Toastmasters – April 22nd, 2013

The room was bustling with small talk before Ann called the meeting to order with the smack of her gavel. She led us in the invocation and we all said the Pledge of Allegiance. This was all pretty standard from what I’ve seen during my time in Toastmasters. The rest of the evening, however, was not so standard.

On this particular evening, new members were formally inducted. Hyacinthe led this portion of the meeting. He read from the official Toastmasters New Member Induction Ceremony document, which can be found here. All of the new members, myself included, lined-up along the front of the room as Hyacinthe read the document. Once he was finished, we each received a pin from Susan that we are to wear to each meeting. The new inductees grouped together for a few photographs, and the ceremony was finished.

Since this was a special evening, there were no speakers. Ann led a 30 minute session of Table Topics. This was no ordinary Table Topics session though. Ann would ask a single question, and there would be two responses from randomly chosen participants. One person would take a positive stance to the question, and the other would take a negative stance. This led to some interesting responses.

Statement 1: If you could fix dinner for a special person, who would it be and what would you make?

Brian: I said I would fix dinner for my girlfriend, Tiffany. She lives in Washington D.C., and I don’t get to see her often. I would prepare a meal of Dungeness Crab, kale, zucchini, and tea.

Nam: Nam said he would cook for his wife. He said he wasn’t the greatest cook, but “I can fry up some eggs.” For dessert, he and his wife would enjoy ice cream that he would have picked up from Braum’s.

His response wasn’t the negative of mine, but I will say that he had the trickiest question of the night to take the negative of. I probably would have done the same.

Statement 2: Dogs are definitely smarter than cats.

Lu: He felt dogs are definitely smarter than cats because they protect your family. Cats stay out of sight and keep their distance. Dr. Lu did a great impression of the sound a dog makes when you pet it, but I don’t think I can fully express that through writing. You just had to be there to fully appreciate it!

Martin: He felt that cats are much smarter than dogs, specifically large cats. He mentioned cheetahs and how intelligent they are when they hunt.

Statement 3: Everyone should own a gun and the world would be a safer place.

There were a couple of memorable quotes dished out in this epic dual.

David: “Peace is the way, and let me tell yah, I’ve got a piece.” “Everyone should carry nuclear bombs.” I may have to slightly disagree with David on how everyone having nukes would affect world peace…just slightly.

Stan: Stan felt that the path to world peace is not paved with all of humanity owning guns. According to Stan, world peace could be achieved if everyone carried a knife. Stan pointed out that Susan could stand to carry two knives. You would think everyone carrying knives would have in impact on fashion, but not according to Stan. A knife could be wielded fashionably by using a, “leather sheath.” Stan ended his razor-sharp response with a fist bang on the podium followed by the word, “knives.”

Statement 4: Technology has greatly improved our life in so many ways.

Mark: He felt technology has certainly improved our lives. 100 years ago we didn’t have central heat and air. Technological advances in medicine have improved our lives. Mark brought up the printing press and how revolutionary it was. The thought of Stephen King penning his own books shows how much technology has impacted society.

Mike: Taking the negative view, Mike talked about how technology has ruined everyone. There is no more privacy. Information can now travel the world instantly, which is both a blessing and a curse. For the person that doesn’t want to hear about all of the evils in the world, technology brings about harm.

Statement 5: What is your favorite comic strip?

Henry: Henry had a tough time coming up with a favorite comic strip. He would have been a solid choice for the negative version of this question, but I thought the way he ended his speech was perfect. After a minute or two, he just simply said, “uhhh, I hate comics.”

April: Taking the opposite view, April didn’t have a favorite comic strip because of the lack of comic strips she has been exposed to in her life. She was right when she said they aren’t as prevalent nowadays. I think I would have gone with Spider-Man or the X-Men and just hoped that counted.

Statement 6: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Tammy: I think Tammy has thought about this question before because she had numerous locations she would go. She would travel to Paris, this time without the company of her teenage daughter. She would like to go to Germany and see King Ludwig’s Castle. Looking at the picture I can see why she would want to do that.

Nam: Nam got a second chance to take the negative point on a question. Instead of traveling to Paris or Germany, Nam would rather sit on the couch and watch Thunder basketball. He wouldn’t have to deal with the hassles and headaches of traveling. Everything he needs is right here in central Oklahoma!

That concluded the Table Topics portion of the meeting. The Toastmaster, Susan, called on the reports from the helpers for the night’s meeting. Mark was the only speaker who didn’t utter an “ah.” April, the grammarian, informed me that it is incorrect to conclude a speech with, “and…yeah.” I clearly can see that’s not the thing to do, but when I’m up giving an impromptu speech, that’s about as good of an ending as I’m capable of producing right now. That’s the reason I’m in Toastmasters thought. Gradually, I will become more comfortable with the impromptu speeches.

We had a couple of guests for the evening on this night. Charles had nothing but nice things to say about his experience with the group. I was happy to see Bonnie back again. The meeting ended with Susan making remarks as the president of the group. Susan encouraged us to strive to see the yellow card when speaking. Many of us, myself included, bail out as soon as that precious green card is lifted. Assignments were made for next week, and the meeting adjourned. I believe we are going to have three speakers on Monday, so that will be an action packed meeting!