February 18th, 2013 – Facing the Future

On Monday 18th, our meeting revolved around Facing the Future.

During the Invocation and Pledge, Vaishali Sahay reminded us that, at times, minor unfortunate experiences make us feel downhearted—and we tend to overemphasize the misfortune. However, by looking around us, we find grateful souls who –having to fight against regretful adversities—appreciate every day of their lives. “Let’s commit ourselves to move from wrong to better. By doing so, we will find out that there is always a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”—Vaishali said. Thank you Vaishali for your inspiring message!

Our President, Grace Weltman (DTM) –after welcoming our guests Mavera, Kiyana, Tedo and Nick—yielded the floor to Gordon Kehmeier’s (ATMB), who announced Anita’s passing last February 15th. Our heartfelt condolences go out to you, Gordon.

The leave of two of our officers left vacant their positions at the Executive Committee. Our President opened a fruitful quest for volunteers to fulfill these roles—after which Maryam Solhjou and Karina Gaete Llanos became Secretary and Sergeant-At-Arms, respectively. Other members volunteered to help the new officers when their professional or personal commitments conflicts with the agenda. Thank you all for the group effort!

Grace announced the presentation of the Budget Report by our Treasurer, James Noh. James concisely reported revenues, expenses, and proposed the Spring 2013 Budget. He stated that the budget report will be presented on a monthly basis. The high interest in the topic conflicted with time restraints. Therefore, questions and remarks should be addressed to the James via e-mail.

Our President introduced the Toastmaster: Emily Wratschko. Emily did a marvelous job directing and hosting our gathering. Clap your hands and cheer! …And keep on clapping: none would have ever said that Emily was a first-time Toastmaster!

While introducing the program participants, the grammarian, Terry Chodosh  (CTM), presented the Word of the Day: portend—a verb meaning to give warning of, predict or foreshadow. Terry excelled on reporting awkward use or misuse of words and offered the correct usage, but also indicated creative language usage. Several speakers used portend in their speeches. Congratulations to all of them and to Terry for choosing a word speakers use with ease!

The Toastmaster yielded the floor to the Table Topics Master, Maryam Solhjou, who challenged the audience with a thoughtful list of comprehensible short questions that allowed the speakers to offer opinions on Facing the Future. Thank you, Maryam, for offering a dynamic and entertaining impromptu setting. The Best Table Topics Speaker ribbon went to Terry Chodosh, who admitted he was a first-time winner to this portion of the meeting. Congratulations, Terry!

Mentors Moment came to us from Ivone Duffin (ACS/CL), who passed on two important pieces of advice to improve our professional image as individuals and as a Toastmaster group. “Maybe because of the comradeship’s environment that we enjoy at our club, instead of dressing up we dress down.”—Ivone said. “Our club helps its members to develop communication and leadership skills. But those skills are dramatically recognized by others when they are accompanied by a flawless visual presence.”—Ivone stated. After suggesting the attendants to wear more professional attire at our meetings, Ivone introduced the second piece of advice: the proper use of technology during our meetings.

Cell phones, mobile devices and laptops have improved our communications. However, in an educational setting like Toastmasters, the inappropriate use of these devices while others are speaking disrupts the full development of the meeting. “It is not only the concern for the disturbance that matters: it is also the lack of attention paid to the speaker, and –by extent—the poor consideration we show towards a peer Toastmaster”—she added. Ivone concluded by urging the audience to adopt best practices on the use of technology devices. Thank you, Ivone for your wise advice!

We had the pleasure to hear three stunning speeches:

Julia Burge (DTM) shared her speech entitled “Why My Cat Is Like Your Kid.”  With the delivery of a perfectly organized discourse, Julia provided us with key facts to get to know…her cat. Yes! Julia’s cat makes an unbearable amount of noise, he is the moodiest pet in the neighborhood, he awakened Julia’s maternal intuition –she knows better than anyone when her cat has a headache—and he is gross as a troll if he decides so. Julia was voted Best Speaker. Congratulations!

“Have you ever thought about doing something meaningful for your life?” With this strong opening Lucy Mendoza launched her speech entitled “My fundraiser”. She selected an appropriate outline that allowed the audience to easily follow and understand a speech on homeless kids: a topic that Lucy carries very deep in her heart.

Grace Weltman (DTM) presented her discourse “Mentoring”. Grace invited the audience to identify why mentoring’s importance, to describe mentor and mentee qualities, and finally to define the mentor’s role. Grace won the Most Improved Speaker ribbon.

Time for evaluators to deliver their evaluations! Vaishali Sahay—who was recognized for enthusiastically volunteering to opening roles—led the evaluation team: Steve Weltman, Larry Savell (DTM) and Shelly Lipanovich (CC). Vaishali gave a precise report of the preparation of the meeting and its development. She underlined the members’ good will that filled last minute vacant roles, making the meeting successful. Vaishali took the Best Program Manager ribbon.

Steve highlighted Julia’s appropriate use of juxtapositions, comparisons and vocal variety. He suggested the speaker to play more with voice volume, pitch, rate, and quality to reflect and add meaning and interest to the message. Steve provided reinforcement to Julia’s strengths and gently offered useful advice. Steve won the Best Evaluator ribbon. Congratulations!

Larry emphasized the brilliant organization and the fluent transitions used by Lucy in her speech. He reminded us that reading a speech calms the speaker’s nervousness. However, the discourse looses energy because the orator is focused on reading instead of engaging the audience. “Nervousness gives you energy”—Larry said. He concluded by encouraging the speaker to avoid the use of notes on next occasion.

Shelly underlined Grace’s speech preparation, complemented with visual aids and personal stories.  The evaluator suggested the speaker to work on content organization and to better balance time constraints.

Both members and guests enjoyed a good time. Indeed we had such a good time that Mavera, who arrived to the meeting as a guest, left it as a member! Welcome Mavera!

Next Monday, February 25th, we shall talk about Imagination. The meeting will be at the regular venue: at Coco’s Restaurant from 7:00 to 9:00pm. Come on in and join us! It will be fun!


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