Meeting Recap: Nov. 14, 2013 (Vocal Variety)

posted Nov 17, 2013, 8:16 AM by Advanced Public Speakers Toastmasters Club   [ updated Oct 15, 2014, 11:50 AM ]
Dear APS Members and November 14 Guests:

Toastmaster Sheryl Berger kicked off our November 14 meeting by introducing the meeting’s theme, Vocal Variety, in her new English accent, informing us that “The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain.” But according to speaker #1, President Gouri Seetharam, no rain is falling on APS, since we’ve already reached 6 of our 10 DCP goals. She stressed the real goal of APS: to help each member meet his or her Toastmaster goals, and urged any members who hadn’t yet turned in their goals form to get the form from VPE Todd McKinney, complete it, and turn it in to the club. Only then can APS arrange its programs, mentoring, and other club services to best help each member. Many members are striving to enter the world of professional speaking, and 7 members aspire to become The World Champion of Public Speaking. Evaluator Laurent Nicourt, the club’s newest member, praised Gouri’s use of a pop quiz to prompt the audience to list the 10 DCP goals. He suggested Gouri might improve the speech by injecting a sense of urgency with a deadline, perhaps challenging APS to be the first in the world to reach all 10 DCP goals. 

Manual Saldana followed with his speech, “Bigger is Better.” He related his trip to the hospital so his pregnant wife could get her first sonogram. The drama reached its peak when Manuel discovered that not only will he become the father of identical twin boys, but they are due to arrive much sooner than expected! Evaluator Marcia Berry praised Manuel’s extreme dedication to creating a dramatic speech—going to the trouble of conceiving identical twins in order to have a compelling speech topic. She applauded his storytelling prowess, but cautioned that she found the ending confusing.

Speaker Wendy Reynoso used masterful vocal variety and forceful body language to convert what might have been a boring talk on vision and mission into a riveting story, complete with audience participation and a rousing ending: “I believe this is possible because I believe in you, I believe in me, and I believe in the power of us working together.”

Finally, Division D humorous speech contest winner Steven Brady delivered his contest speech: “Metamorphosis: Shaken, Not Stirred,” in which he relived a drunken night as a college student. Evaluator Harry Anezeris enjoyed Steve’s theatrics so much he advised Steve to add even more, and to inject drama by embellishing reality. With those changes, Harry concluded that Steve has a great chance of bringing home the District 46 trophy to Division D.

Table Topics Master Derek Chen presided over a series of questions requiring participants to use their vocal variety. He noted that an audience is influenced only 7% by a speaker’s words, but voice and body language count for 93%! (Voice is 38% and body language is 55%). The highlight of Table Topics came when guest Xixiao Han had to use her sweetest voice to persuade her husband, Harry Aneziris, to stop attending so many Toastmasters meetings. Come to next week’s APS meeting to see whether Xixiao succeeded, or will Harry be back at Toastmasters as usual?

To conclude the Table Topics portion of the meeting, VPE Todd McKinney read the Gettysburg Address to commemorate its upcoming 150thanniversary (on November 19). He noted that one of the greatest speeches in history lasts less than the length of a table topics response. See his reading here:

Ah Counter Lois Lynn remarked that all speakers delivered their verbal pauses with great vocal variety.

General Evaluator Len Lubarsky gave special praise to Table Topics Master Derek Chen for his masterful use of the day’s theme in the table topics questions.

Announcements: There will be no second meeting in November due to the Thanksgiving holiday. APS will hold its International Speech and Evaluation contest on January 22, with Andrea King presiding as Chief Judge. Anyone interested in competing should contact Todd or Gouri at The next two meetings will be December 12 and 18 (a change from the normal meeting schedule). We hope to see you then.

Best wishes,
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Marcia Berry
Secretary, Advanced Public Speakers