciated Dave’s effectively organized talk which he tied in with the power point presentation. His topic was well researched, supplemented with support materials - real time data, charts and graphs from genuine sources. As a suggestion, Amritha offered Dave to use more stage space and gestures.

Our second speaker was Dan. He completed Project #3 from the CC Manual – Get to the Point. The title of his speech “Books that have Influenced My Life” which he completed within 7 mins.

Through his speech, Dan shared with us how he bid farewell to his dislike for reading. After attending seminars and listening to great speakers talk about their inspirational books, Dan was encouraged to develop the life-changing habit of reading.

He shared with us 3 books that have had the most impact on him.
1.  Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck  – The author encourages readers to have a growth mind -set (I can do it mentality) than a fixed mindset (lack or failure mentality due to external factors). This book has greatly influenced Dan's parenting skills. By praising the effort that his child puts to achieve a task or milestone, he is able to better instill the growth mindset in his child.
2.  Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy – A book emphasizing productivity and staying organized, this book has helped Dan to stay on top of things that he is not very inclined to do. By tackling his least favorite tasks first thing in the day, he is more productive.
3.  The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor – After reading this book, Dan consistently does at least one thing that he truly enjoys every day. In addition, he journals in the mornings and reflects back on his day at night.

Thus, developing this one habit of reading consistently has greatly and positively influenced Dan’s life for the better.

Jim was his evaluator. Jim was impressed by Dan’s well-organized inspirational speech. Dan clearly met the objectives of the project, by sharing his techniques. Jim acknowledged Dan’s confidence and relaxed demeanor on stage. As a suggestion, he offered Dan to reduce the informal words in his speech.

Jim was voted the best evaluator.

Anisha was our third speaker of the day. She completed Project #6 from the CC Manual – Vocal Variety. Title of her talk “Stay On Saddle” which she completed within 7 mins.

Through her talk, Anisha shared with us how her previous system of reward and punishment to raise her 2 boys were failing terribly. Though she wanted the best for her children, she didn’t know any other approach. That’s when she came across the book “Parenting from Your Heart” by “Inbal Kashtan” which has taught her a whole new way of compassionate parenting and communication.

The author of the book suggests checking in with one’s feelings in the moment before approaching children. Anisha wonderfully enacted out an incident showing how she tackled a situation with her 4-year-old boy who was annoyed at a butter jelly sandwich and threw it down to the floor because the other side was not buttered. Being consciously present in the moment, taking deep breaths and checking in with her own feelings, Anisha approached her son, provided him with choices and was finally successful by her 3rd attempt at convincing her little boy to clean up.

Anisha was voted the best speaker.

Julie was her evaluator. Julie congratulated Anisha on her well-enacted speech with a captivating storyline. Her body language, vocal variety, pitch and tone of her voice – were all admirable. By including appropriate movements and gestures, Anisha showed how engaged she was in the story.

Our table topics master was Nancy. She brought party bags with one item in each bag. The table topics speaker was required to talk about that item in the bag.

Pauline's bag had a wooden dragonfly. She spoke about how neatly it was decorated clearly by someone with lots of imagination. She noted that such wooden dragonflies were available in plenty in the past, whereas nowadays they are rarely seen.  She is always intrigued by the folklore around these creatures.

Robert's bag had a big swirl candy lollipop. Robert chooses to name it an “all day sucker” or “victim candy”. Having never eaten such a huge candy, he is sure one would need a plate while trying to consume it. He would definitely give it as a gift to people who talk a lot. J

Tobias got a measuring tape to speak about. He pointed out a measuring tape has many uses – the obvious one being measuring. He would also consider giving it as a gift to a friend for a project.

Tobias was voted the best table topics speaker.

Members who attended the meeting numbered to 19 with no guests.

The attendees were: Amritha, Andrew, Anisha, Barb, Chizuko, Dan, Dave, Grace, Jean, Jim, Julie, Jung, Lynne, Nancy L., Pauline, Rance, Robert, Tobias and Warren.

Our active membership total currently is at 32.
Respectfully Submitted,

Amritha Imandi, Secretary
Public Speaking Northwest #9406

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Feb 16th 2016 - Club Contest

"All language is a popularity contest." ~~ Erin McKean

Welcome to the third meeting in February – our club contest day.

