Meeting Recap: Dec. 18, 2013 (Festivus)

posted Jan 27, 2014, 12:24 PM by Advanced Public Speakers Toastmasters Club   [ updated Oct 15, 2014, 11:40 AM ]

Dear APS Members,

In case you would like to relive our festive December 18 meeting or missed it altogether, here are the minutes.

Toastmaster Gouri Seetharam noted we have reached the 6-month point in the Toastmaster’s year.  APS has already achieved Select Distinguished Status (7 out of 10 goals reached) and expects to be President’s Distinguished this year.  We also boast an all-star member roster, including the District 46 LGET, 4 area governors, a division governor, an assistant area governor and an assistant division governor, several club presidents, many district level contest competitors and winners, including Brian Robinson, this year’s Table Topics victor, 6 DTMs, and 2 Ambassadors.  Wow! 


We then launched into our celebration of “Festivus,” the fictional secular holiday created by Seinfeld, consisting of the honoring of the aluminum pole, the airing of grievances, and family wrestling.


Speaker Manuel Saldana delivered his after-dinner speech in celebration of some of the outstanding members of APS, including great leaders such as Neerja, Christine, and Georgia.  He lauded his mentors such as Gouri, whom he met before she became “flawless,” Harry, who helped him become seriously funny, and Brian, whose powerful feedback helped him develop his competitive edge. He ended by lifting an imaginary glass to toast the entire APS membership for their inspiration and support.  Evaluator Eloise Johnny praised Manuel’s choice of topic, since people love hearing about themselves, and his wonderful conclusion of toasting his audience, but reminded him not to clasp his hands in front of his body when he’s not using them.


Crisis Manager Wendy Alvarez then stepped up to minimize the damage of the closure Santa’s North Pole operations, due to increased cynicism.  Holiday spirit has been heading “south,” resulting in operations being consolidated in Antarctica.  She kept a straight face during a hostile cross-examination by her audience and promised to relocate as many elfin jobs as possible.  Speech evaluator Georgia Jones praised Wendy’s choice of topic and coolness under fire.  She suggested the Toastmaster set the stage for the speech so Wendy wouldn’t have to spend valuable speech time doing that herself, and recommended more data to make her presentation even more convincing.


Marcia Berry then used visual aids to sell a product—herself!—by appealing to corporate wellness directors to hire her to provide employee wellness services.  She used statistics and logic to convince her audience they could not afford not to hire her.  Evaluator FX praised her use of a question to draw in her audience and her passion for her topic, but suggested placing fewer numbers on each slide or sprinkling the numbers throughout the presentation to make them less overwhelming.


Table Topics Master Todd McKinney posed a series of Festivus questions.  Harry got the chance to create his own holiday--a celebration that we are all alive, human and unique.  Eloise aired her grievances, which were negligible, given her positive nature.  Georgia demonstrated her greatest feat of strength and inspired all present with her tale of overcoming the poverty of her childhood so that now she has ended up with too much stuff.  Gouri had a chance to catalogue useless symbols in her life, and we learned that she is overwhelmed with Toastmasters tchotchkes and shotglasses.  Manual named his very own “Person of the Year," Table Topics Master, Todd McKinney.  Marcia made an appeal to appoint a “Woman of the Year,” such as Malala, who stands up for herself and tries to help others.   Wendy chose to place her own photo on the cover ofWizard of Oz magazine for the magic she gives to her life by going out of her comfort zone.


Then came the best question of the evening:  Is there a price to be paid when people tell the truth?  FX responded that there can be a downside, but that following your own heart is priceless.


General Evaluator Harry Aneziris lauded the strong Table Topics questions and pointed out that ideally, Table Topics responses and speech evaluations would seem planned, with a distinct opening, a logical flow or points, and a strong conclusion.


Upcoming dates to note:


Next meeting will be held on January 9.


Our International Speech and Speech Evaluation club contest will be held on January 22, with Wendy Alvarez presiding as Contest Chair.  The winner of the District 46 International Speech contest will have his or her travel expenses paid to the World Championship Contest in Malaysia!


February 13 will be a special workshop conducted by Michael Platania on crafting a strong elevator speech, with speaking slots open for 2 other members who wish to deliver a presentation on the same theme.


Best wishes and Happy New Year to all.


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Marcia Berry
Secretary, Advanced Public Speakers