Meeting Recap: Feb. 13, 2013 (Friendship: Toastmasters Style!)

posted Feb 22, 2013, 9:05 PM by Advanced Public Speakers Toastmasters Club   [ updated Oct 15, 2014, 1:51 PM ]
Dear APS Members and Guests,

Friendship: Toastmasters Style! was the meeting theme, supplied by Toastmaster of the DayManuel Saldaña. The meeting featured evocative Table Topics and three contest speeches with a round robin evaluation session for each. In a world full of meaningless tweets, the APS round robins were able to dig up some substantial “worms of wisdom” for the benefit of our speech contestants. There was symbiosis between the speakers and the evaluators, and Symbiotic was the Word of the Day from Grammarian Marcia Berry. 

Welcome guests and friends of APS were assistant Division C Governor Mimi Hou, District Secretary Jennifer Chan - who acted as Timer - and Area 43 Governor Derek Chen. Derek went from friend to family by becoming the newest APS member!

Manuel opened with a touching story of Toastmasters friendship. He was recruited into his very first club by the Club President, who became his mentor. In a true act of selfless friendship, she delayed filing Manuel’s official membership for six months, so that the timing would benefit the clubs’ membership goals! As Stevie Wonder once sang “That’s What Friends Are For!” Manuel refrained from mentioning her name because she was not present at the meeting, but my own detective work has revealed that this goal oriented Toastmaster and friend indeed was none other than Gouri Seetharam!
 
Michael Platania offered “Three Little Words,” a self revealing contest speech credited toward an extra CC Award. In this case, the three little words were “I hear you,” signifying understanding and approval. The round robin evaluators praised the speeches’ significance, but suggested adding self depreciating humor to offset the serious nature of the content, and refining the language to make sure that the meanings and the message were clear and relatable to the listeners.
 
“Make Someone Happy” is my autobiographical contest speech also done for an extra CC. The message is that true happiness does not come from accomplishments, but as a cosmic reward for helping others find their happiness. The round robins liked my stories and humor, but found fault with the final third of the speech where the energy was dissipated, and the ultimate meaning and structure became unclear.

Pam Burke gave us “When the Knocking Stops,” a dramatic contest speech fulfilling the touching story project from the Storytelling Manual. Pam put us through the paces with a variety of speech techniques to illustrate that you never know when opportunity will knock, but you had better be ready. The evaluators found the speech to be meaningful and engaging, but suggested removing references that were not universally understood and bringing extra dimension to other characters in the story. 

A fun and provocative Table Topics segment exploring the theme of friendship was run by APS “BFF” Mimi Hou. Mimi covered a lot of ground with questions like “can you be friends if there is a physical attraction?”Michael Platania answered essentially that “it depends,” but was able to expound until well after the green card appeared. Jennifer Chan spoke on the idea of “ideal friendship,” and Eloise Johnny declared that children – with their lack of guile - have a much easier time making friends than adults. Mimi even trapped me into admitting that a betrayal of massive proportions would be the most likely cause for ending a friendship.

General Evaluator Eloise Johnny called on her team for the usual reports, but also rose to the unusual challenge of moderating the three round robin evaluation sessions. Eloise did not hesitate to contribute her own suggestions to the diverse mix of ideas.

The next APS meeting will be Wednesday, February 27.

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Todd McKinney
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