Toastmasters – April 8th, 2013

As usual, Ann started the meeting on time. Ann called on Mark to lead us in the invocation for the evening. Mark chose to recite the Lord’s Prayer, and was joined by other members of the group. Ann lead us in the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance. Susan was called to the podium to welcome our guests for the evening, which if my memory serves me right, we had two guests. The club business mentioned by Susan mostly revolved around how awesome some of our members have performed in the area contests.

The Toastmaster for the evening was Stan. As we all know, there are many moving pieces to a Toastmasters’ meeting. There are several roles that must be filled in order for the evening to go smoothly. Stan introduced each of the helpers and invited each to give a brief description of the job he or she would be performing for the evening.

David, in addition to giving his Ice Breaker, volunteered to bring a bit of humor to the group. David’s story involved a child in a small swimming pool. The child’s father was watching the strange behavior of the child, as the child stomped around the wading pool. Eventually, the child became fed up with the water in the pool and he began to scoop out the water. The curious father eventually approached the child and asked why he was scooping out the water. The child, apparently having recently heard the tale of Jesus walking on water, was upset because, “the water wasn’t working correctly.”

The word of the evening was chosen by Mark. Mark chose “faze” as the word that each of us should try to incorporate into our speeches for the evening. Ann filled in as the Grammarian and Ah-Counter. I played the role of the Timer/Ballot Counter, and our General Evaluator was Ann. Big evening for Ann, she wore many hats at this meeting!

Our first speaker was April. April was giving her third speech, which according to the Competent Communication manual centers around, “getting to the point.” April chose to speak about Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. I have read this book, myself, and I must say it was an excellent choice for a speech. April chose several themes from the book that spoke to her most. April learned how to be interesting to other people, which ironically, is to become interesting in the other person. She was able to apply this principle during a recent business meeting, in which a single question filled an hour’s worth of time. April learned how to see the best in other people. Accepting that not every argument can be won was another life-principle April picked up from Mr. Carnegie’s book. The final principle April learned, is very important. There is no greater sound to a person’s ears than the sound of their own name. April learned to use people’s names when speaking with them; this makes them feel important.

Following April’s speech, was Dr. Lu, who gave us a glimpse into his life by giving his first speech: Ice Breaker. It was very evident from Dr. Lu’s speech that he is a very dynamic person. He seems to have many different interests. He told us about the proper pronunciation of his name. It is difficult to get his name legally changed to better represent the proper pronunciation, so he has stuck with his current name. Dr. Lu was born in China, and came to the U.S. for medical research. This choice of profession did not sit well with his wife and parents, and eventually he became a research psychiatrist. Dr. Lu has been married for 16 years. Dr. Lu has aspirations of being a better follower of Christ. He has many hobbies including stamp and coin collection. He concluded his speech with a singular phrase he feels best describes him, “a man without a focus.”

Our final speaker of the evening was David. David was also giving his ice breaker speech. The first thing I noticed about David was how positive he was. He joined the Michigan and Indiana National Guard. He told the recruiter to send him south, so that’s how he came to be a “nut from Ohio,” living in Oklahoma. David attended college in Chickasha, Oklahoma. He was invited to a Kenyan wedding, where he met Susan and his future wife, who rendered him, “speechless.” It seemed David’s main reason for joining Toastmasters was the become a better communicator. He felt this would not only help him in his marriage, but also in his business. David served as a medic during his time in the military, so he has a passion for helping others. He ended his speech by telling us about an event taking place at the Cox Convention Center this Saturday and public speakers are needed.

Christie led the Table Topics portion of the meeting. She had recently returned from a trip to the always water-logged Seattle. Knowing this information, it is no shock that her questions centered around the theme of water. Michael was asked to share his favorite setting involving water. Michael loves wake boarding, and has desires to go surfing some day. Hunter shared his favorite water activity. He likes to go kneeboarding, but told Michael he has yet to try wake boarding. Hunter loves to go swimming, and likes to try to touch the bottom, as long as the pressure in his ears allow. I have, “dolphin with lasers,” written down in my notes. I can’t recall the context in which this was used, but I know I got a chuckle out of it. The final speaker for Table Topics was a guest. Neen was asked if she has ever been successful in planting a garden. She felt she was a, “pretty lousy gardner.” She went on to say the, “majority of the plants in her house die.” I applaud her honesty; if I were asked the same question, my responses would have been very similar.

The detail of my notes trailed off at this point because I had to focus on counting the ballots, so I don’t have much information about the three evaluations.

The best speaker of the night was April. Hunter was voted the best Table Topics speaker. I was happy to see Michael win Most Improved Table Topics speakers; even in just the few meetings he has been coming, I can see him becoming more comfortable. Alexis was considered to be the best evaluator of the evening.

I don’t have much in the way of notes on Ann’s thoughts on the flow of the meeting. I’ll try to jot a few more things down during the General Evaluator’s portion of the meeting next time. Roles were set up for next meeting, and the meeting adjourned. I look forward to seeing you all next week. I need to start working on my speech!