Jean was our toastmaster of the day.

Kathy was the target speaker for the evaluation contestants – Warren and Robert.

Kathy gave her speech entitled “Air Travel Fun” which she completed within 5 mins. Through her funny animated talk, she listed 4 scenarios that she has observed while travelling by air. First among them, are those passengers, who besides all the announcements made in the security area of the airport are not serious about trashing their liquids etc. and end up wasting fellow passengers’ time.

Then, there are the germophobes – who are so extra cautious and super sensitive to everything around them, they don’t realize they are getting into other people’s territory with their wipes and sanitizers.
Another common occurrence is missing baggage. On one such occasion, the authorities from the airlines called Kathy again and again acknowledging that they got her stolen luggage report. In her opinion, if they spend that time on finding where the luggage is, it would fasten the process.
Last but not least is the shopping part. She shared her experience of shopping in a European country. She hilariously compared American airport shops with European shops selling a whole different kind of products.

Warren – our first evaluation contestant was impressedby Kathy’s dramatized, active and visually appealing delivery of her speech. With excellent facial expressions covering the entire length of the room, Warren thought Kathy communicated effectively with a sense of feeling. He recognized that due to her fast body movements which the speech demanded, it was harder to maintain eye contact. As a suggestion, he offered her to talk a little louder towards the end of her sentences.

Robert – our second evaluation contestant appreciated Kathy’s facial expression, hand gestures and effective description. Her voice modulation effectively described the situation and conveyed her message well. He was impressed with her personal stories weaved with great humor and incredible energy. As a suggestion, he offered her to walk more left to right of the stage rather than in a U shape.

The speech contestants were Amritha and Naser.

Amritha’s speech was entitled “Towards Brighter Skies”
which she completed within 7 mins. Through her speech, she went back to her childhood – sketching a picture through her words of how shy, reserved and nervous she was. Growing up as a teenager, fear had grasped her as a result of which she did not dare to take part in many activities and limited herself.

Years later, after she flew to seattle – she was compelled by circumstances to say good-bye to the fear filled thoughts, find courage within her and face the situations that were presented in front of her with confidence and hope.

She shared with the audience how after failing to successfully lead a class of first graders through an art project, she was ashamed of herself and went out in search of ways to overcome her speaking fear. She joined toastmasters soon and is today full of passion and confidence while she shares her messages.

Naser – who was our second speech contestant – finished his speech entitled “Weatherman” in 7 minutes.

Through his hilarious speech, Naser shared with us how he earned the nickname “Weatherman”. In the year 2005, Naser’s decision to quit his job in India due to dissatisfaction led his superiors to offer him a job in US.

Before his travel, he gets trained to be familiarized with US culture. In the training, he was informed never to have a conversation with Americans about family, religion, and politics – he was left wondering what was left to start a conversation. That is when he was told it is always ok to talk about the weather. Sure enough, all the conversations that he had with colleagues were related to weather and thus began his journey towards earning the nickname "Weatherman". 

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.

Warren and Naser were the winners in their respective sections.

Members who attended the meeting numbered to 15 along with 2 guests – James C. and Sarah C . Sarah is our newest member who joined us last Tuesday. Welcome to our club Sarah!!!

Members who attended were: Amritha, Anisha, Barb, Dan, Jean, Jim, Jing Z., Julie, Jung, Kathy, Lynne, Nancy L., Naser, Robert and Warren. 

Our active membership total currently is at 32.
Respectfully Submitted,

Amritha Imandi, Secretary

Public Speaking Northwest #9406

Monday, February 15, 2016

Feb 9th 2016 Theme: “Passion”

 “The human animal differs from his lesser primates in his passion for lists.” ~~ H. Allen Smith

Welcome to the second meeting in February blog.

         Amritha was our toastmaster of the day.

The GAT(e) team comprised of: Grammarian – Kathy [enthusiasm], Ah Counter – Jung, Timer – Pauline.

Chizuko was the first speaker of the day. She completed Speech #6 from the CC Manual – Vocal Variety. Title of her talk “The Tsunami” which she completed within 9 mins.

