Our first meeting of 2017 was well attended and another great learning experience for all. President, Alan Magee, after opening the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance, made a few announcements about the upcoming International and Table Topics Speech Contests. Anyone from our Club who meets the criteria is invited to participate in one or both contests during either our January 19 or January 26 meeting. The winner is then eligible to represent our Club at the District Level contest on January 31. More info to come. Alan then introduced first-time Toastmaster, Andrea Miranda to run the remainder of the meeting. It was obvious by her confident command of the meeting that Andrea did her homework preparing for the TM role. After Andrea welcomed two brand new guests, Paige Kerr provided an interesting Word of the Day, "algid" and Anastasia Pass presented the Joke about a grandmother's love for her grandson's freckles. (You had to be there.) Andrea than handed the meeting over to the Table Topics Master, Crystal Reeves, who had a basket of resolutions for each participant to select and respond to as if it was their resolution. Everyone was grateful to Crystal for the very interesting resolutions and there were a variety of clever responses to new diet plan, new hobbies, getting organized and mountain climbing but first time guest, Rick Sostre, won Best Table Topics for his response to what pet he would adopt and why. He told a quick story about his girlfriend's cat that they're trying to potty train but then threw in the mix a ferrett and a monkey.
After a short but very social coffee break, compliments of Anastasia Pass, the speaking portion of the meeting was continued by Andrea. Vanessa Lane gave her 10th speech in the Competent Communication manual to inspire others, entitled "Giving Back". It was a quick snapshot of the ways she has served her community in the past, her regrets about not doing as much in 2016 as she had hoped and her resolve to do more in 2017. She was particularly motivated by a new charity that she recently learned about and gave us all a call to action as she related the inspiring story about a group of nuns in downtown Atlanta who have dedicated their lives to the poor for over 40 years. Reza Shah offered Vanessa several positive comments about her relaxed style and inspiring content. Our second speaker, John Calloway, gave his first speech known as an icebreaker, which is a way for a new member to let us all get a brief glimpse of themselves. John opened by telling us the process he went thru decided on what to tell, including eliciting advice from his father, a former Toastmaster, who told him to keep it simple. John told us little snippets of his life from a young boy thru to today and his reasons for joining Toastmasters. In Alan Magee's evaluation, he noted that not only did John not rely on any notes, but he was engaging, had excellent body language, maintained outstanding eye contact, interjected humor and cleverly used a phrase "I could tell them that" to move thru his life facts and connect intro, body and close. It was hard to believe this was his first speech. Vanessa Lane won Best Speaker and Alan Magee Best Evaluator. Andrea then turned the meeting over to GE, Jim Owen, who called for Darbie Saunders' Timer report and Paige Kerr's Ah/Gr report. He then gave high grades to the speakers, evaluators, Table Topics Master as well as the entire meeting, especially how well Andrea did as first time TM. Andrea then presented the awards and invited all 3 guests to give their thoughts about the meeting. High fives all around and not only is Brittany interested in joining but Rick Sostre and Tina Brown expressed interest in coming again. Meeting was adjourned on time. Be watching for more info on the opportunities to participate in one or both of the upcoming speech contests. See you next week!