2019.09.26 Weekly Window

During the introduction of last week’s meeting, Loni gave a quick presentation on how to accept an award, including the following 5 steps:

  1. When possible, enter from Stage Left (House Right).
    This ensures the award giver will appear on the left side of any photographs that are taken. The left side is considered dominant.
  2. Make eye contact. Smile and shake hands.
    The human connection of accepting an award is very important and demonstrates graciousness and respect. By shaking hands before accepting the award, you ensure that your hands are placed comfortably.
  3. Accept award with your left hand.
    While maintaining the handshake, the award giver should extend the award to you with their left hand. Accept the award and hold it level so that it will be legible when photographed.
  4. Turn to the camera or audience. Smile.
    You won’t always be photographed, but you should acknowledge those who came to see your award acceptance.
  5. When possible, exit Stage Right (House Left).
    This is particularly important in situations where multiple awards are being given, as it helps to ensure that the previous recipient doesn’t collide with the incoming recipient.

Let’s hope that we all have more opportunities to accept awards with grace in the future!

This week was a very special occasion with Christine giving her Icebreaker speech, the very first speech of her first Pathway! She used her speech to rejoice in her status as a recent “empty-nester,” rejecting the negative connotations that are sometimes associated with the term and delighting in the benefits of having a home that was all her own. Asad delivered a warm and engaging speech about initiating communication styles, the first speech of level 2 of his current Pathway.

Thank you to everyone who turned out last week. We are still in need of a Toastmaster for next week’s meeting. I encourage everyone to please sign up in advance for a meeting role!

And with just a little bit of coaching, look how much better everyone did accepting their awards this week!

  • Best Speaker: Christine
  • Best Evaluator: DS
  • Word of the Day: burgeon

2019.09.12 Weekly Window

The theme of our September 12th meeting was “Planning for Success” which our Vice President of Education and Toastmaster-of-the-Day, Sally, sneakily managed to relate to The Pathways education program. As part of the meeting opening, Sally shared the following quote from Harvey Mackay with us:

She related the message of this quote to the success striven for and achieved by Houston native Ramona Smith, the 2018 World Champion of Public Speaking, emphasizing the safety and support that Toastmasters provides to members who want to take a risk and try something new.

Joann graciously stepped in as Table Topics Master at the last minute, using a creative variation where each volunteer picked up a copy of one of the Toastmasters monthly magazines, opened it to a random page, and spoke about the an idea therein.

  • Loni talked about having investigated what it takes to deliver a TED talk, sharing that — while she considered this type of speaking to be outside of her wheelhouse — she’s still determined to (eventually) take it for a spin.
  • Maxine spoke about her appreciation of the emphasis upon goal-setting within Toastmasters and how that’s made a difference to her.
  • Sally spoke about failure as a learning tool, not just for oneself but potentially for others, if you’re brave enough to share the lessons learned from your setbacks.
  • Joann gave a short speech about saying cheers around the world.

Thanks to everyone in attendance last week! We hope you can join us this Thursday for our weekly meeting, the theme of which will be “Accepting Appreciation Gracefully.” Loni will serve as Toastmaster-of-the-Day, and you can help out by signing up for a role here.

2019.09.05 Weekly Window

The theme of this week’s meeting was “Enjoy the Journey.” Joann fulfilled the role of Toastmaster-of-the-Day, opening our meeting by presenting a map of Seaborne Creek Park. She used the map’s “You Are Here” marker as a metaphor for appreciating one’s current circumstances instead of coveting something unattainable.

Loni delivered a speech from Level 1 of the Innovative Planning Pathway, speaking from experience about different strategies to survive a Timeshare Presentation without making a commitment to buy.

Asad delivered a speech about the project management concept of gap analysis, a method used to determine whether business requirements are being met and — if not — what steps should be taken to get from the current, inadequate state to the desired state.

Sally introduced a fun variation on Table Topics, asking each member or guest to write down words to represent each of the letters in a provided acronym. These words were passed along to another person, and volunteers were solicited to tell a story using all of the words on the page. D.S. stole the show with a story about teaching her then-teenaged son how to drive a stick-shift.

  • Best Speaker: Loni
  • Best Evaluator: Twana
  • Best Table Topic: D.S.
  • Most Improved: Asad
  • Word of the Day: adventure

2019.08.29 Weekly Window

In honor of Labor Day, the theme of our August 29th meeting was “Job Appreciation.” Allison graciously filled in as Toastmasters at the last minute, giving a short introduction about thankless jobs.

We were lucky enough to have two prepared speeches:

  • Asad delivered the first speech within level 2 of Dynamic Leadership: Understanding Your Leadership Style, in which he outlined the structure of a good project, including its timeframe, multiple people from different levels, and the end results produced.
  • Sally delivered a speech from level 3 of Presentation Mastery, entitled “Getting Started with Pathways” and encouraging members to print their projects ahead of the presentation to avoid technical glitches that can occur unexpectedly. Be sure to check out more Pathways-related content in Sally’s VPE Corner.

Usamah served as Table Topics Master for the day, using the theme “Perceptions” as inspiration for his prompts.

  • Sally spoke about the most valuable lessons she gained from her parents: Age and Experience.
  • Christine shared what most brings her joy working at MD Anderson, relating how much she appreciates seeing employees taking the time to help patients who seem to be lost or in need of assistance.
  • Asad spoke about what he most enjoys during his time off, sharing his recent use of apps to help organize his speeches and timing.
  • Allison shared the earliest time in her life that she could remember being thankful, relating information about the opportunities of her early childhood.
  • Best Speaker: Sally
  • Best Evaluator: Joann
  • Best Table Topic: Christine
  • Word of the Day: illustrious

2019.08.22 Weekly Window

Do you have an attitude of gratitude? Sally introduced this theme as our Toastmaster-of-the-Day, explaining the value of being able to find the silver lining, even when things aren’t going well. She told the story of deciding to go to lunch on a day that had been particularly trying, only to discover that her car had a flat tire. AAA was able to replace her tire and, because of her bad day prompting her to go out, she didn’t have a flat tire when she was already late (to her dancing class later that day).

In a day of firsts, Maxine gave her Dynamic Leadership path’s Icebreaker speech today, speaking about her “passion pyramid” — the things about which she is most passionate — as a way to let us get to know her better. Asad served as Evaluator for the first time, providing a constructive evaluation of Maxine’s speech. Congratulations to both of you!

Joann used today’s theme of gratitude and the Word-of-the-Day, resilience, as inspiration as Table Topics Master, asking Loni to speak about the person within the past year for whom she is most thankful. Usamah was asked to speak about an occasion in his life that has built his sense of thankfulness, which he responded to by speaking about his wife’s journey with cancer. Finally, Allison explained that she felt grateful toward her parents because of the opportunities she was afforded growing up.

We hope you will join us next week!

Maxine receiving her Icebreaker ribbon from Joann
  • Best Table Topic: Usamah
  • Word of the Day: resilience