Friday, April 29, 2016

04/25/2016 About last night.......

Hello Fellow Toastmasters,

Last night we tackled the topic of conflict resolution during our first half of the meeting, and had a full schedule during the second half of the meeting as well. Thank you to all the members who filled in roles last night. It is wonderful to see that our fellow members will step in to help to fulfill all the roles, plus it is a great opportunity to continue practicing and learning.

Daniela started the meeting off with Invocation by sharing a story about how she introduced someone to Toastmasters. The lesson: we never know when we will be a ‘tool’ for Toastmasters and share our experiences with others. Alex was our Joke Master for the night and shared with us a quick joke with quite a funny punch. Great start. Our Toastmaster Michael led the way of the meeting, keeping us on time and on track.
The first half of the meeting got underway with Daniela filling in as Table Topic Master. Each speaker was read a conflict-related scenario and asked to speak about how they would approach that situation. Some were a bit more thought-provoking than others but all speakers seemed very comfortable on stage tackling their questions. In the end, we heard a number of great solutions to resolving conflict. This was a great Table Topic session that is very relatable to many of us. 

Joan stepped in as our Table Topic Evaluator and really took the time to commend speakers on their good points, and give pointers where it was needed. It’s great to have you back Joan! We also tried a new tool from our Toastmasters application, which was suggested by George, our grammarian. When a filler word was used, a ‘ding’ would sound, making the speakers more conscious about them. When asked what we thought about this new tool, the consensus was that we should use it during our Table Topics session from time to time to help speakers.

Refreshments were provided by Daniela, and it looked like it was a hit! Great snacks to get us back into the meeting.

The second half of the meeting hosted three speakers. Garvin volunteered to give an impromptu speech about living a meaningful life, and based his speech on the ideas presented in the book  titled “Blue Zones.” He summarized that in order to increase our chances of living longer, we should focus on 4 areas: diet, exercise, human relationships and purpose. Our second speaker Martin gave us his 3rd manual speech, which detailed a simple way to break a bad habit that really comes down to paying attention. He informed us that over time, we become mindful of our habits when we use positive/negative reinforcements to try and change them. Our third speaker Juju also gave us an impromptu speech about her trip to Sedona, Arizona. She shared with us the wonderful sights and experiences of her trip using descriptive words and imagery, we felt like we were really there! 

Following the speeches, the evaluators took the stage to provide feedback to our speakers. Margaret evaluated Garvin and acknowledged his passion for the topic, which she feels strongly about as well. She advised Garvin that she would have liked a deeper explanation of how we can fulfill the four areas that would enable us to potentially live longer. Charles evaluated Martin and commended him for his meaningful topic and great use of pauses, and also encouraged him to be mindful of his movement on stage. Michelle evaluated Juju and praised her for her great use of descriptive words and grand arm gestures that made her story come to life. She also advised Juju to give us a bit more background information, since some members of the audience may have not known where Sedona is located (in Arizona).

Angelica was our General Evaluator last night and did a great job giving us a review and report of the entire meeting. We finished the meeting on time with a lot of energy. Looking forward to next week, I hope to see many of you there!

Reminder: There is an officer’s meeting this upcoming meeting 05/02/16 @ 6pm. Thank you. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

04/18/2016 About last night.......

Hello Fellow Toastmasters, 

Last night’s meeting was all about the seller’s pitch, with a twist on our theme for the night ‘Interview. The meeting got started right on time as Lucille filled in as Invocation, reminding us to reach out to our loved ones if we haven’t spoken to them in a while. Florence threw us a curve ball and had as laughing with her unsuspecting humorous quote.
Our fill-in Toastmaster for the night, Byron, led the meeting and provided a brief introduction to our Table Topic portion of the meeting before we dove right in. Alex was our Table Topic Master for the night and provided us with a twist on the Table Topic theme ‘Interview.’ Instead, he pulled out two random items from a bag, and each speaker selected one item and had to sell it to the audience. It was an interesting twist and really had us thinking on our feet. Daniela, the Table Topic Evaluator, followed up with feedback for all the speakers, giving them pointers for areas of improvement.
The refreshments last night were provided by Daniel, thank you! Or as George put it … “Food coma!”
The second half of the meeting hosted three speakers. Fabian was our first speaker and gave us an impromptu speech about the difference between electric and gas-operated cars. He shared that electric cars are better for the environment; however he doesn’t feel that gas-operated cars will ever entirely disappear. Our second speaker was Aaron who gave us his second manual speech regarding speaking and listening. He started his speech with a set of thought-provoking questions, then dove into the meat of his speech, also sharing a personal story. Our third speaker was Terry, who gave us his fourth manual speech about his perspective of Toastmasters. His speech was well organized and talked about the areas of TM which he has learned from the most, which included Table Topics, the Debate, and time management. Great job to all three speakers!
The evaluations of the speakers followed, beginning with George who evaluated Fabian. During his evaluation, George suggested the use of body movement around the stage to engage the audience. The second evaluator was Brian who commended Aaron for his well-organized speech and also pointed out areas of improvement. Brian pointed out that when using notes, be mindful of where you place the lectern so as to not distract away from your speaking. Finally, Florence evaluated Terry’s speech and right away praised him for his major improvements. She pointed out that his speech was also well-organized and that he was much more comfortable on stage. Her recommendation was to speak up a bit more and practice projecting the voice.
Our General Evaluator Daniel provided us with a great summary of the meeting and we ended the meeting on time. This was definitely another power-packed meeting and looking forward to the next one. I hope to see many of you there, see you next week!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

04/11/2016 About last night

Hello Fellow Toastmasters,

Last night we held our much anticipated debate and we had a fiery crowd! We also had a number of guests who indicated they truly enjoyed the meeting and felt the enthusiasm. Brian started the night off with Invocation as he shared his experience from his recent trip to Europe. Lucille stepped in as our Joke Master and had us laughing right away with her witty joke. Our Toastmaster Charles did a great job moving the meeting along because we had a jam-packed agenda. 