Through her speech, Chizuko shared with us how she and her family faced the aftermath of the tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 as a result of a magnitude 9 earthquake. As an English teacher, she was with her students on the 15th floor when they experienced slight tremors which turned into a big swishing motion. She soon realized the gravity of the situation. Suspension of all modes of transport forced everyone to spend the night at school. With no means to contact her children who were 14 and 9 years old, Chizuko was worried. She was later relieved to know that both of them were safe at home.

She explained in detail what the city had gone through in terms of power, food, accommodation etc. The tsunami was followed by a series of aftershocks and everyone were advised to stay away from the ocean. The next day, when transportation was resumed Chizuko reached home to find her children safe and sound. By sharing her experience, Chizuko hopes to remember and remind us about the 20,000 people who lost their lives on that fateful day.

Anisha was her evaluator. She was impressed by Chizuko’s narration by using vivid words which helped paint a clear picture in the audience’s mind. As a suggestion, she was offered to move a bit more bringing in few movements in her hands.

Our second speaker was Jim. He completed Project #3 from the Story Telling Manual – The Moral of the Story. Title of his speech “Not all Elephants are the Same”. Duration of his talk – 5 to 7 mins.

A summary of Jim’s story - A king in India was trying to resolve the conflict between 2 religious groups – the formal priests and ascetics. The king ordered his soldiers to bring 6 blind men and an elephant. Each blind man was made to assess different parts of the elephant and guess what was in front of them. The one who held onto the elephant’s legs guessed that there was a pillar in front of him, the other who touched the tail guessed it was a rope. The other 4 also got their turn. While all 6 men gave different answers, they all were still right. Jim enacted the scene with great gestures and vocal variety.

In today’s world, while there are many discussions going on among family, friends, in politics – there are always agreements and disagreements. Jim suggests – the next time you are in an argument, step back and think – Which part of the elephant are you holding?

Warren was his evaluator. Warren was impressed by the way Jim started, how he created a clear picture of the story by his gestures and vocal variety. He appreciated Jim on his well-presented story with a moral which is very appropriate for today’s world.  

Jing was our third speaker of the day. She completed Speech #1 from the CC Manual – Ice Breaker. Title of her talk “Pursuit of Flexibility” which she completed within 6 mins.

Through her Ice Breaker, Zing shared with us how she came to US 16 years ago as a foreign graduate student to pursue a PhD. n Chemistry. After school, she became a 9-5 researcher in NY. After he daughter was born, she found it hard to balance between work, home and daycare.
With the desire to spend more time with her daughter, she chose to quit her job and became an entrepreneur. Though the decision was tough, with the help of her family in China and her Chemistry background, she started a company that removed heavy metals from drinking water and supplied clean, pure water to schools and villages of China. Today, she enjoys the time that she gets to spend with her daughter. In a hope to make new friends, meet people and have casual conversations, Jing joined our club.

Jing was voted the best speaker.
Jean was her evaluator. Jean greatly appreciated Jing forher clear, logical and organized Ice Breaker. Her clear, audible voice and good eye contact was very impressive. As a suggestion, Jean offered Jing to move around a little.
Jean was voted the best evaluator.

               Our Table topics master was Robert.

Anisha was the first table topics speaker. She spoke about launching her latest book which addresses how to avoid the mysterious events that are happening in the state of Nevada.

Naser was the second table topics speaker. He spoke about how his life evolved in stages with different themes during the various phases.

Anisha was voted the best table topics speaker.

Members who attended the meeting numbered to 16 along with 1 guest (Sarah C.).

The attendees were: Amritha, Anisha, Chizuko, Jean, Jim, Jing Z., Julie, Jung, Kathy, Lynne, Nancy L., Naser, Pauline, RB, Robert and Warren. 
Our active membership total currently is at 31.
Respectfully Submitted,

Amritha Imandi, Secretary

Public Speaking Northwest #9406

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Feb 2nd 2016 Theme: “Ground Hog Day”

“The trouble with weather forecasting is that it’s right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it” ~~ Patrick Young.

Welcome to the first meeting in February blog.

           Lynne was our toastmaster of the day.

The GAT(e) team comprised of: Grammarian – Rance [confidant], Ah Counter – Anisha, Timer – Jing.

