Toastmasters April 29th, 2013

This was certainly an interesting meeting. Because of outside circumstances, several roles had to be filled on the spot at the meeting. Luckily for us, Susan is very good at delegating and at filling needed roles. Despite the lack of people, the meeting still went smoothly.

The meeting started promptly on time, which was rather humorous. By the time Ann brought the gavel down, Susan began to notice the missing pieces for the evening. Susan gathered herself and took charge or the meeting. Susan was initially going to play the role of the Toastmaster, but delegated that responsibility to Tammy.

It was Tammy’s first time being a Toastmaster, and I feel she did an excellent job. She handled the situation like a true professional. Tammy called on our humorist for the evening, Ann to bring a little humor to the evening.

Ann told a joke about a man who was bidding on an exotic parrot at an auction. All the man cared about was winning the bird. The bidding went back and forth, but eventually he won the prized parrot. When the man went over to pay, he said to the auctioneer, “I hope the parrot can talk.” The auctioneer nodded his head approvingly and said, “Of course he can talk. Who do you think was bidding against you?”

Susan played the role of word master this evening. She chose the word, “laconic,” which means brief or terse. I believe Tammy made the joke that, “tonight’s meeting is going to be rather laconic.” Susan was also the grammarian. Dr. Lu was the Ah-Counter. Ann was the timer / ballot counter. Susan, taking on yet another role, was the General Evaluator.

The first speaker of the evening was David. David was giving a speech to a PTA meeting on Monday (5-6-13) and was using Toastmasters as a way of practicing his speech. David gave his speech about his company Legal Shield. The first thing that struck me about David’s speech was the inclusion of props. He had cardboard cutouts, and everyone in the room received a pamphlet. That certainly showed that he was on the right track for giving the real speech the following Monday. David emphasized the experience the members of his company have by stating they employee experienced lawyers and past judges. He gave examples of how he relied on Legal Shield for help in his own life.

The second speaker was Mark. Mark spoke about the 7 deadly sins. I was busy writing my evaluation of David’s speech, so I wasn’t able to fully pay attention to Mark’s speech. From what I briefly picked up on, I enjoyed the imagery painted by Mark. He took us on a journey through the 7 layers of Dante’s Mountain. I caught the end when he said, “and when we have rid our backs of all the monkeys, we can spread our wings to the heavens and say, ‘free at last! free at last!’” I asked Susan for her notes on Mark’s speech, so I could include them in his email. Here is what Susan had to say,

“Mark speech was called 7 deadly sins. He gave a laconic historical introduction to the 7 deadly sins. Mark had a laconic example for each sin and an antidote. he talked about the 7 deadly sins pyramid and provided the virtue for each. Starting from the bottom, Pride vs Humility, Envy vs Kindness, Wrath vs Forgiveness, Sloth vs Diligence, Greed vs Charity, Gluttony vs Temperance and Lust vs Chastity. You ought to have been present in our meeting to hear the whole story, he concluded his speech stating that the sins keeps us in chains and if we acquire the virtues mentioned [humility, kindness, forgiveness, diligence, charity, self-restraint and purity] we will be free, free to fly.”

If my memory serves me correctly, I believe Tammy conducted the Table Topics portion of the meeting. The first question went to Dr. Lu. Lu was asked, “if failure was not an option, what would you do?” I thought Dr. Lu’s response to this question was perfect. Dr. Lu said, “failure is inevitable.” The most important thing is how you learn from failure. Those are important words that we all can stand to remember from time to time.

The next question went David’s way. David was asked, “if you could change one thing about your past, what would you change and what difference would it make?” David’s response centered around the idea that he would learn from his past mistakes.

Martin was asked what he would do with $1 million? Martin immediately said he would give 10% to the church. He would share some of the money with his family, and he would have to pray about what to do with the rest of the money. He did allude to the fact he would probably be riding around in a nicer vehicle though.

The final Table Topics question was fielded by Ann. She was asked to talk about the one person who made the most difference in her life. She expanded on the prompt and included her parents and her brother. Ann’s mom was a teacher, and her father was very kind and gentle, even when Ann would get in trouble.

I gave my evaluation of David’s speech once Table Topics was finished. I enjoyed David’s speech. I feel the props he brought were a nice addition. I suggested he try to connect with the audience a little more by coming up with more scenarios in which Legal Shield was helpful to parents. I didn’t pick up on the use of any transitions in his speech, but all in all I think David did a good job, and I hope his speech to the PTA went well.

Hyacinthe evaluated Mark’s speech. Hyacinthe enjoyed the opening of Mark’s speech. For each of the points (7 deadly sins), Mark had an anecdote. Hyacinthe seemed to enjoyed Mark’s conclusion with the imagery of climbing to the top of the mountain having shed all of the monkeys. Hyacinthe did feel Mark could use more body language, and could move around a little more to get out from behind the podium.

All of the helpers gave their respective reports. I think my favorite report came from Dr. Lu. I had 4 ah’s and a couple ‘choo choo choos.’ At first I had no idea what he was talking about, but talking with Hyacinthe I understood what he was talking about. I mentioned to a couple people at work, and they had noticed me doing it at work. If I gained anything from Toastmasters it is an awareness that apparently I make train noises from time to time.

Mark was awarded the best speaker of the night. Ann was the best Table Topics speaker, and Hyacinthe was the evening’s best evaluator. The meeting ended once the agenda was set for the following week.