Sunday, January 31, 2016

Jan 26th 2016 Theme: “File Early or Someone Will”

“The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit that still carries any reward.” ~~ John Maynard Keynes

Welcome to the fourth meeting in January blog.

               Dave A. was our toastmaster of the day.

The GAT(e) team comprised of - Grammarian – Warren [ensure], Ah Counter – Chizuko, Timer – Tobias.

Amritha was the first speaker of the day. She completed her Project #10 from the CC Manual – Inspire Your Audience. The title of her speech “Good Bye Creepy Habit” which she completed within 11 mins.

During her college years, while staying in a hostel for the first time, enjoying the fun and excitement that came living with a bunch of first year grad students, Amritha gradually developed the habit of procrastinating her college projects and assignments. The habit gradually spread to other areas of her life as well.

Years later, as she looks back, she realizes she that she is still carrying the habit of procrastinating with her. She sees similar behavior in her daughter’s attitude towards piano practice at home. She questions herself– “What kind of a role model is she being by procrastinating? Is her daughter learning from her?” In an attempt to teach her children to be on task as well as perform better in her own tasks, she is now making sincere attempts to stop procrastinating and start taking action towards set realistic goals.

Towards the end of her speech, by sharing the loss of a teacher at her children’s school she shares the message that Life is short and Time is precious.

Kathy was her evaluator. She appreciated the stories and illustrations that the audience could relate to and the message that was tied in to the speech. As a suggestion, Kathy offered Amritha to use bring more emotions or walk up to someone in the audience while delivering an important dialogue.

Our second speaker was Julie. He completed Project #5 from the CC Manual – Your Body Speaks. Title of her speech “Being on Fire” which she completed within 7 mins.

Julie shared a story from her life while she was in her adolescent teen years. Her parents took her to baton twirling lessons and she enjoyed taking them. With time, she became an expert in baton twirling and took part in parades and other events. Eventually she took up fire batons and developed great reputation in that area.

During Junior High, she was invited to perform during the half time of a basketball game. Having taken all precautions necessary to keep herself safe, she started performing during half time. The lights went off and she started twirling the batons with great passion, energy and enthusiasm. She felt so awakened and present. Within minutes, the show concluded and from being the vibrant energetic Julie, she now became the shy little girl who wanted to hide herself away from the crowd.

Towards the end of her speech, she asks – don’t so many of us hide our power and passion. As a success coach, she invites us to a program of hers which can help anyone reclaim their true beauty and excitement.

Julie was voted the best speaker.

Anisha was her evaluator. Anisha appreciated Julie’s speech which had a thoughtful message – “reclaim the hidden power and passion within”. She thought Julie did a great with stance, body movements and natural expressions. As a suggestion, she offered Julie to possibly use more vocal variety.

Anisha was voted the best evaluator.

Jung was our table topics master. Our table topics speakers were Pauline, Tobias, Warren and Rance.

Question to Pauline: What is your goal for this year?
Pauline hopes to speak more and move forward in her CC manual. Due to busy work schedule, she has not been able to concentrate on speaking much. This year she hopes to finish more speeches and get better at impromptu speaking.

Question to Tobias: What is the most important quality you look for in friends?
For Tobias, the most important quality that he would look for in friends is loyalty. In his opinion, friends who are loyal try to do the best thing they can. These are also the people who stick by you in thick and thin.

Question to Warren: What skill would you like to have someday?
Warren would like to develop the ability to sing. He shared how his mom always said he could not sing and later after marriage his wife also came up with the same opinion. Now, he loves to watch the idol and cheers for them.

Question to Rance: What one thing would you like to know about the future?
If Rance had an option, he would like to know about when would he ever win a powerball lottery. Though he has bought tickets multiple times, he has never been lucky enough to win it.

Warren was voted the best table topics speaker.

Pauline was our humorist. 

Members who attended the meeting numbered to 16 and were:  Amritha, Anisha, Chizuko, Dan, Dave, Grace, Julie, Jung, Kathy, Lynne, Naser, Pauline, Rance, Robert, Tobias and Warren.  
Our active membership total currently is at 30.
Respectfully Submitted,

Amritha Imandi, Secretary
Public Speaking Northwest #9406

Monday, January 18, 2016

Jan 12th 2016 Theme: “With Flying Colors”

"Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and repeat to yourself, the most comforting words of all: This, too, shall pass [possibly with flying colors] ~~ Ann Landers”.

Welcome to the second meeting in January blog. 
Before starting off with the meeting minutes, I would like to thank Robert for having taken the role of acting secretary in my absence, Thank You Robert!!!

               Jessica was our toastmaster of the day.

The GAT(e) team comprised of: Grammarian – Jim [contagious], Ah Counter – Jing, Timer – Jung.

Chizuko was the first speaker. She completed her Project #5 from the CC Manual – Your Body Speaks. Title of her speech “Japanese New Year and Religion.” which she completed within 7 mins.

