It Takes a Club to Raise a Morningstar

“I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Liam B., our current Sergeant of Arms and the chairperson for this week, started the June 8th meeting with a heartfelt thank you to his fellow members. He extended a warm fuzzy verbal hug to the people who helped him achieve his Competent Communicator and Leadership pins.  He led the room in a round of applause for the members.

Shortly after that, we saw two members step up and knock it out of the ballpark:

  1. PJ R., inspired by the people on the board, has volunteered to take on the role of club treasurer for the upcoming season! Thank you.
  2. Michael W. brought “the boom” (as I call it) and delivered his tenth and final speech. Congratulations on your number 10 and achieving your Competent Communicator.

Our milestone achievements in Toastmasters, whether it is delivering an Icebreaker speech or achieving Distinguished Toastmaster, is a culmination of what we take away from each meeting. It is the learning process of watching others do their best and, in turn, doing our best. Watching, executing, evaluating, adjusting and trying again with the supportive help from others is how we grow — individually and as a club.

It takes a club to hit a milestone. It takes a club to guide you, show you and lift you beyond your initial horizon. Each of the members strengths is yours for the tapping. Every meeting has golden takeaways to further your development. They are hidden in speeches, the timing report or even how someone adds their own spin to Quizmaster.

You may not know what is in you — but the entire club knows what you could do. They are there to support and encourage. To push and challenge.

An example of that was demonstrated by one of our newest members. He was called upon this week for Table Topics. His eyes grew big. The first words out of his mouth was a protest. His body language said, “Not me.” However, the entire room clapped, supported him and he stood up. He delivered an excellent two-minute impromptu mini-speech that had many people grinning ear to ear. (By the way, most new members do Table Topics several times before they break the one minute mark. Nerves gets to us and we hurry through it only to sit down at 53 seconds. This is a success story, Don N.)

We celebrate the little milestones for they are huge milestones for the entire club. A personal success, is a club success.

It takes a club to raise a Morningstar.


Table Topics: A Chance to Step Out of Comfort Zone

Table Topics Out of Comfort ZoneContributed by Johanna

Being called upon for a table topics speech continues to daunt me, despite having delivered a few and even winning an area contest a few years ago. Training myself to accept that it is just “excitement” rather than “fear” is my intellectual goal. My emotional reservations try to convince me that perhaps this particular speaking skill isn’t really necessary for my wellbeing.

Speaking with mind and heart is important for us all, though. Table topics provides the opportunity to voice a brief synopsis related to the given topic. We have a way to organize our speech and a supportive audience. How fortunate! The skill development is useful at work and at the family dinner table. Owning the two minutes and ensuring our talk is interesting builds our confidence, too.

The theme of today was: “What a difference a day makes”. I wasn’t chosen for table topics today as I had anticipated, because I had forgotten that several weeks ago I had signed up for the Jokemaster role. The joke was on me! Having thought that I could likely be a table topics speaker, I had missed fulfilling the role I really do enjoy. Looking for a relevant joke to match the day’s theme has become quite research-intensive for me when occasions demand it. It is opening up new possibilities for me, too. Lately, I have been preparing for the Tall Tale competition….a challenge to think outside the box.

I was late for the meeting this morning, but so glad that I went. It definitely made a difference to my day, recognizing that being prepared for a speech or a joke is not that different from being prepared to be on time and ready for anything, such as, an unknown table topic. The table topics today included asking about strangers that made an impact and life changing circumstances encountered in our lives.

Table topic questions push us out of our comfort zone and do make us think on our feet. Greeting our fellow members gives us time to relax and decide upon a theme to expound on. The speech doesn’t have to be based on reality; the organization of the speech is the important skill being developed. Bravo to everyone who delivered their table topics speech this morning. It was a good meeting for all!


Contributed by Johanna