Capture the Wind

Written by William, member of Morningstars and current Area 73 Governor.

The theme for the day was “Capture the Wind” and the meeting was ably chaired by Cathie, our Toastmaster for the day.

Word of the Day: Evocative

I always feel welcome walking into the Toastmasters meeting as our Sgt. At Arms, John greets me, shaking my hand and smiling.

Our new member, Judy Lynn carried out the Timer role for first time and while she said she felt challenged, she did an excellent job for her first role, ably assisted by her mentor Sandy.

We had a guest, Bonnie, who was invited by Johanna.

The Inspiration was given by Sheila, who quoted Mark Twain “It takes me a about 3 weeks to prepare an impromptu speech”.   Also, “20 years from now you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the things you did. Cast off the bowlines.” Sheila’s toast was “to our next 20 years”.

There were 3 speeches.

Johanna presented a speech from the Storytelling Advanced Manual and told a story about a trip she took to Murdochville, Quebec.  She demonstrated great facial expressions and vocal variety and inserted wonderful humour. She easily transported us into her story and put us in her pocket for the journey.

The 2nd speaker was Frank who spoke of our creative drives. It was his no. 2 speech in the Competent Communicator manual. Frank is colour blind and took up painting as a hobby, much inspired by an art teacher when he was young. He took us through the journey of his art education and what he terms “his scribbling”.

The 3rd Speaker was Sharon who presented a project from the Successful Club Series and provided insight into the DCP, the Distinguished Club Program. She explained the 10 areas of the program and presented it in a very expressive and enthusiastic style, finishing up with a challenge to the members “what part are YOU going to play in this program”? She emphasized that the program is very much a team effort that takes place each toastmaster year from July 1st to June 30th.

Excellent evaluations were given from Toastmasters Kate, Ben and William.

Kay provided the meeting with a joke that made the meeting erupt in laughter. She and Larry are vying for the title of “best joke teller” in the club.

Larry as General Evaluator provided feedback on the full meeting and provided his unique insights into the meeting and the roles with his usual good humour.

There was a lot of enthusiasm and “good cheer” in the meeting with a continuing sense of fun.   Another great Morningstars meeting.

What a great way to start the day.

Dec 10 we are having a special open house… with treats! All are welcome.

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Theme, Tone and Inspiration: Made Alive

Made Alive was the theme.

Laughter and fun was the tone.

Growing and risking was the inspiration. Thanks, Larry.

Our last minute chair, Sandy, didn’t look at all unprepared as she stepped in to replace the designated chair who was  called away at the last minute. She handled last minute changes in the agenda with humour and grace and carried on like a pro.

Sheila did a repeat of her Tall Tale in preparation for the Division contest this Sat. Well done, Sheila.

Frank, who recently became a Distinguished Toastmaster, began the whole cycle over again by doing his Icebreaker speech, the very first speech that all of us give when we join.

Three of our guests from last week returned and are taking the plunge into the world of Toastmasters. Welcome to the fun, Jolanda, Loretta and Judy Lynn.

Our General Evaluator, PJ, stepped back and observed the overall meeting with a ‘soft focus’ and gave us a really unusual and insightful perspective, including thoughts on the significance of the club banners and how people shake hands when coming to the lectern.

So many of the things we do in a meeting are only noticeable when they don’t happen. Otherwise, it’s just a beautiful flow of passing the ‘authority’ to each individual as they stand or come to the front for their speech or role. That is such an essential part of Toastmasters. Great observations PJ.

For anyone wanting some more inspiration for ‘growing and risking’, here are some quick videos from former World Champion, Darren La Croix.

1) Storytelling: What is an “inciting incident” and why do speakers need one? (3:55 min)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2prVzqaU2A

2) What is the difference between gestures and body language? (3:36 min)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyTYLI_hHfM

Welcome Back ~ New Beginnings

Welcome Back Kotter reminiscences. Amping up the energy by way of the can-can. Four very welcome guests. Two speeches and  a tall tales mini workshop. Name changes. References to the International Speech Competition.  Announcements about upcoming contests and our open house breakfast. Every chair filled.

