Meeting 853 - Music

Another online meeting (No. 853) is done and dusted. We had two ill members and two others having problems with their internet connection. Nevertheless, for those of us present last night, this was another rewarding meeting.

Congratulations to those members who had some “first-times” and who did such a fabulous job:
Rupa: First-time Meeting TM
Kumar: First-time Speech Evaluator
Pete: First-time Round Robin and first-time Timer.

Best Table Topic: Clare Miller
Best Evaluator: Stephen Cate
Best Speaker: not awarded

Meeting 852

Last night we held meeting 852, the fourth on these surreal times of Covid-19. One of the (many) things we learn in Toastmasters is to be flexible and resilient. A handy skill to have for our new way of holding meetings and the challenges technology throw at us — microphones not working, losing internet connection and suchlike.

Yesterday, we had 13 members connected, enough for a Quorum. This was handy because, as required in the first meeting of May, we elected a new committee to guide our club in 2020–2021.

The members responsible to guide us next Toastmaster year are:
President: Clare M
VP Education: Rajesh M
VP Membership: Sahi S
VP Public Relations: Stephen C
Treasurer: Patti K
Secretary: Daniel I
Sgt-at-Arms: Yaseen M

Congratulations to all those elected.
Word of the Day for the meeting was: Spontaneous. Hamed introduced it to us, with the exact definition and some examples of its use. Following on Hamed’s introduction of the WOD, he presented us with four wonderful Table Topics. The speakers all responded to the challenge, not only giving a definitive answer to the questions but also presenting an interesting point of view.

The topics were evaluated by Daniel I.

It was during the toilet break that we had the biggest challenge of the evening. Our Meeting Toastmaster Sahi S, who up until that moment had been doing a Stirling job, lost the connection to the meeting. She was able to connect later with her phone but only with voice and without visual.

As VPE and one of the most experienced members in the club, I usually give myself minor roles so, if needed, I can step in on any vacant role. Thus, I stepped in to get the meeting moving. Sahi will soon have a chance to do the role again.

The speakers for the night were Kumar B, Rajesh M, and Jacquelene B. The speech topics and the style and personality of the speakers were varied and different.

We often say in our meetings that Toastmasters is a lab where you can test different things and how they work for you. Such was the case with Kumar’s speech last night. He is doing project 2 of Level 1 and was reprising his first speech of the project. His evaluator had recommended him to use more pauses to give the audience time to absorb what he’s telling us. So, Kumar did. This time the recommendation was that the pauses were too long and that he had lost a bit of the energy present on his first delivery. Which also goes to show that no behaviour is the best at all times and all situations. It is incumbent on us, speakers, to find out what works for us, in what context and in what measure. The more we speak, the better we learn this.

The second speaker was Rajesh M. With this speech Rajesh finished Level 2 of his Path. He spoke about mentoring and how they can influence our lives for the better.

The third speaker was Jacquelene B. Jacquelene is working on the Competent Communicator award, part of our Legacy Program. Because of a combination of work commitments and health issues she had been delayed in finishing the award. Now, she is on a hurry to finish it before TMI’s deadline of 30 June 2020. She gave speech 8 of this program, “Using visual aids”. She gave a wonderful speech about her love of books, using books as visual aids.

The Watchdog reports were presented by Golsa (Harkmaster), Hamed (Word of the Day and Grammarian), Pete M (Grunt counter) and Yaseen (Timer). The reporters did their job with the usual efficiency and at times some humour. These roles may be “minor” in the sense they don’t take much time but they are vital information and an occasion to speak to inform.
Stephen Cate carried out the General Evaluation in his usual friendly and positive way, with a big smile on his face. Thanks, Stephen for your kind comments and positive recommendations.

The awards, as voted by those present, were:
Best Table Topic: Rupa
Best Speaker: Kumar
Best Evaluator: Patti

Meeting 853 will be held on 20 May and you can find the Agenda attached. Please, do look for what roles you have assigned, so there are no surprises on the day. Also, look at the forward program which shows tentative roles for the following three meetings.

