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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Sandy Springs 12-1-16 Toastmasters Meeting Recap

It was a great meeting today thanks to our awesome club members, several filling multiple roles! Our Sergeant-at-Arms, Bud Otto, had the room all set-up and started the meeting on time and with the Pledge of Allegiance. He then turned the meeting over to the President, Alan Magee, who shared a funny Thanksgiving story about his 9-year old nephew's recently adopted passion for sports.  He also told the group about the Table Topics contest that a Buckhead TM club is having on Monday, Dec. 5, 6:30pm-8:00pm and we should be on the lookout for his email to the group with more info. Alan reminded us that next week's meeting will just have a Table Topics session followed by a holiday breakfast and social. Bring your appetites and plan to join us for food, fun and good conversation.  Lastly, Alan encouraged all of us to decide on the TM goals we each want to accomplish in 2017 and to let Michael McConnell, Anastasia Pass or Alan know how they can help you achieve them.
Next, our multi-tasking Toastmaster, Darbie Saunders, who also provided the coffee, reviewed and filled missing roles and then selected the Word of the Day, "elixir".  One of our newest members, John Calloway, treated the members to a very well presented bar joke about complimentary nuts! Awesome. Darbie then turned the meeting over to Jeremiah Jones, Ti/V, who also volunteered to be the TT Master.  Jeremiah employed a new app to help inspire creative responses called Oblique Strategy.  Short phrases and questions appeared on the app for each participant and they were not easy-peasy, e.g. words need changing, repetition is an example of change, do we need holes?  As often happens, our guest of the day, Monica Russell, won Best Table Topics for her response to what is consistently inconsistent - "tiny humans"! Awesome.
After a quick coffee break - again compliments of Darbie and even served with her very nice carafe from home - the speaking portion of the meeting started.  The first speaker, Catherine Lautenbacher, gave her 10th and final speech in the CC Manual entitled "Your Community is Awesome".  A self-described vagabond in early years, now a 17-year resident of Dunwoody, she explained ways we could and should find out information about our community, how to participate in our community and how to find the fun in our community.  She closed by restating the title of her speech and inspiring us with a call to action by saying, "now go find out why".  Crystal Reeves gave her 2nd speech in the Advanced Communicator Entertaining Speech series entitled "There's More."  She explained that just as she had begun celebrating earning her TM Competent Leader certificate, she came across another communication with tips on how to be an ultra successful leader.  She entertained us with examples of leadership from her personal experiences and facts about Napolean to reinforce the point that just as you think you've reached a pinnacle, there's always more to learn.  Steve Bragg evaluated Catherine's speech with a very detailed and non-book report style evaluation, first pointing out the strengths of her presentation then offering her a few concrete ways she might have tried to improve it, e.g. using your voice like a megaphone to advertise best points; and then he closed with another gracious compliment.  Vanessa Lane took a page out of Steve's book by giving Crystal an evaluation utilizing the same formula - positive feedback first, possible ways to strengthen in the middle, and closing with high-fives.  Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. It was clear that Bud Otto, the Ah/Gr, was listening from the gitgo because his report gave us a good accounting of how many times we used crutches, e.g. "like", "so", "you know", "um" and "ah" in either our TT response, speech or evaluation. Bravo. Congratulations to Catherine who won Best Speaker and Steve who won Best Evaluator.  The General Evaluator, Anastasia Pass gave a quick and glowing overview of the entire meeting and if giving a grade, it would be an "A".  Awesome all around.  Everyone was again reminded to bring their Leadership and Communication manuals to each meeting to get signed for filled roles and to document speeches.  The manuals are also excellent resources to prepare us for roles and speeches and move us through both TM tracks.  Don't forget to bring your appetites to the next meeting!  See you then.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Sandy Springs Nov. 17 2016 Toastmasters Meeting Recap

We had a very unusual meeting today. Our meeting room was changed due to another meeting in our regular room.  We had a guest from our TM District headquarters and had 3 additional guests!  We also had only one speaker and so the meeting was shorter than usual as well.  But as always, it was a lot of fun and much was learned.  Jeremiah Jones, Toastmaster, opened the meeting with the pledge of allegiance and then introduced the VPE, Anastasia Pass, who reminded everyone to bring their communication and leadership manuals to all meetings and to also read the interesting and helpful articles in the monthly TM magazine that members receive. Anastasia also introduced the guest from our Area office, Marianne Gudina, who then spoke to the audience about the upcoming speech contests and the Pathways program.  More information will be forthcoming to members about both of these items.  Jeremiah then introducted the Table Topics Master, Jim Owen, who went through a series of questions to members and guests related to Thanksgiving.  One of our guests, Lisa Borowsky, won Best Table Topics response.

Reza Shah gave a speech on the Get to the Point speech and emphasized the importance of being succinct and honest in our daily conversations.  In Andrea Miranda's evaluation, she encouraged Reza to maintain stronger eye contact, add more details, meet the time limits of the given project and also stated how she liked how he pounded the podium to emphatically make a point.

After Vanessa Lane gave her General Evaluation, comments from the guests were solicited and the meeting was adjourned.  We will not be having a meeting on Thanksgiving Day.  Our next meeting will be Thursday, Dec. 1.  At our December 8th meeting we will only have Table Topics session and then have a holiday breakfast.  Our last meeting for 2016 will be Thursday, December 15, resuming on January 5th.  Happy Thanksgiving to all!