Those are just some of the things that were part of our first meeting of the regular fall schedule. The theme was New Beginnings and there were lots of those.

Patricia inspired us with her invitation to real reality, not virtual reality, as she told us the story of one competitor in the finals of the International Speech Competition. His first lines were I don’t have a speech. What courage and heart he demonstrated as he talked about competition and perfection. He didn’t win, but no one will forget Chris Woo.

Johanna and PJ entertained with two speeches from the Entertaining Speaker Manual. PJ took us to the movies with Movies and the Meaning of Life. Johanna hooked us all with her tall tale, Keeping Gibsons Great. We suspected, but didn’t know for sure, that the four women in her story were not really in jail. She then followed up with a tall tales mini workshop in preparation for the contest on Sept 24.

Frank and William (who announced that he is now William instead of Bill) were excellent evaluators for the two speeches.

We all got an A for listening this morning as Greg, our Quizmaster, couldn’t stump us with his questions.

Sharon as Grammarian, Larry as Timer, John as Jokemaster, Kay as Table Topics Master and PJ and David as Table Topics Evaluators fulfilled their roles with aplomb.

The meeting was rounded out with Cathie presenting her comments and suggestions as General Evaluator.

Thank you to our guests Frank, Heather, Joanne and Kate. It was great to meet you.

Upcoming dates:

Sept 24 Tall Tales and Table Topics Contest
Oct 4 Area Contest for Tall Tales and Table Topics
Oct 8 Open House Breakfast ~ All Welcome

 

Cracking the Code

Many thought provoking ideas emerged today in our theme Cracking the Code. Here’s are just a few of them in an excerpt from a speech by Sheila.

I AM by Sheila Cameron

Have you ever been called weird? Were you told you were stupid? How about whiny? Hyperactive? Too talkative?

What about positive labels? Are you hilarious? Are you smart? Are you inspiring?

What feelings do we attach to the words we are labeled with? And how can we break free from the ones we don’t wish to wear?

Labels are silly. I’ve been called a lot of things by a lot of people in my life and I could argue that I am none of those things that people say. Or I could accept that maybe I am everything they say, and more. My all-time favourite label was when someone called me a blue whale. Whale is often perceived as a negative label but this was being gifted to me. I was being described as rare and beautiful, graceful, silent and submerged but with tremendous strength and surfacing power.

The worst thing I was ever called was normal and that was because it provided the recognition that I had succeeded at something I had spent my whole life trying to do—to fit in. To fit into the box, rather than to celebrate the unique person that I felt was hiding inside. Have you ever met a shy extrovert? I have. Or do you consider yourself more of an exhibitionist introvert?

Even though a person may tend more toward good or bad, scared or brave, optimistic or pessimistic, balanced or unbalanced, we are all actually a little bit of everything, and more importantly, we are capable of anything.

Here’s a method to try and get you started on your way to the labels you want to wear.  To create a vision/dream board, we envision what it is we want to do, where we want to go, who we want to be in our life. We paste some photos on our board (paper or poster board) that reflect how we feel and what we are yearning for. Next, we write out our statements.

And here is where the trick lies. Our statement beside the picture of the Eiffel Tower is not, “I want to go to Paris.” Our statement is “I am going to Paris.” The same process can be used with labels. I AM…fill in the blank. We display our vision board in a prominent place and we look at it often. This is effective because we’re consciously choosing the thoughts we want to put into our subconscious until they become reality.

So let me ask, Who are you? And who do you want to be? Cast off those labels that don’t serve you anymore. Label yourself something new.

 

Newsworthy

A shout out to two members of Morningstars club for their articles published in the District 21 (all of BC) newsletter The Link.

First up is In Your Hands, Under Your Feet by Frank Caldicott. I was there the day he delivered this speech, and anyone would agree he is a speaker with a lot to say. His article reminds us of the power of being a Toastmaster and that we never know what effect the words we speak will have.

