Fast Forward/Rewind for August 6, 2021

Our venerable president, Kelsey Long, opened this week’s Sunrise Toastmasters meeting by noting that it is a “different kind of Happy Hour,” with less alcohol but much more interesting and uplifting discussions. She also noted how proud she is of our group for consistently choosing humanity and compassion in the struggle against inequality and oppression before leading us into our usual minute of silence in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. This week’s meeting was attended by eleven members plus two guests, Nereida Sutton and Kerstin Haase.

Angela Marsh  was our Toastmaster this week, and she chose “feedback” as the word of the day. She asked what word would come to mind if she approached us and said she wanted to discuss some feedback for the group. Everyone put their responses in the chat, and Angela later noted that at least half were not positive connotations. She took that opportunity to remind us all that receiving feedback gives us an opportunity to grow, and shared a few tips to make feedback more well-received.

Dustin Johnson gave a talk from the “Researching and Presenting” part of the Dynamic Leadership pathway. Taking to heart feedback from fellow member Savannah Murphy, Dustin based the speech on his own values and viewpoints rather than drawing from the advice of his favorite coaches and authors. He shared with the group 5 strategies he uses to start off each day on a path to success, with a couple of approaches specific to preparing for Toastmasters speeches. Nereida Sutton gave her first speech evaluation, noting that Dustin’s manner of speaking was very clear and deliberate, and he really took his time in getting his points across.

Our second speaker was Dave Burr, who shared a very personal speech on reconnecting with his brother after 15 years with no contact. Dave did an excellent job describing the confusing, frustrating and hopeful position he and his sister find themselves in as they prepare to possibly rekindle a long-lost relationship. His talk was very relatable as he noted that many families have been fractured due to the pandemic lockdown, and disagreements on politics, vaccinations, etc.  We all wish Dave the best of luck as he approaches the reunion trying to remain “open-minded and open-hearted.” Tim Murphy evaluated his speech, expressing the group’s sentiment that we all were grateful that Dave shared this personal struggle with us. He also noted that the speech, while containing some “stream of consciousness” elements, was well-planned and skillfully delivered.

John Dogget served as Table Topics Master for the first time this week. He employed images through a shared screen to prompt his Table Topics questions. Each participant was shown a photo taken on John’s farm, and asked to tell about the image or tell what the person or animal in the photo is thinking. We had many creative answers, including dogs complaining about having to watch the golf channel, and a cow planning her big escape. Thanks to John for a set of Table Topics questions that not only invoked fun and clever answers, but also gave us a glimpse into his life on the farm.

Summer Murphy led the evaluation portion of the meeting, calling first for the speech evaluators to give their talks before noting the strengths and areas of improvement she observed during the meeting as a whole.  Kelsey Long stepped in again as timer this week, reporting on the times for each speech, Table Topics response and evaluation.  Savannah Murphy, in the role of Grammarian, pointed out that a few speakers used some filler words, but the two prepared speeches were very clean.

As always, the meeting wrapped up right at 8 am, with everyone appreciating the personal connectivity in this particular Sunrise Toastmasters meeting.

Next week’s meeting will be at 7 am, August 13 EST on Zoom. The roles for that meeting are as follows:

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

Join us at the next Sunrise Toastmasters meeting for a chance to receive invaluable feedback that will help you improve your speaking and leadership skills!