Meeting Recap: July 22, 2015 (Back to Basics)

posted Jul 26, 2015, 10:05 AM by Advanced Public Speakers Toastmasters Club   [ updated Sep 11, 2015, 12:56 PM ]

Dear APS Members and Guests,


Toastmaster of the Day Steve Brady wanted to get “Back to Basics.” Especially the basics of human connection, which Steve believes are critical to successful communication and relationships. Steve relayed the tragic story of his friend Faigy Mayer, a fellow Toastmaster and member of NYU Poly Toastineers who may have suffered from depression and took her own life just two days before. Faigy was also known by some other APS members who were shocked to hear the news. Steve’s call to action: always make every effort to reach out and make the human connection, because showing concern and maintaining communication with someone like Faigy - who felt estranged from her family - may help prevent such a tragedy.


Contributing guests at this meeting were Pauline Edwards and Barbara Stallworth, neither of whom qualified as criticasters. Grammarian Harry Aneziris was not disappointed however, even though he chose “criticaster” as Word of the Day.


“Missionary and Father” is an Ice Breaker speech by Manuel Saldana. At an earlier age Manuel was a missionary for the Mormon Church. Now as the responsible father of four children, he feels fatherhood has given him even more perspective. Speech evaluator Kumar Kanumilli could tell that Manuel was an advanced speaker from the very start, and that he was presenting significant ideas. Kumar also felt that Manuel could make more use the speaking area, and that his conclusion should be definitive and not as abrupt.


Derek Chen paid a humorous roast tribute to Neerja Purang as “Someone Special.” Derek believes that although Neerja is an inspirational leader who is always smiling through adversity, she has no idea how to drive a car. Even though both Derek and Neerja live in New Jersey, while traveling to a Toastmasters event they were unable to navigate without a GPS - which of course becomes useless when some major roads are closed for construction. Pauline Edwards thought that Derek’s humor was sincere and respectful – especially for a roast. She then suggested that Derek could enhance the humor with broader and more animated gestures.


Todd McKinney offered a “Hail & Farewell” toast to the APS and District officers who helped make this year a great success – Georgia Jones, Manuel Saldana and Neerja Purang. Evaluator Jinquan Liang liked the timely topic but suggested that focusing on just one story – perhaps Neerja’s - would increase the effectiveness of such a brief speech project.


Steve Brady returned as Table Topics Master with some spontaneous questions. Barbara Stallworth got a chance to exercise what she believes are the basics of public speaking – eye contact, gestures and meaningful pauses that allow a speaker to collect their thoughts. Jinquan Liang raised the topic of “rejection therapy” to desensitize oneself from pain and fear, while Pauline Edwards recalled how challenging it was to establish human connections when first moving to hectic New York City. Derek Chen’s initial arrival at Newark’s Penn Station was confusing because he thought they announced “New York.” Harry Aneziris loves to engage in deception, but only when playing chess, while Kumar Kanumilli was in AXA Toastmasters for several years but feels procrastination held back his advancement.


General Evaluator Barbara Stallworth praised the meeting and the room set up. She liked that the agenda changes were handled before the meeting started, but noticed a few missing handshakes during Table Topics. Barbara commended the substance of the speech evaluations, but thought that brevity in the opening would allow the evaluators time to add more meat to their sandwich creation.

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Todd McKinney
Secretary, Advanced Public Speakers