Fast Forward/Rewind – October 22, 2021

Our mindful President, Kelsey Long, opened this week’s meeting by acknowledging the passing of Four Star General and former US Secretary of State, Colin Powell. Kelsey asked us all to remember that it is not enough that some black people get into positions of power, as the systems of oppression in our country still exist, even if some people manage to rise above them. She then led us into our usual minute of silence in acknowledgment and support of the Black Lives Matter movement before turning the meeting over to this week’s Toastmaster, Tim Murphy.

Tim’s word of the day was “inconceivable” which, for all you Princess Bride fans, does not mean what you think it means. We had eleven members in attendance, and Tim asked each of us to introduce ourselves and share something that we felt was inconceivable about Toastmasters. Several people expressed that before joining Toastmasters it was inconceivable that they would be able to speak comfortably in front of a group without being nervous, while a couple of our more seasoned Toastmasters claimed it was inconceivable that they would still be involved with the club after so many years. Perhaps the most heartwarming answers were the ones that centered around the friendship and camaraderie that seem to form inconceivably fast among the members of our club.

Alvin Powell presented the first prepared speech of the day, a talk focused on implicit bias and the ways in which it affects the lives of people in our country, specifically in terms of healthcare inequities. Alvin began with a tale of his “liberal” neighbor’s surprising reaction to a person of color that the neighbor’s unconscious bias caused him to perceive as a threat. Alvin explained that implicit bias is present in everyone and is shaped by our experiences and interactions. Giving concrete examples of the ways in which this unconscious bias has damaged healthcare outcomes for racial minorities, Alvin made his audience realize that implicit bias can have real life or death consequences. Alvin closed by urging us all to take a look at our own biases and stop to think before we allow those biases to form our reactions to situations. His evaluator, Norris Bass, complemented Alvin on his audience awareness, clarity and vocal variety. He also noted that Alvin’s speech was centered on a tough topic, but that he was obviously very knowledgeable and comfortable with the subject matter.

Our second speaker, Kelsey Long, presented a Level 2 speech from the Innovative Planning pathway titled “Te Amo Peru.” In her talk, Kelsey described her college trip to Peru and her observations of an unexplained wonder in the desert there. Known as the Nazca Lines, there exist huge pictures made thousands of years ago by people scraping aside red desert rocks to reveal the white sand below. Kelsey explained how these pictographs are so monumental they can only be seen from the air; even standing atop the nearby mountains will not reveal the full pictures. Her amazement at this phenomena and her appreciation for the privilege of witnessing it came through in Kelsey’s enthusiastic and descriptive presentation. Her evaluator, Nereida Sutton, observed that Kelsey’s speech was well prepared and presented and that she did a great job of keeping her audience’s attention. Nereida also remarked that listening to Kelsey’s speech made her want to visit Peru!

Amelya Black served as Table Topics Master, and challenged our members with questions drawn from current news articles. We all enjoyed listening to the responses on topics ranging from alternative uses for fungi to scary Halloween movies, and we were all happy to learn that Savannah Murphy is reducing her carbon footprint by not flying on a giant rocket into space.

Kerstin Haase served as the General Evaluator, and gave a thorough review of the meeting, including a reminder of how important the written evaluation forms are and how much they mean to the speakers who receive that written feedback. Summer Murphy was the Timer this week, and reported on times for the prepared speeches, Table Topics responses and speech evaluations. John Doggett, serving as Grammarian, observed that we all still need to continue working on speaking without filling pauses with ums and ahs.

The next Sunrise Toastmasters meeting will be at 7 am, October 29 EST on Zoom. 
The roles for that meeting are as follows:

Toastmaster: Kerstin
Speakers: (1) Tim, (2) Nereida
Table Topics: Norris
Gen. Evaluator: Savannah
Evaluators: (1) Dave, (2) Kelsey
Timer: Alvin
Grammarian: Summer

Join us at Sunrise Toastmasters where it is inconceivable that our members would not find a safe and encouraging space to improve their communication competence and develop their leadership skills.