On this meeting, we will be reintroducing the Round Robin, which we had left aside while we settled on our online meetings. Pete M will be the Round Robin Master. On the following meeting (854) we’ll reintroduce the Thought of the Day.

Meeting 851

Last night we held our third online meeting. I am one of those who think that “in-person” meetings are far superior to online meetings and, nonetheless, I must admit I am glad we have continued our activity online. In these times of social isolation and fear of the invisible enemy (Covid-19), having seen and heard 16 fellow toastmasters and guests has been like a caress to my soul. Thank you all for being there.
We had present 12 members, two guests Venkat and Ganesh, two visitors from other clubs Moenika (Aeerospeakers) and Craig (City of Greater Geelong), for a total of 16 people online.

Clare M was the Meeting Toastmaster and she discovered two advantages to online meetings. First, she could not have attended an “in-person” meeting as her partner was not home and she had to mind the children. Second, when her toddler refused to sleep she managed to quickly look after her needs and return pronto to the meeting. An unsuspected silver lining to online meetings!

Most important of all, Clare directed the meeting with her usual affability and efficiency.

Golsa A presented us with four Table Topics. Not only were the topics interesting and challenging, but they also left enough room for the speakers to shine while answering them.

The Topics were ably evaluated by Sahi, who did the job for the first time and went on to win the award for Best Evaluator. Congratulations, Sahi.

After the toilet/stretching break, we resumed with three riveting speeches. Yaseen was first with “Pandemics — Destroyer of Humankind”. A meticulously researched and prepared speech about the history of pandemics and their effect on humanity. Kumar was second with “Can an illiterate person be a mentor?” This was really close and personal; a very touching personal story of the influence his illiterate mother had on Kumar’s life. Third and the last speaker was Nirupama (aka Rupa to friends and fellow TM). My memory fails me and I can’t remember the title of Rupa’s speech. To make matters worse my nbn modem failed during her speech and I was without an internet connection for 2-3 minutes, so I can’t tell you much more about her speech. But, what I can indeed tell you is that with this speech Rupa has now completed Level 1 of her Path. A round of applause, please, for Rupa on her achievement!

The speeches were evaluated by Daniel (that’s me!), Stephen, and Elena. They offered the speakers encouragement for all the things they did well and appropriate suggestions for improvements and challenges.

The watchdog reports were done by Patti (Harkmaster, Word of the Day, and Grammarian) Hamed (grunt counter), and Elena (timer). Well done to you all!

Rajesh conducted the General Evaluation, with feedback to all those who haven’t had some. It is important we all reflect on what we are doing and how we are doing it and make a balance sheet of what are our strong points, what and how we can do better. Rajesh did just that; he gave us his opinion on the meeting and what we can learn from it.

After the General Evaluation and because we had some time, we did a Round Robin with the subject “what is the last book you have read”. We wanted to experiment how to do it online as we’ll soon reintroduce this segment.

Before closing the meeting, Venkat, Ganesh, Moenika and Greg (our guests and visitors) talked briefly about their thoughts on the meeting.
Awards for the meeting, as voted by those present:
Best Table Topic: Stephen
Best Speech: Kumar
Best Evaluation: Sahi

Next meeting is next week, as yesterday was the fifth Wednesday of the month, and it will be a special meeting as we’ll have a Business Session in which we’ll elect club officers for the new TM year 2020-2021 commencing on 1 July. Why do we elect club officers in May when they will only assume office in July? Because if we elect them in May they can be trained in June and take office fully trained in July.

Any member in good standing (i.e., financial) can stand for election. The vacant positions are:
President: Leads the club and represents it at District events.
VP Education: in charge of the educational program and of providing members opportunities for their development; also represents the club at District events
VP Membership: Looks after membership issues, mainly providing info to guests on how to join the club and cost involved
VP Public Relations: Looks after the club website and Facebook page
Treasurer: Takes care of club finances, collects membership fees from members, pays memberships to TMI
Secretary: Takes minutes of meetings, assist VPE as Base Camp Manager
Sgt-at-Arms: In our “in-person” meetings sets up the room, greets members and guests, counts the votes to elect Best TT, Best Evaluator, and Best Speaker.