January 28th, 2013 – A World of Opportunities

It couldn’t have been any other way: on Monday 28th we had another engaging and fun meeting!

We started off with a great theme: A World of Opportunities! With this topic in mind, Vaishali Sahay –who led the Invocation and Pledge—encouraged us to change our perception of negative experiences and thoughts. “When tragedies happen and negativity surrounds us, positive feelings radiate”—Vaishali said. And she is right, because by changing the way we look at things, things we look at change. Thank you Vaishali for such an inspirational thought.

Our President, Grace Weltman (DTM), introduced and welcomed our guests: Mina, Grady and Eva, who were invited by Maryam, Raül and Shelly L., respectively. Thank you to both guests and their hosts!

Grace informed us that the chair of the 30th anniversary celebration committee–Julia Burge (DTM)—seeks volunteers to join the committee and provide ideas for the organization of the event. The celebration will take place in June 2013. We will keep you updated as it progresses!

Our Vice President of Education, Shelly Lipanovich (CC), announced her participation as Contest Chair of the Evaluation Contest on February 4th. Raül López (CC) will be the Toastmaster. Attendants stressed the convenience for all the members to participate in the contest. The International Contest will be on February 11th. Mark your calendars!

Grace followed with the introduction of the Toastmaster: Roman Messick. Roman, his first-time as Toastmaster, did a stunning job—clap your hands and cheer!

The grammarian of the meeting, Emily Wratschko, chose efficacy as Word of the Day. Efficacy; a noun describing the power to produce a desired result or effect. Emily did an excellent job with the word of the day, commenting on language usage during the course of the meeting, and providing examples of eloquence. Although the word was conveniently written and placed in sight, only a few speakers made use of it during their speeches—but more than in previous meetings!

We had an entertaining as well as challenging session of Table Topics led by Terry Chodosh, who did a terrific research of questions related to opportunities: opportunities to study, opportunities to work, or opportunities to improve—for example. The Best Table Topics Speaker ribbon went to Larry Savell.  Terry took the Best Program Manager ribbon.

During Mentor’s Moment, Larry reminded us the importance of evaluations as a unique tool for the Toastmasters program. ‘’Evaluation in Toastmaster is much more than talking about what you are doing wrong, but it is also trying to identify what you are doing right”, Larry said. He also urged members to take the opportunity between speeches to write the little notes, and help speakers to improve by writing something specific. “If you want to be positive say, for example, the opening: it grabbed our attention. What a great leading to the body of the speech”—Larry continued. “Likewise, if you thought there was an area where somebody could improve upon, you don’t say your opening was lousy. You could say something like I have an idea of a way of improving your opening”, Larry added. Thank you, Larry, for your wise words!

The audience had the pleasure to listen three great speeches:

▪ Raül López (CC) shared his speech on Project#3 of the Facilitating Discussion Manual, Membership Retention. Raül successfully led a problem-solving discussion, starting by defining the challenges of the membership retention for a club like ours; following by identifying the major causes for this situation to happen, and the potential solutions. He concluded by determining the top three ideas generated and making a conclusion. Raül not only facilitated a great exercise for the members but —through his speech—he also provided great information for the club’s executive committee. Raül was voted Most Improved Speaker.

▪ Stan Laeno (ACG) delivered his speech on Project#2 of the Competent Communicator Manual, Water Heater from Hell. Stan shared with us interesting experiences with his old water heater and customer service. Stan was voted Best Speaker. Stan also shared with us the good news of his new grandson birth on January 1st. Congratulations to Grandpa Stan!

▪ Anne Marie Knudsen (ATMG/CL) volunteered that same day to speak and delivered an impromptu speech! Thank you Anne Marie for stepping in! She spoke on Project#3 of the Competent Communicator, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Anne Marie took the Enthusiasm Award ribbon for filling in the speaking spot that very day!

The evaluation team –Donald, Gordon and Maryam—led by Karina Gaete Llanos highlighted the speakers’ strengths and weakness in an encouraging way, and offered specific suggestions for improvement.

Both members and guests had a good time. Meena, Grady and Eva enjoyed our meeting and highlighted the camaraderie and supportive environment of the club. Thank you Mina, Grady and Eva for attending our meeting! We look forward to welcoming you as members very soon!

Next Monday, February 4th, our club will host a special meeting: the Evaluation Contest. The meeting will be at the regular venue: at Coco’s Restaurant from 7:00 to 9:00pm. Be thinking about your participation in this contest! It will be fun!

Enjoy of a good week!

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