Through her speech, Chizuko spoke about how important New Year is for the Japanese. They celebrate it with great enthusiasm. Houses are cleaned to welcome Toshigami - God of the year, families get together and visit their holy shrine praying for well-being throughout the year. The New Year’s bell rings in Buddhist temples from New Year’s eve to New Year 108 times.

She spoke about the 3 major religions that exist in Japan today – Shintoism, Buddhism and Christianity. Shintoism is an ancient Japanese religion which teaches that all things in nature have God spirit in them, that God exists everywhere one should be respectful and thankful to any kind of existence. All 3 religions are practiced harmoniously in Japan.
Jim was her evaluator. He appreciated Chizuko on the great content and structure of her talk which she delivered with good gestures. As a suggestion, he offered Chizuko to carry cards/notes to help her during the talk if needed.

Jim was voted the best evaluator.

Our second speaker was Warren. He completed Project #3 from the CC Manual – Get to the Point. Title of his speech “Watch Out for Bird Poop from strange places.” He completed the speech within 7 mins.

Through his speech Warren shared with us 3 travel stories from his life that taught him to be extremely cautious while traveling esp. outside the US.
·       First among the 3 was his experience in Sao Paulo, Brazil where he and his wife were advised not to leave the hotel premises since the chances of getting robbed was very high, robbers would not hesitate to cut off fingers in their attempt to steal finger rings.
·       Secondly, he spoke about his experience in Buenos Aires, Argentina where while on a walk towards the barren city waterfront, some ladies plotted to rob him by squirting mustard sauce (making him believe at first that it was bird poop). The ladies while pretending to wipe Warren’s clothes were actually trying to steal his belongings. Thankfully, he was careful enough to not carry anything other than his hotel room card which got stolen.
·       His third story was his experience on an official trip to Bogota, Columbia which was famous for multiple kidnappings every day. The security was tight everywhere, bodyguards were assigned esp. since the place where he was speaking was attacked by rebels a few weeks earlier.

Based on these experiences, he gave us some tips that would allow safe international travels –
·       Make copies of passport and carry them with you.
·       Avoid/reduce wearing jewelry.
·       Exchange currency before you leave the country.
·      While traveling, don’t give explicit clues that you are from US – no wearing Seahawks cap etc.
·       Use a secret wallet.
·       Distribute currency in various pockets and
·       While leaving room, hide devices.

Warren was voted the best speaker.

Robert was his evaluator. He was impressed by Warren’s excellent preparation and organization. Robert acknowledged that the suggestions that Warren provided were definitely to be taken seriously. As a suggestion, Robert offered Warren to look at notes when necessary and then resume presenting to the audience.

Our third speaker was Anisha. She completed her Project #5 from the CC Manual – Your Body Speaks. Title of her speech “Natural healing.” which she completed within 7 mins.

Anisha started her speech by mentioning that various spiritual traditions teach us that we are by nature supposed to be healthy, happy and peaceful individuals. Our body, mind and spirit are inter -connected and even a slight imbalance could cause disease. She spoke about how by catering to these 3 aspects of herself, she was able to heal from a skin condition that would not heal otherwise.

The 3 important steps that she considered are as follows:
1.  You are what you eat – With the help of a naturopath, Anisha started herself on a low inflammation diet, filled with fresh greens and vegetables.
2.  Positive attitude – When even after 10 days of following the new lifestyle, no improvements showed up, she came to understand that our skin represents human feelings and sufferings. She had to believe in healing and have a positive attitude to heal herself.
3.  Having a spiritual connection with anything greater than one self – As for Anisha, connecting with nothingness and space did the magic.

Lynne was her evaluator. Lynne appreciated Anisha’s speech organization into 3 points, the inclusion of humor and natural gestures. As a suggestion, she offered her to consider standing a little farther back towards the back of the room.

Jim was our table topics master. Our table topics speakers were Nancy, Mike and Amritha.

Question to Nancy: Should kids be forced to eat?
In Nancy’s opinion, kids should not be forced to eat, they should be encouraged and invited to try new foods. Rather than pushing them, she suggests presenting food in a visually appealing way or try it ourselves first – comment and then introduce it to kids. Forcing creates resistance, if kids don’t like to eat something is better to revisit later.

Question to Amritha: Given an option, would you choose healthy eating or exercise?
If given a chance, Amritha would lean towards food, nutrition since she believes it plays a very crucial role in the making of our bodies. Being a mom, she makes sure that she is feeding her kids right - for them to be healthy and strong. And many times, she gets carried away by cooking activities that she does not find time to exercise.

Question to Mike: What would you like to be doing in 10 years?
Being in the years leading to retirement, Mike wants to be adequately prepared for the same. He wishes to start a business but has no idea how - since during his career as an engineer, he has always been an employee. He wishes to fine tune his skills and part of it would be coming to Toastmasters.

Nancy was voted the best table topics speaker.

Jessica D. received an award for the completion of 5 speeches. Also, she will no longer be a member of our club due to the new job that she has starting on Jan 18th. On behalf of our club, here is a picture of our President Julie wishing her the very best. We hope Jessica can visit us any day she has a Tuesday off J.