The second article was written by PJ Reece, president of Morningstars and soon-to-be editor of The Link. We had the pleasure of reading the article first right here on this blog. Coming Out of Hiding is definitely worth a second read.

And astute readers will note that personal power is a theme in both articles.

Congratulations to PJ and Frank.

The Art of Seeing

Written by Ben Rusuisiak

It was a chilly slippery morning with frozen steps to walk down and clear off ice on my car’s windshield before start driving to Morningstars.

As I am doing this blog for the first time I am already learning that I wasn’t listening much at the meeting except when I am talking!  That is why I like the Quizmaster role.  I love getting attention by speaking in front of lots of people but sometimes I forget to return the attention back to them as they deliver valuable information to me. When I actually listen there is always some great wisdom revealed.

Now I am going back to Turbobase and using our theme, The Art of Seeing (re-seeing) to recreate this morning in my mind.

Larry was chair and his performance is always reliable & consistent – as it was this morning.   Kat’s Table Topics was set up in harmony with the theme as she always does; use of psychic energy, dream, and intuition. I’ve experienced precognitive dream events several times but so far they haven’t predicted any major events like a market crash or sports/election results.

Bill delivered a very good table topics response with great structure to the speech as usual. Kate was playful in psychic prediction.  But actually what I loved most of all was that Sheila literally had a great comeback on her first day back after not speaking impromptu “on psychic prediction”.  She made an unexpected announcement at the end and predicted that she was going to be riding on someone’s car!

Frank’s General Evaluator was as always very refined, full of condensed messages when paying attention.  I will one of these days record the GE and listen again as they are always packed with a lot of well thought out and constructive reviews. Today was a great example of delivering more by going slow.

Kay was Grammarian. Her relaxed energy spreads around the room and beyond every morning.  Judyth, the timer did an air tight job.

Our guest, Kate, gave us a recipe for African Stone Soup.  I made once Nigerian peanut butter curry and wanted to have a second African recipe. Instead she amused us with a delightful flannel board puppet show.

My own speech today from the Specialty Speech Manual required my evaluator, AnneMarie, to pick one out of 5 impromptu topics. (I inflated the list to 8 to make it more challenging.)  Anne Marie picked the topic on singing. I was impressed with myself that I could carry on as long as I did with no preparation.

Speaking of impressive… Annemarie was most impressive as she contacted me prior to the speech and inquired what I was going to do. She printed up the evaluation sheet and gave a thorough review, connecting the context of the speech topic and opening to the conclusion! Yes.  Others reminded me again of my habit of pacing around like I’m running intervals in my training.

I was going to study writing music at one time as new tunes pops up in my mind constantly. But since they keep popping up like ocean water I will do it sometime later.

Elvis definitely has a heart that is connected with larger source of power.  The idea of bringing some physical item to amplify energy to empower Sandy and her sister was a very inspiring thing.

Actually I missed Johanna’s joke in her Jokemaster role.  But I always enjoy her evaluation with her sharp observation.

Now I’ve written for the club blog for the first time.  I will actually read the blog from next week.  It’s made me curious…

Have a grand week all!

PS. I often forget the great job of greeting and arranging that John, our Sergeant at Arms does week after week.  I learned that when a bunch of us were putting tables and chairs together without him and didn’t know how to do it.  Thanks John!

That Lovin’ Feeling

Written by AnneMarie

heart balloonsWe had another great meeting today based on our theme That Lovin’ Feeling. We were warmed by loving words of wisdom from our chair, aka ‘Maestro’ Judyth Shanley, as she gently set the stage for a celebratory Valentine’s day with our loyal members and guests.

Among our welcomed guests was Coast Reporter publisher Cathy Roy, who was a Morningstar member not long ago. And we also welcomed Hannah visiting the Coast from Vancouver. She attended with Morningstar member Meghan. It’s always exciting to see guests and new members in our meetings as they encourage us ‘to perform at the top of our game’!

