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.