Fast Forward/Rewind – September 17, 2021

Our venerable President, Kelsey Long, opened this week’s meeting with remarks about the public perception of being a Toastmasters member. She noted that even though we, as members, find it commonplace to hone our speaking skills at each weekly meeting, most people tend to be impressed and even awed by the courage and dedication involved with practicing public speaking. Kelsey then noted that, although many people are becoming more aware of the systemic racism in our country’s history, real change has not yet materialized, so we cannot let up on the work involved with gaining equality for all. After our usual minute of silence in acknowledgment and support of the Black Lives Matter movement, Kelsey turned the meeting over to the Toastmaster, Dave Burr.

We had ten members and one guest, Arintha Latimer, in attendance, and Dave started off by having all attendees introduce themselves and tell the group about their favorite candy. From Snickers to Swedish Fish, there was no clear winner in that category as each person voted for a different sweet. Dave then shared the Word of the Day, which was “icebreaker.” Although in Toastmasters the word icebreaker usually refers to the introductory speech given by a new club member, Dave gave us some insights into the nautical definition of the word. Just as a ship must be specially built to break through the thick layers of ice and help create a path for other ships through those waters, an icebreaker speech is specially crafted to break into the Toastmasters educational pathway and pave the way for future growth and learning along that pathway. We were gifted with such a speech today by our first speaker and newest club member, Kerstin Haase.

Kerstin presented her first prepared speech as a Sunrise Toastmaster, a Level 1 Icebreaker project in the Presentation Mastery pathway. In her speech titled “Farm Life Comes Full Circle,” Kerstin wove charming anecdotes and lessons learned growing up in a large farm family into her current life experiences with her own husband, children and career. Her descriptive and entertaining speech allowed her audience to feel the genuine affection Kerstin has for those memories of growing up on the farm and the “power of laughter” that has carried through her life. Her evaluator, Tim Murphy, remarked on how so much of an icebreaker speech depends on preparation and enthusiasm, and Kerstin had that in spades. Tim noted that her connections definitely captured the attention of her audience and that he, like all the other members in attendance, looks forward to hearing her future speeches. Congratulations, Kerstin, on an excellent icebreaker!

Our second speaker, Amelya Black, presented a Level 2 project on Introduction to Toastmasters Mentoring in the Dynamic Leadership pathway. Amelya shared stories she learned from her mentor, Wilky, about video shooting and film production. Her learning in that field spanned over a decade, and Amelya remarked on the empathy and easy going attitude that she felt made Wilky a good mentor. Using easy to understand descriptions of the processes involved, and personal stories of accomplishments and setbacks, Amelya drew in her audience and took us all on her journey as a video production apprentice. Norris Bass served as her evaluator, and mentioned some particular elements of Amelya’s talk that he found especially appealing. Norris also remarked on how well organized the speech was and noted that the details Amelya used really added to the interest of the presentation.

Anu Parvathaneni served as Table Topics Master, and challenged the group with a variety of question topics. Our members were up to the task, reminiscing about childhood picnics, predicting the future demise of pickleball, envisioning conversations with canines, proposing marriage via friends, and digging on musubi.

Summer Murphy served as the General Evaluator, and gave a thorough review of the meeting, especially noting the need for quiet during the one minute group feedback time for speeches, and a couple of best practices to work toward for speech evaluations.  Kelsey was the Timer this week, and delivered times for each prepared speech, Table Topics response, and speech evaluation, noting that every person who spoke did so within the allotted times today. Angela Marsh, serving as Grammarian, observed that filler words and phrases were quite absent in the prepared presentations, but had popped up during the impromptu speaking roles. She also noted two powerful phrases used by Kerstin and Amelya respectively during their talks: “The values of growing up on a farm will carry you through life,” and “Do what you love and you’ll love what you do.”

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

Next week’s meeting will be at 7 am, September 24 EST on Zoom. The roles for that meeting are as follows:

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

Join us at the next Sunrise Toastmasters meeting where icebreakers are the first step toward becoming a more skilled speaker and more confident leader (rather than a strong pointy ship, which is also very cool, but not really what we do).