The first half of the meeting hosted the Debate. I, Daniela, was the Table Topic Master and led the debate. The room was split into two sides, affirmative and negative, and the groups were given 5 minutes to discuss amongst themselves the topic before arguments began. The topic of the debate was: Parents are responsible for the actions of their children. The room was fired up with eager speakers taking the stand from both sides arguing their case. It was wonderful to see table topic speakers jump at the opportunity to share their thoughts. Great responses were provided from both sides, but in the end, the side arguing against the topic won the debate. Great job everyone! Michael followed-up with a succinct evaluation of the Table Topic Debate and pointed out a few items that caught his attention.

Refreshments last night were provided by Florence. Thank you! They were delicious.
The second half of the meeting got underway a bit behind schedule, but we dove right in. Our first speaker was George, giving his eighth manual project using visual aids. He used his PowerPoint presentation effectively to explain images about the Bernie Sanders campaign and that this movement, although strong, is not being televised but streamed in his speech “The Revolution will not be televisted.” Our second speaker Margaret gave her Icebreaker speech tonight and really provided us with an insight into her life with a moving story about her family. Her speech “September 30th 2013” captivated the audience as we got to know Margaret on more personal level. Congrats on giving your Icebreaker! Our third speaker was Daniel, who shared with us about “The pizza I didn’t eat.” Although he had us intrigued with his opening and title, this was actually a research topic about the Vegan lifestyle and its benefits. Great job to all three speakers!

The evaluations followed, beginning with Aaron who complimented George for streamlined speech, but also provided specific examples of how he can engage the audience more using his visual aids. Byron provided constructive feedback for Margaret and praised her on her natural ability to be command the stage and draw the audience with her smooth delivery. Alex evaluated Daniel and commended him for his great use of comedy, which is always a plus, but also provided areas of improvement as he continues to grow in his speaking.
Our General Evaluator Martin provided a succinct recap of the meeting and gave a quick evaluation of the speech evaluators. The meeting ended a few minutes after the hour due to the eventful night but the general consensus was that this was such a wonderful meeting and everyone really enjoyed themselves. I hope to see many of you next time… see you next week!

Friday, April 8, 2016

04/04/2016 About last night ... stories

Hello Fellow Toastmasters, 

We had quite a bounty of story-tellers last night, as yesterday’s theme was ‘Tell me a story.’ Thank you to all the members who filled in roles, beginning with Byron who filled in as Invocation. He reminded us that no matter how small, we always get something out of coming to Toastmasters. Our Joke Master Alex humored us with his tale of the robber at the police station.

Our meeting was underway very smoothly thanks to our Toastmaster for the night George, who also did a great job explaining the different parts of the meeting and roles to our guests.
Daniela, myself, filled in as Table Topic Master and quickly whipped up questions to encourage speakers to tell us about certain situations in their life in a story-telling fashion. There were quite a number of wild and interesting stories, and the natural ability to tell stories was showing because all speakers shared a personal experience. Our Table Topic Elevator Byron briefly went over each speaker’s strengths and area for improvement.
Refreshments were also provided by Byron. Thank you for filling in! It was delicious.

The second half of the meeting began with our three speakers. Michael vividly shared with us a speech about a hiking excursion with the Boys Scouts using wonderful visual aids from his trip. These included a number of hiking gear and attire. The audience was captivated by the amount of “stuff” that fits in the hiking pack! Our second speaker Michelle vibrantly told us about the importance of having setting goals and working to achieve them. She reminded us that these goals do not need to be grand, just small goals that we can accomplish in our day to day lives. Congrats to Michelle on giving her 10th speech and completing her 

Competent Communicator manual! Our last speaker was Garvin, who passionately spoke about our past President Theodore Roosevelt and why he was a great figure in history. He gave us a great history, told us about his attributes, and that he overcame obstacles. He engaged the audience by asking them to relate to this figure. Great job speakers!
The evaluations followed the speeches, and the evaluators did a great job providing feedback. Lucille evaluated Michael and informed that he successfully followed the objective of his speech, which was to use visual aids comfortably while speaking. Aaron provided feedback for Michelle and explained that her speech had a powerful message and was engaging. Daniela provided the evaluation for Garvin and acknowledged that his speech was well thought out and spoke passionately, engaging the audience with questions and use of gestures.

Last night was definitely a power-packed meeting full of energy and entertainment. Not only do we love to learn at Toastmasters, but we also love to have a great time! I hope to see you next time for another great evening.