Robert was the first speaker of the day. He completed Project #3 from the Adv. Manual – Special Occasion Speeches. Title of his talk “Donald Trump Roast” which she completed within 5 mins.

Through his speech, Robert shared with us few humorous ways that Donald Trump gets roasted on media. Here are a few of them for you to enjoy and share with your family –

"According to a new nationwide poll, Donald Trump still leads all other Republican presidential candidates. But come on, if we elect him you know he'll just leave us for a younger country." –Seth Meyers
"A store in Houston is selling Donald Trump piƱatas filled with candy. So finally something good is going to come out of Donald Trump." –Conan O'Brien

Donald Trump was honored by Native Americans...
Donald Trump was invited to address a major gathering of the American Indian Nation two weeks ago in upstate New York. He spoke for almost an hour about his plans for increasing every Native American's present standard of living. He referred to how he had supported every Native American issue that came to the news media.

At the conclusion of his speech, the Tribes presented him with a plaque inscribed with his new Indian name, "Walking Eagle". The proud Mr. Trump accepted the plaque and then departed in his motorcade to a fundraiser, waving to the crowds.

A news reporter later asked the group of chiefs how they came to select the new name they had given to Donald. They explained that "Walking Eagle" is the name given to a bird so full of crap it can no longer fly.

Dave was his evaluator. He enjoyed the humorous topic that Robert chose. As a suggestion, he offered Robert to use cards for the one liners and speak a little louder to be audible throughout the room.

Our second speaker was Warren. He completed Project #4 from the CC Manual – How to Say It. Title of his speech “It’s not the size of the butterfly in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the butterfly”. Duration of his talk – 5 to 7 mins.

Warren began his speech with a thorough description of a warm, sunny morning in a park. An elderly man seated on a bench is watching a cocoon wiggling on a tree. The butterfly inside the cocoon is trying to come out. After a long time, the butterfly stops. The old man, thinking the butterfly failed tries to help it by making a small hole on the cocoon. The butterfly pulls itself out but has tiny wings and a withered body. It was never able to fly. Had the man not interfered and allowed the butterfly to come out of the cocoon on its own as nature intended, it would have been a healthy one.

Similarly, nature has its own way of putting obstacles in front of us to make us strong. Else, we could become crippled just like the butterfly. Warren inspires us all to live our life without fear and confront all obstacles that come in front of us with courage and determination.

Warren was voted the best speaker.
Barb was his evaluator. Barb was very inspired byWarren’s speech. His careful accurate descriptive language without the use of any jargon was well appreciated. As a suggestion, she encouraged him to try and avoid using notes.

Barb was voted the best evaluator.

Kathy was our third speaker of the day. She completed Project #8 from the CC Manual – Using Visual Aids. Title of her talk “Quick and Easy Gifts” which she completed within 5 mins.

Kathy showed us how to make budget friendly quick and easy gifts in a jar. She layered the ingredients for chocolate chip cookie one after another in the jar and attached the recipe to the jar. For those friends who do not have a sweet tooth, she suggests layering variety of beans and lentils along with a soup bowl or mug as a gift.

Jean was her evaluator. She appreciated how calm and composed Kathy was during her demonstration. Using side remarks to add humor, Kathy gave a smooth, and confident talk with appropriate visuals. As a suggestion, Jean offered Kathy to add bit more body language.

Jim was our humorist. He gave us a variety of jokes with a message – no matter what ever the context or subject of joke, there is always room for humor. 
Here are 2 of them –
1.  Why was 10 afraid of 7? Because 7 ate (8) 9.
2.  A child was in the cafeteria of a catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples with a note from the nun which said, “Take only one. God is watching.” As the child moved further along table, there was a large pile of cookies. The child wrote, “Take all you want. God is watching the apples.”

Members who attended the meeting numbered to 16 along with our newest 1 member Nancy L.

The attendees were: Amritha, Anisha, Barb, Chizuko, Dave, Jean, Jim, Jing Z., Julie, Jung, Kathy, Lynne, Nancy L., Pauline, Rance, Robert and Warren.  
Our active membership total currently is at 31.
Respectfully Submitted,

Amritha Imandi, Secretary

Public Speaking Northwest #9406