Meeting Recap: Feb. 27, 2013 (Choices)

posted Mar 7, 2013, 2:18 AM by Advanced Public Speakers Toastmasters Club   [ updated Oct 15, 2014, 1:49 PM ]
Dear APS Members and Guests,

The power of choice was on display as Toastmaster of the Day Sandro Fusco gave a carefully prepared presentation to illustrate our meeting theme “Choices.” Sandro offered historical examples where the seemingly obvious choice proved to be – shall we say – less than optimal. For instance, blindly voting for a politician solely on the criteria  of “clean living” would have led one to choose Hitler over Churchill or Roosevelt. Predicting a child’s worth based only on stereotypes of family background would have led one to dismiss Ludwig van Beethoven as among the most worthless. Sandro’s point was that the dilemmas and choices we face require complete information if we are to successfully be “the architect of our own life and fortune.” Dilemma was the Word of the Day presented by Alzonia Cunningham

Welcome guests were Myron Tucker serving as Timer, and Alzonia Cunningham as Word Master.

Marcia Berry gave the Abstract Concept project from the Speaking to Inform manual. In “The Higgs Boson: The Ultimate Ghost Buster,” Marcia explained the theory of particle physics first proposed by Peter Higgs. The theory explains why fundamental particles have mass and matter is not devoid of form. Acting as Speech Evaluator, I complemented Marcia for her stage presence and preparation, and for making such a challenging topic clear and entertaining. Marcia used a slide show to good effect, but finding a way to actively involve the audience would have made this excellent presentation even more engaging.

Christine Navigante Brought History to Life with “Courage in Darkness,” a project from the Storytelling Manual.  It’s the story of Helen Keller and her teacher/friend Anne Sullivan, and that “the best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” Speech Evaluator Derek Chen praised the sincerity and the important subject matter, but suggested increasing the inspirational content by including more about the effect Helen Keller had on the world. Derek also suggested that Christine minimize her hand gestures, and utilize a significant pause before beginning the speech, allowing the audience to focus their attention.

“Long Pants” is the International Speech entry by Brian Robinson for the upcoming round of Spring contests. Brian’s personal story of overcoming adversity and personal growth was delivered with his usual command and flair. The Round Robin evaluation was also successful in offering several ideas for refinement. Consistent use of visual props, making sure the language is precise to reflect the intended meaning and making sure the abundance of humor does not undermine the speakers’ sincerity. Brian will represent APS at the Area 45 Contest on March 13.

By focusing on the meeting theme “Choices,” Table Topics Master Pam Burke was able to elicit some startling responses, some of which were too personal to be repeated here (you had to be there.) One question had to do with Pam’s nephews. Both had iPhone games available, but one wanted to play a game that was only available on his brothers’ phone. This situation represents the dilemma known as a “Hobson’s Choice” (take it or leave it - take what is offered, or take nothing at all.) Myron Tuckersuggested the diplomatic approach, allowing each to share and trade and learn a valuable lesson in the process. Derek Chen responded that he chooses his advanced manuals in order to build up what he considers his weakest points, and Sandro Fusco revealed that because of his fondness for chocolate he would gladly choose to eat chocolate covered grasshoppers rather that sleep in a coffin with maggots.

General Evaluator Neerja Purang conducted a comprehensive segment with the stated intention of offering feedback to everyone not already evaluated. Neerja praised Derek Chen for his substantial speech evaluation, but suggested that Derek project his voice and confidence more. Neerja also said that Sandro’s opening segment was too long, but she was unaware of my secret and sneaky request that Sandro speak at least five minutes so he could get speech credit toward his recent extra CC Award for APS.

The next APS meeting will be Thursday, March 14.
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Todd McKinney
President, Advanced Public Speakers