08.08.2019 Weekly Window

During this week’s meeting Jonathan delivered a speech entitled “Flustered” in which he spoke about dealing with life when things don’t go according to plan. Asad spoke about how to achieve happiness, emphasizing the importance of developing human connections through active listening and “tell me more.”

Maxine served as Table Topics Master this week, prompting volunteers to finish the story beginning with “I have bats in my attic…” Karl convincingly constructed an entire ecosystem of interdependent organisms that must also be living in his attic to sustain an apex predator like the common bat, while Joann gave a dramatic performance in response to her terror that the bats in her attic might be the kind that feast upon blood.

  • Best Speaker: Asad
  • Best Table Topic: Joann
  • Best Evaluator: Loni
  • Word of the Day: alacrity

2019.08.01 Weekly Window

Despite being a light week in terms of turnout, members were treated with not one but two full-length speeches given today, including Tina’s first Icebreaker! Tina employed a unique method to teach us all more about herself by telling a story that illustrated several personal characteristics: the desire to plan ahead, the determination to be adventurous, and the ability to adapt when her carefully laid plans went awry. Fabulous job, Tina!

Asad spoke today, championing the importance of Risk Management. While we are all mostly fortunate to generally not have to think about risk probabilities and likely impact, Asad gave us all pause to think about the risks we regularly face and how we might be able to mitigate them.

  • Best Speaker: Tina
  • Best Evaluator: Joann
  • Best Table Topic: Allison
  • Word of the Day: fraught
Tina receiving her Icebreaker ribbon from Joann

2019.07.18 Weekly Window

Today was the first meeting where the role of Toastmaster-of-the-Day was pre-assigned. Having this crucial role filled ahead of time seemed to make things run more smoothly, and Twana did an exceptional job with the mantle. Not sure when you’re assigned to serve in this capacity? Check the Toastmaster-of-the-Day Assignments for July-Oct, 2019, and be sure to let VPE Sally know if you need to change to a different week.

Sally volunteered at the last minute to give a speech today, demonstrating how to begin the Pathways journey. This was a particularly helpful topic since not all new members have had the opportunity to sign up for Pathways. (If you need additional assistance, be sure to check out our guide to Getting Started with Pathways.)

Table Topics were a little different today as Loni tried a new format called “A 1000 Words,” a reference to the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words.” In this exercise, volunteers were given a copy of a photograph and asked to speak about it for 1-2 minutes. (Looking for additional variations on Table Topics?)

Viewing the photograph at right, Joann immediately picked up on what she described as a connection between animal and man, sharing a tender interpretation wherein it had been the boy’s intention to share food with the pigeons that flutter around him. She even anthropomorphized the birds as feeling “anticipation” for the food being given them by the boy they regard as “Big Bird.” Thank you for the delightful story, Joann!

In the left photograph, Twana described a group of girls skipping rope, the photograph conveying movement and childhood memories of fun days outside. She ascribed the complaint, “is it my turn, yet?” to the girl who is the lone onlooker and managed to relate the photograph to her own memories of childhood, making us all feel as though we knew her a little better by the end of her speech.

Sally surprised us all with a sultry Gabor-esque accent (dahlink) as she spoke in the first person from the perspective of the beautiful woman shown in the photograph at left, owning her place at the center of attention in any room she graces and refusing to apologize for her habit of smoking cigarettes.

Finally, Doug opened his table topic speech about the photograph at left by asking what one wouldn’t be willing to do for a picture with the perfect point of view, pointing out the photographer’s precarious position on the narrow ledge. He successfully leveraged this rhetorical question into commentary on differences in points of view in a more abstract sense.

  • Best Table Topics: Sally
  • Word of the Day: bedlam

2019.06.27 Weekly Window

We had an extra special meeting today, celebrating the 15th anniversary of Dawn first having joined Toastmasters, a momentous accomplishment. We celebrated with cake and strawberries! Congratulations, Dawn!

Usamah graciously fulfilled the role of Toastmaster-of-the-Day, selecting the theme “Happiness” and explaining that the root of the word — hap — means luck or chance. As our Grammarian, Joann opted to highlight the differences between the two related words, sympathy and empathy.

