Fast Forward/Rewind August 20, 2021

Today’s meeting was jam packed with passionate speeches and challenging Table Topics. Our remarkable president, Kelsey Long, opened this week’s Sunrise Toastmasters meeting with an actual gavel (on loan from Tim Murphy) and shared that she has been trying to become more aware of Black history in our country. She noted that today, August 20, is the anniversary of the first landing of a slave ship in Virginia in 1619. She reminded us all that, although that was over 400 years ago, we still have mountains to move with regard to equality for our Black fellow citizens. As is our custom, Kelsey led our group in a minute of silence to consider what small stones we can push to help with moving that mountain, before turning the meeting over to the Toastmaster, John Doggett.

John took on the Toastmaster role for the first time today, presiding over 11 members. John started off by sharing the Word of the Day, which was “mantra,” and asking each member to introduce themselves and share a mantra they have. We had many uplifting responses from “just keep swimming” to “let that s*** go.” John also described how mantras help him go “just a little bit further” when he is running ultra marathons.

Savannah Murphy presented the first prepared speech of the day, a Level 3 Elective project on Using Presentation Software in the Effective Coaching pathway. In her speech titled “The Things We Do Not Owe,” Savannah applauded the women in today’s sports who are challenging traditional expectations. These heroes refuse to accept that athletes should not just give their all, but give things to which others have no right, such as their health, vulnerability and access to their bodies. Savannah explained how these female athletes’ statements and actions can be inspiring to girls and women who may be facing demands in their own lives for things they do not owe. Her evaluator, Angela Marsh, noted Savannah’s use of simple but powerful images added to the impact of her speech. She also remarked on how relatable the speech felt to those of us who aren’t Olympic athletes but still have similar challenges.

Our second speaker was Summer Murphy, who was also presenting a Level 3 Elective project. Her project was on Connecting With Your Audience in the Visionary Communications pathway. In a speech titled, “Pull, Don’t Push” Summer tackled the difficult subject of vaccine hesitancy as it relates to the Covid-19 vaccine. After going over some of the reasons that people are skeptical of the vaccine, Summer shared some tools to use when having conversations with people on the “opposite side of the vaccine fence.” These tools included active listening, acknowledging their fears, and providing only solicited feedback. Amelya Black evaluated her speech, mentioning that the topic was very timely and served as a good reminder to be open and non-judgmental when trying to talk with others, not just about the Covid-19 vaccine, but any controversial topic where you are wanting to have a productive conversation.

Dave Burr served as Table Topics Master, using sets of homophones, such as “holey, holy and wholly,” to prompt responses from participants. Most responses included more than one version of the homophone, with members remarking that they are glad they did not get deserted in the desert, and that you can’t beat a question about beets.

Kelsey Long gave a thorough review of the meeting as the General Evaluator, especially highlighting the excellent job done by John in his first role as the Toastmaster and admiring the way he works in stories and information about himself so that each of his roles is personalized in the best of ways.  Kerstin Haase served as timer for the first time this week, and delivered times for each prepared speech, Table Topics response, speech evaluation and the general meeting review. Great job, Kerstin! Tim Murphy, serving as Grammarian, observed that the speeches were both pretty clean, but he did catch a few filler words in the evaluation portion of the meeting.

As always, the meeting wrapped up right at 8 am. Congratulations to people who filled roles for the first time today: Kerstin Haase, and John Doggett.

Next week’s meeting will be at 7 am, August 27 EST on Zoom. The roles for that meeting are as follows:

Toastmaster: Amelya
Speakers: (1) Kelsey, (2) Anu
Table Topics: Nereida
Gen. Evaluator: Savannah
Evaluators: (1) Angela, (2) Karen
Timer: Dave
Grammarian: Norris

Join us at the next Sunrise Toastmasters meeting where our mantra is “Building confidence, leadership and communication!”