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Spirited Speech Masters and guests honor Dr. Farzana Chohan

2019.08.15 Weekly Window

Karl served as Toastmaster at this week’s meeting, providing a warm introduction full of personality and a bit of perspective on what it’s like to turn 50 years old, a monumental event he’s celebrating with a 30+ mile run this weekend. Happy fiftieth, Karl!

This week, members were treated to two wonderful speeches from Asad and Sally. Asad delivered a research-based presentation about the Process Communication Model, focused around reframing communication from the viewpoint of the recipient (the person being spoken to) instead of the viewpoint of the speaker. Sally gave her final speech within level 5 of the Team Collaboration Pathway, sharing with us some of her experiences over the course of all five levels of progress. Congratulations on your path completion, Sally!

  • Best Speaker: Sally
  • Best Evaluator: Loni
  • Word(s) of the Day: ardent / argent

Grammar: Subjunctive Mood

In the English language, mood refers to the quality of a verb that conveys the writer’s (or speaker’s) attitude toward a subject. It can also be referred to as mode or modality. There are three major moods:

  • The indicative mood is used to make factual or declarative statements, such as “I leave at noon” or to pose questions, such as “Are you arriving soon?”
  • The imperative mood is used to express a request or issue a command, such as “Drive me to the store.”
  • The subjunctive mood is used to express a wish, hypothetical, doubt, or anything contrary to fact; such as “I wish I were a little bit taller.”

The past subjunctive mood is sometimes referred to as the “were-subjunctive” and is most easily recognizable as using the word “were,” usually in combination with “if” or “though.” Observe the difference between “was” (indicative) and “were” (subjunctive) in the following sentence:

[Her eye] was prominent, and showed a great deal of the white, and looked as steadily, as unwinkingly, at you as if it were a steel ball soldered in her head.

Charlotte Brontë, Shirley, 1849

And here’s a great video from Learn English with Papa Teach Me that teaches about the subjunctive mood in a fun and entertaining way:

Want more? Click here to read more about the major and minor moods in the English language!

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

Fall 2019 Toastmasters Leadership Institute

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend my first TLI — Toastmasters Leadership Institute — a three-hour workshop to orient chapter officers within their specific roles. The facilities at MD Anderson were spacious and comfortable, and I was grateful for the coffee and assortment of breakfast options that were provided by TLI. District 56 Director Kathy Kest provided a superb example of acknowledgement versus recognition during her opening statement, wherein she recognized two gentlemen who had gone above and beyond to help resolve an unanticipated issue with parking.

The TLI leadership team ran individual breakout sessions for each role, exemplifying servant leadership by generously sharing their expertise. They each helped attendees understand how we can help our chapters grow by fulfilling our individual officer roles. As the VP of Public Relations for Spirited Speech Masters, I attended the VPPR session lead by Rhonda Reeves, Director of Division M and the VPPR for Exxon-Mobile’s Innovators chapter. She presented a clever acronym she uses to represent the aims of a VPPR:

  • Promote
  • Raise Awareness
  • Attract Members
  • Increase Membership
  • Sustain the Brand
  • Engage the Community

The room of VPPRs was then divided into groups of four, and each group was charged with determining the How, When, Who, and What of our assigned aim. This style of self-generated content and learning was extremely effective, not only because it helped us to think through what we already knew (or could figure out together) but because we were getting to know one another better. I know I made a couple of connections I hope to have the opportunity to develop further.

Overall, I felt like I learned a lot, both about my role as VPPR and about Toastmasters in general (as a new-ish member, I was particularly grateful for the temporary embargo on Toastmasters acronyms). I would recommend TLI to any new officer, and hope to have the opportunity to attend the TLI in the Spring with even more of my fellow Spirited Speech Masters!

Area Q54 Council meeting, immediately following Saturday’s TLI
L to R: Sally Boyd, Joann Hester, Patricia Koch, and Diane Nino

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