Fast Forward/Rewind – September 24, 2021

Our perceptive President, Kelsey Long, opened this week’s meeting with thoughts about the inequities of media coverage for missing persons of color as compared with missing persons who are white, and how that is a vicious cycle that perpetuates the fallacy of white lives as more valuable than black and brown lives. After our normal minute of silence in acknowledgment and support of the Black Lives Matter movement, Kelsey turned the meeting over to the Toastmaster, Tim Murphy.

We had eleven members in attendance, including the return of long time Sunrise Toastmasters member, Alvin Powell, and Tim started off by having all attendees introduce themselves and share what they want to get from being a Toastmasters member. In addition to improving their speaking pace and enunciation, our members are hopeful about becoming better leaders, reaching wider audiences, and enhancing their emotional intelligence. Tim then shared the Word of the Day, which was “truthiness,” defined as something that feels true regardless of facts or evidence. Tim introduced the concept of Bayes’ Theorem, a mathematical formula that changes the probability of an outcome with each new set of information received. He pointed out that, although the truthiness of beliefs may be hard to sway, we should be open to allowing our view to evolve as we gain new information about a subject.

One of our newest members, John Doggett, presented his first official Icebreaker, a Level 1 project in the Dynamic Leadership pathway. In his speech John introduced us to his life growing up as the 5th generation to own and work a farm in Summerfield, NC. Through his descriptive phrases we all got to meet John’s health-conscious mother and his dad, full of love and expectations, as well as his sisters and little brother. We all chuckled over his anecdotes about milk goats and contraband sugar cereal, and felt the frustrations of his challenges with maintaining the farm and being a dependable husband and father. His evaluator, Amelya Black, congratulated John on completing his Icebreaker project, which can be a scary and intense experience. She cheered his willingness to be open with the group in sharing his vulnerable times as well as his happier times. Amelya noted that his theme centered around an appreciation for the experiences that made him, as evidenced by his repeated quote, “I wouldn’t change that for the world.” We all look forward to hearing his future speeches and share in Amelya’s congratulations to John for a superb icebreaker!

Our second speaker, Savannah Murphy, presented a pocket speech titled “Something Old, Something New,” in which she shared with the group the story of her recent engagement to her partner, Bala. Savannah explained that, although she and Bala are already committed to a life-partner type of relationship, they do value the ceremony and ritual involved with announcing their intentions to each other out loud and in public. Savannah and Bala intend to make the ritual their own, questioning and adapting the traditions of engagement and marriage to suit them and their values. One example Savannah shared was that both she and her partner proposed to each other gave each other engagement rings. Kerstin Haase served as her evaluator, and mentioned how the ebbs and flows of Savannah’s talk made it especially appealing, noting that everyone in the audience was leaning in to follow her speech. Kerstin also remarked on how well Savannah did with the pace of the talk and her body language, and thanked her for giving us all an opportunity to reflect on whether traditions we take for granted make sense for us as individuals.

Kelsey Long served as Table Topics Master, and used the year printed on coins drawn from a bag as the basis for her topic questions. Our members related stories to the group about what happened during the year that showed on the coin Kelsey drew and then members voted on the truthiness of their story. Most members told true tales, but Alvin fooled many of us with his story about getting appendicitis while traveling and not wanting to stay and have surgery at the local hospital.

Anu Parvathaneni served as the General Evaluator, and remarked on the energy, enthusiasm and efficiency of the meeting.  Norris Bass was the Timer this week, and noted that each prepared speech and Table Topics response was delivered within the allotted time, but evaluations ran a bit long. Karen Rhodes, serving as Grammarian, observed that the group used very few filler words and phrases and several members had used the word of the day.

Our steadfast Treasurer, Dave Burr, reminds us that renewal dues must be turned in by September 30 to stay in good standing as a Toastmasters member.

The next Sunrise Toastmasters meeting will be at 7 am, October EST on Zoom. 
The roles for that meeting are as follows:

Toastmaster: Norris
Speakers: (1) Karen, (2) Kerstin
Table Topics: Angela
Gen. Evaluator: Dave
Evaluators: (1) John, (2) Anu
Timer: Summer
Grammarian: Savannah

Join us at the next Sunrise Toastmasters meeting where delving into the truthiness of our beliefs is just one of the ways we become more skilled speakers and more confident leaders.