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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Sandy Springs Toastmasters Club 1-19-17 Meeting Recap

Our ever-faithful Sergeant-At-Arms, Bud Otto, after being out for a few weeks was back and had our room setup and organized to start the meeting on time with the Pledge of Allegiance.  Club President, Alan Magee opened the meeting by referring to the new issue of Toastmasters Magazine and encouraged all members to read the interesting articles and valuable tips throughout the monthly publication. He turned the meeting over to Anastasia Pass, the VP-Education as well as the Table Topics Contest Chair and TM.

Instead of the standard TT segment of the meeting and prior to the official club TT contest, Anastasia gave a presentation on Table Topics Contest rules, roles, responsibilities and procedures that we would employ at the club level and that we can expect at the next level of competition.  She went over the role of the Timers, Counters, Judges and Contestants. Resources and materials were previously circulated by Anastasia and Andrea Miranda, Contest Assistant.  Members are encouraged to review these materials, especially the tips and strategies for getting better at Table Topics responses.

After enjoying some hot coffee and fresh, yummy donuts, compliments of Reza Shah, the three contestants drew for order of competition, all those who had roles were given their forms & the contest began.  The brave contestants were Andrea Miranda, John Calloway and Alan Magee.  An excellent job was done by all who served in special roles.  Many thanks to Contest Assistant, Andrea Miranda; Judges, Bud Otto and Crystal Reeves (note that at next levels the identity of the judges will be confidential); and Timers/Counters, Reza Shah and Vanessa Lane.  Our newest member, Lisa Borowsky, presented the Word of the Day, "prevail" and also learned a lot about focus and good listening as she filled the Ah/Gr role for the first time.  We really appreciate that our guest, Tonya Woodrum, offered our club warm and very specific accolades.  The Timers/Counters carefully tallied the Judge's ballots and gave the results to Contest Chair who proudly announced the winner of the contest. Congratulations to Andrea Miranda who will be representing our Club at the Area Level Contest on Feb. 11 at Spelman College!  All members are welcome to attend the contest to cheer her on.

At our next meeting we will conduct the Club level International Speech Contest.  In order to qualify as a contestant for this speech contest you must be a member in good standing, in a club that is in good standing and you must have given at least 6 speeches from the Competent Communicator Manual. Right now, Alan Magee, Bud Otto and Steve Bragg are slotted to give speeches but anyone who meets the aforementioned criteria is welcome to give a speech.  Please contact Andrea Miranda, John Calloway, Anastasia Pass or Alan Magee if interested.  It was a great meeting and again, many thanks to all members who pulled it all together.

Hoping that Friday, January 20th everyone takes at least a moment to pause and contemplate one of the greatest American traditions, the Inauguration of the President of the United States.  We  should be so proud that we show the world how the peaceful transition of governmental power can happen. May God Bless the U.S.A.  See you next week.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Sandy Springs Toastmasters 1-12-17 Meeting Recap

Meeting was opened by Club President/fill-in TM, Alan Magee, telling in his raspy voice how he had attended the Clemson-AL game in Tampa and passionately cheered his Tigers to their W, adding that it was a once in a lifetime experience he'll never forget. We had 2 guests at our meeting - Lisa Borowsky and Frank Herron, who both bravely participated in Table Topics.  Word of the Day from Paige Kerr was "phlegmatic" and Paige might have been the only one to use it during the meeting. John Calloway volunteered to present the Joke which was an "old people's" story that you had to be there for.  Paige Kerr, also the Table Topics Master, opened with a story about the red solo cup, invented by Leo Hulseman. In the cup, Paige had placed several unrelated statements or unfinished sentences for members to select, e.g."junk food popularity relies on marketing", "the human quality we need more of is..." and "the world is a smaller space".  Anastasia Pass won for her singing response to several of the other member's topics, including It's A Small World, All We Need is Love and N-e-s-t-l-e-s - Nestles is the very best...
After a nice coffee break compliments of Steve Bragg, the TM, Alan Magee, continued with the speaking portion of the meeting by inviting the first Evaluator, John Calloway, to introduce the first speaker, Jim Owen.  Jim's speech, entitled "You Can Survive" was an informational presentation filled with tips and stats related to surviving catastrophic and life-changing events like plane crashes, hospital visits and birthdays.  He managed to make a not-so-upbeat topic interesting and thought-provoking.  It was John Calloway's first time as an Evaluator and he did an exceptional job pointing out very specific strengths of Jim's and gently suggesting that in future info speeches that Jim might think about weaving in some personal stories.  Crystal Reeves was the second Evaluator and she introduced the second speaker, Anastasia Pass.  Anastasia's speech was the first in the ACB Storytelling series and was entitled "How to Plan the Best Wedding Ever in Four Days".  It was the story of their fun and love-filled wedding presented as she would to her grandchildren.  In her evaluation, Crystal admitted that she was enjoying the story so much that she forgot to write down as many comments as she should have but did suggest to try and limit the number of characters so could develop them in more detail.  Darbie Saunders volunteered to be the GE.  She called for timer report from Jeremiah Jones who said all qualified, and Ah/Gr report from Andrea Miranda.  Andrea used her pen clicker to give immediate notice to participants who used crutches like "Ah, Um, So, You Know", etc. Her conclusion is that we all have more work to do to eliminate crutches when we speak. Darbie then gave her overall evaluation of the meeting and the roles.  She made the valid point that since we did not have a TM, that we might have a blank agenda in our files to use if this happens again.  Completing one would be very helpful to the volunteer TM and/or GE.  John Calloway won Best Evaluator and Jim and Anastasia tied for Best Speaker.  Guests, Frank and Lisa, gave very positive feedback and in fact, Lisa joined the Club during the meeting!
Before the meeting was adjourned, VPE, Anastasia Pass, asked for member consensus on the International and Table Topics Speech Contests.  While the group decided that speech contests could be January 19, in order to give more prep time, those who want to give speeches can do so on January 26 and anyone who wants to participate in the Table Topics Speech contest can do so at the next meeting on January 19th.  In order to arrange for the contest judges and other roles, we ask that all those interested in entering either the TT or Speech contest declare their commitment to Anastasia or Alan by end of day Sunday, January 15.  See you January 19th!