Frank’s speech was impeccable while being very informative! I wish he’d told us he could give us a written copy of his speech, as my attention was divided between watching him and trying to capture the DOs and DON’T’s of crafting an effective introduction to speakers.

Katherine also did an excellent job in delivering her ‘Funny’ speech, playing with Italian words in the context of Toastmaster’s roles, demanding full attention of spectators and a lot of creativity and prep time. What a skilful master!

At Table Topics, when asked whether or not he was a romantic person, Ben delivered a hilarious performance, making the case for romantic relationships as combat zones, requiring deep strategic thinking, while suggesting that one must possess the training, zeal and tricks of a samurai in order to successfully engage in a romantic affair. And I thought I had it right… Way to go Ben!

Happy Valentine’s (and be strategic if you are going on a date!)

That Lovin' Feeling

Written by AnneMarie

heart balloonsWe had another great meeting today based on our theme That Lovin’ Feeling. We were warmed by loving words of wisdom from our chair, aka ‘Maestro’ Judyth Shanley, as she gently set the stage for a celebratory Valentine’s day with our loyal members and guests.

Among our welcomed guests was Coast Reporter publisher Cathy Roy, who was a Morningstar member not long ago. And we also welcomed Hannah visiting the Coast from Vancouver. She attended with Morningstar member Meghan. It’s always exciting to see guests and new members in our meetings as they encourage us ‘to perform at the top of our game’!

Frank’s speech was impeccable while being very informative! I wish he’d told us he could give us a written copy of his speech, as my attention was divided between watching him and trying to capture the DOs and DON’T’s of crafting an effective introduction to speakers.

Katherine also did an excellent job in delivering her ‘Funny’ speech, playing with Italian words in the context of Toastmaster’s roles, demanding full attention of spectators and a lot of creativity and prep time. What a skilful master!

At Table Topics, when asked whether or not he was a romantic person, Ben delivered a hilarious performance, making the case for romantic relationships as combat zones, requiring deep strategic thinking, while suggesting that one must possess the training, zeal and tricks of a samurai in order to successfully engage in a romantic affair. And I thought I had it right… Way to go Ben!

Happy Valentine’s (and be strategic if you are going on a date!)

Icebreaker Speeches and Other Acts of Courage

A Journey to the Centre of Elvis Pacheco
By PJ Reece

icebergElvis Pacheco delivered his Ice-Breaker this morning.

He told the story of a trip to London Drugs to buy flash cards for his speech.  Sounds humdrum, even boring, but wait…

London Drugs was just a ploy, a ruse, a strategy to reveal himself through three encounters en route.  Conversations with three people would tell us much about who Elvis Pacheco is.  This is storytelling genius.

Dramatists might call the excursion to the mall a “misdirection.”  We are led to believe that flash cards are the goal of the shopping trip, but it’s just a set up.  As listeners, we eagerly climb aboard a story that involves a journey to anywhere, be it London Drugs, the Kon-Tiki Expedition, or the Journey to the Centre of the Earth.  Elvis got us on board and then introduced us to his special world of prayer.

Flash cards?  What flash cards?  Who cares about flash cards when we’re discovering what makes Elvis tick—what gets him out of bed in the morning, and what inspires his daily plunge in the sea.

Through three encounters with people whose lives Elvis has touched, we discovered the philosophy that guides his life:  Let yourself go, lead a simple life, pray.

By the time we arrived at London Drugs, we didn’t care what he came shopping for.  What can a “drug” store offer a man who has “prayer” coursing through his veins?

The kicker to Pacheco’s speech—if you were there to witness it—was that he didn’t even use those damn flash cards.

They were the perfect “misdirection,” a subterfuge, a deception, a gambit to get us going in the direction he really wanted to take us—toward knowing the real Elvis Pacheco.

Well done, sir.

 

 

 

Learning from the Experts

When we’re learning something new, it’s a good idea to turn to the experts, those who have gone before and set great examples of what we’re trying to learn. Watch this video from a winning humorous speech contest participant, and while you’re at it, find out a little more (tongue-in-cheek) information about one of our favourite things – Table Topics.