Members who attended the meeting numbered to 11 and were:  Amritha, Anisha, Chizuko, Jessica D., Jim, Jing Z., Julie, Jung, Lynne, Robert, Warren.  

We had 3 guests attend our meeting: Meenakshi V., Mike P., and Nancy L.

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

Amritha Imandi, Secretary
Public Speaking Northwest #9406


Friday, January 8, 2016

Jan 5th 2016 Theme: Choose Themes Not Resolutions

Make New Years Goals [i.e. Themes]. Dig within, and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year. This helps you do your part. It's an affirmation that you're fully interested in living life in the year to come.  ~~ Melody Beattie

Welcome to the first meeting in January of 2016 blog posting.

Jan was our toastmaster of the day. She talked about reframing resolutions as themes. She talked about mindfulness to minimize distractions and stress, physical activity with another (human or dog) to promote movement and enjoyment and creativity and Nourishment to add zest to your daily existence.

The GATE team comprised of: Grammarian – Jing Z. [supportive] Ah Counter – Warren, and Timer – Chizuko and General Evaluator – Jean.

There were two speakers and two corresponding evaluators.

The first speaker was Jessica D., who completed project #4 from the Competent Communicator's manual.  She spoke for less than 7 minutes in a speech entitled: "2016? No!"

Jessica D. indicated her willingness to learn something new each year. These included locating all the countries in the world on a map, perfecting her whistle and speaking (Mandarin) Chinese. For this year, she decided to learn how to say no to those requesting her time and energy.

Previously, she had a firm grip on the "fear of missing out" (FOMO) and followed her childhood imperative of "don't hurt the feelings of others!". Both of these predispositions led her, before this year, to say yes, even though it was occasionally detrimental to herself.

This year, starting on 1/3/2016, she has begun to say no to extracurricular activities and thus say yes to herself and honor her own path.

Jessica D. was voted the best speaker.

Jessica D. was evaluated by Julie. Julie loved Jessica's seamlessly woven humor and vulnerability in disclosing her psychological issues. She also liked her body language and gestures. She recommended that Jessica use better notes placement, refrain from pushing up her glasses on her face and rearranging the bangs on her forehead.

The second speaker was Dave, who completed project #5 from the Competent Communicator manual.  He spoke for less than 7 minutes in a speech entitled: "The Ripple Effect".

Dave described a tragic incident that took place in August of 1888 near Sullivan's Island, not far from Charleston, South Carolina. Ned Schachte was swimming and was pulled out to sea by turbulent waters. Surfman James L. Coste swam out and saved Ned's life but unwittingly sacrificed his own. During the rescue, he was forgotten, since he was considered a very strong swimmer. Other lifeboat rescuers subsequently failed to find Coste in the water until much later. Coste had been married only a month before his accidental death.

To mark his memory, Ned visited Coste's Gravesite annually until he died. His son and grandson continued the tradition and by 2013, 40 descendents including Joe Riley, Mayor of Charleston, who was Ned's Grandson, remembered Coste in this way. On April 2013, the Silver Life Saving medal for heroism was posthumously awarded to James L. Coste and received by Hal Coste, who had also successfully rescued a swimmer in 1991.

Thus a single heroic action rippled in time to produce the mayor of Charleston, S.C. and his own ripples for that populace.

He was evaluated by Lynne. Lynne noted that Dave told a fresh, new story and interweaved it with irony and humor. He offered a clear description of the event and his voice and language suggested the desperation and confusion that occurred that day. She liked his gestures that amplified the water waves. She suggested that he could also, with voice and gestures, suggest the rescue swimming movement and the pulling of the boat's oars. She thought
Dave's authority and sincerity were inspirational.

Lynne was voted the best evaluator.

We also had a General Evaluation offered by Jean. She congratulated Jan about taking on her 1st time solo toastmaster role. She liked that Jan remained silent while people wrote comments about the various speaking roles. She liked the Agenda and Quote that Jan produced on that page.

Julie, as president, was enthusiastic, gave time for announcements and introduction of our guest. Julie, as an evaluator, used the sandwich method and offered her personal opinions, rather than "shoulds".

Lynne looked directly at Dave. While during Dave's speech, he paced back and forth; Lynne instead paced side to side. She liked Lynne's gestures and thought her evaluation was stupendous.

Our Humorist was Grace. She told a story about a little girl eating ice cream outside her house during a cold winter day. She was told by a passerby that what she was doing was unhealthy. The little girl said that her Grandmother was 94 and was not officious. 

Grace also showed a picture of three lounging people on a dock by the water. She asked us what this was. It turned out that HR wanted a blue background. (The lounging was extra).

We were honored with 1 Guest, Erika H. 16 Members attended this meeting: Andrew, Anisha, Barb, Chizuko, Dave, Grace, Jan, Jean, Jessica D., Jing Z., Julie,  Lynne, Naser, Rance, Robert and Warren

Our active membership total remains at 31.

Respectfully Submitted,

Robert Katz for Amritha Imandi, Secretary
Public Speaking Northwest #9406