We were a full house this morning, complete with five guests who risked certain death to check out what might cause otherwise normal people to assemble at Harmony Hall at the crack of dawn. The answer, of course is that Morningstars meet to confront their fear of death, otherwise known as public speaking.
And have a helluva good time in a process that never seems to end.
Start your day right was the theme for our breakfast meeting, but it’s true every week on Wednesday mornings for members of Morningstars Toastmasters Club.
The GE Maintains the High Watch
As the General Evaluator of the meeting, I’m meant to keep my eyes and ears open in aid of presenting an end-of-meeting report. The G.E. is generally expected to evaluate those presenters who haven’t so far haven’t received feedback. But I prefer to comment on the big picture, to assess the success of the meeting as a whole. What are we doing right, and how can we pull up our socks?
I like this role because it obliges me to view the proceedings with a soft focus. Someday I might attend with eyes shut entirely. And why not? I know artists who insist they see better in the dark.
Here’s my impressionistic recall of this morning’s Open House Breakfast Meeting:
GUESTS! We love guests!
With guests in the room, presenters are mindful to explain their roles. Guests bring fresh energy. Members are on their best behaviour, making an extra effort to be at the top of their game. I suppose that watching the meeting through the eyes of our guests might make us extra conscious.
THE TOASTMASTER, Captain of the Ship
With a packed room, commanding everyone’s attention is a challenge, and I thought Sandy Wrightman did a masterful job. When someone entered after the meeting had begun, I watched Sandy successfully incorporate the hiccup into her banter, and I knew we were in good hands for the next hour and fifteen minutes.
It’s a joy to see how members have grown into confident speakers. And it doesn’t happen overnight or even a year. It takes years for the confidence to quietly build, as it has for Sheila Cameron who kicked off the meeting with her “Inspiration” for the theme, and her toast to Starting the Day Right With Self Care. Thank you, Sheila, you are an inspiration.
And thank you, Merrilee MacGregor, for a speech that taught us how to psych our way around/through/past the growing number of con artists in our midst. You’ve come a long way in a short time as a Morningstar.
And kudos to Michael Worsfold for a speech on mentorship. Personal stories never fail to make a memorable speech, and Mike showed us how with his memories of being mentored through his first few years in Toastmasters.
It’s a good feeling, hanging out in the presence of people who have the courage to confront their fears. Nowhere more obvious than during Table Topics. When I watch an impromptu speaker accept the challenge, it’s vicarious excitement for me, too. It proves beyond a doubt that the reason we show up every Wednesday morning is to grow.
MORNINGSTARS IS A TRAINING
This morning’s meeting, that’s what it felt like to me, like a training. With eyes half-closed, I could feel the sincerity of members showing up to continue the training. Many of us have been members for years, and we’re still learning.
SEE YOU NEXT WEEK!