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.