Loni gave a short presentation on the three main objectives of our web site: Recruiting, Member Recognition, and Information Sharing, along with a call to action for all members to consider ways they might contribute to the web site’s development. For those interested, the PowerPoint presentation is available for download here.

Asad joined our chapter and even delivered his Icebreaker speech, “Introduction to Me.” His introductory speech included advice to never stop learning and to use teaching others as a source of personal growth.

As our Table Topics Master, Karl borrowed inspiration from the recent live-action release of Disney’s Aladdin and asked volunteers to speak about the three wishes they would ask for, were they to encounter a magic genie of their own.

Christine volunteered first, explaining that she would forego the traditional wish for riches in favor of success for her son, good health, and world peace.

Boundless wealth? Eternal youth? World-wide understanding of Project Management? Decisions, decisions!

Asad didn’t let having delivered a full-length prepared speech deter him from participating in Table Topics today, wishing that his parents lived close to him, that everyone in the world should know Project Management (who wouldn’t wish for that?), and that he could take the genie up to heaven with him.

Joann used her three wishes to eliminate Houston traffic, add more green space to the city, and to have her own personal aircraft to commute to and from work (no doubt some of that green space would come in handy as a personal landing pad).

At the end of the meeting, Sally passed around a sheet with assignments for members to serve as Toastmaster-of-the-Day for upcoming meetings. Please be sure to check when your assigned meeting will be so you can feel comfortable and adequately prepared. And don’t forget that, as Toastmaster-of-the-Day, you get to select a meeting theme!

  • Best Table Topics: Asad
  • Most Improved Speaker: Asad
  • Best Evaluator: Sally
  • Best Speaker: Loni

2019.06.20 Weekly Window

This week, we had a tremendous turnout of long-time members and a number of visitors. We were also able to welcome Maxine back after a few months’ hiatus and welcomed Doug, a brand-new member! That means we still have three new- or returning-member prizes available to be claimed! Join or return today to win a beautiful wooden magnet in the shape of the great state of Texas, handmade by our Treasurer, Dawn!

Join or rejoin today to win a fabulous, handmade wooden magnet!

Joann served as our Toastmaster-of-the-Day, and while ordinarily quite upbeat, it was clear that she was feeding off the energy of the room today! For the benefit of our several guests, she outlined the basic structure of our meetings, leading us through an explanation of several of the weekly roles as the “dashboard of our rocket”! Stellar job, Joann!

As our Grammarian, Maxine introduced us to the word malapert, which seemed to be a big hit with those present, being used more than five times in today’s meeting!

Usamah delivered a speech entitled “My Wife’s Cancer Journey,” sharing an intimate glimpse into his wife’s cancer journey and giving us all pause to consider the use of warlike terminology — battle, warrior, fight — when we talk about cancer and cancer patients. Having given this speech will allow Usamah to complete the Competent Communicator manual, earning him the CC educational distinction. Congratulations, Usamah!

Loni filled the role of Topics Master, soliciting volunteers from the audience to speak extemporaneously on a number of topics.

One of our guests, Christine, was actually the first to volunteer, recounting how she dealt with the loss of her mother by crocheting a blanket. This was a lovely story humorously punctuated by an explanation that her blanket eventually got quite large since her mother had never taught her how to stop crocheting!

Rachel rejoined us today and related a responsibility she would prefer to permanently eschew while still acknowledging the odious task as a continued source of personal growth.

Doug didn’t let his status as a new member deter him from volunteering for Table Topics, speaking about his time with his wife in Brazil, learning Portuguese through non-traditional methods.

Finally, Dawn answered a question about the part of her job she most enjoys. She related the exhilaration she sometimes experiences during a work-crisis and explained that she takes pride in being able to make a difference in the clinical environment. She even gave a specific example of a dialysis report that has positively impacted patient outcomes.

Christine receiving the Best of Table Topics award from President Sally Boyd

Thank you to all of our members and guests who turned out this week. I hope you will be able to join us next week when I will be speaking on the ways we can all hopefully benefit from the utilities available through our new newish web site! (There’s still one speaker slot available, however!)

  • Best Table Topics: Christine