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***Johnny Author***

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Public Speaking For All


Meeting update

by Administrator

Fellow Toastmasters,
Members present at the meeting were Harlon, Craig, Shankar, Antréa, Laura, Joco, and Tammy. Tonight we also welcomed a special guest, our new Area Director, Ulrike Judkins. Those members not able to make the meeting were Julieanna, Donna, Pamela, Michael, Robert Westbrock, Sean, Mindy and Rey.

Harlon started the meeting promptly at 5:30. He welcomed our special guest and thanked us all for joining on this wonderful day with such wonderful weather. He put up a waving US flag for the pledge of allegiance.

Harlon turned the meeting over to the Toastmaster of the evening, Shankar Poncelet. Shankar took the advice that Harlon gave him last week and stood to deliver his portion of the meeting. He acknowledged our new Area Director and mentioned how he originally met Ulrike and that her story about how she left Germany thoroughly impressed him. He then went over the agenda and posted the link to it in the chat. He filled the remaining empty role of second evaluator before we moved on with the meeting. Joco volunteered to be second evaluator but as Craig pointed out that new members should not evaluate anyone until they have attended at least three meetings, he then offered to evaluate the second speaker.

Shankar introduced the WAG, Tammy, who described her role. For today’s meeting, the word of the day was twofold: “Enormity” means extreme evil, not “enormousness.” We had an example for each word: “The enormity of the terrorist bombing brought bystanders to tears,” and “The enormousness of the homework assignment required several hours of work.”

The timer is a very important role. We are always subject to a certain time limit when we give speeches, so this helps us with our ability to keep the speeches to a specific time. Our timer, Harlon, explained that times for an ice breaker are 4-6 minutes and that Antréa was giving a longer speech so she would have a longer time frame. Table Topics are 1-2 minutes and evaluations should last 2-3 minutes. He used the zoom backgrounds of green, yellow, and red to signal to the speaker how long they had left.

Shankar asked Ulrike if she had anything to announce to the club. She mentioned the competitions that will be remote for the rest of the year.

Shankar introduced Joco to the club as the first student from NLC and this was her first official speech as part of the club. Joco presented an ice breaker. She talked about the Chinese sign she was born under, the tiger. She talked about the meaning of the tiger as being brave and competitive. She talked about how she was born into a family in constant fear of deportation. She became invisible to protect her family and because of their situation, she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to afford college. She took a leap of faith and moved to San Antonio. Here, she learned about herself and how she loves organization and structure. She realized she has a voice and isn’t afraid to speak out and advocate for her community. She realized that within her story, there is a lot to unpack and that her story might be making some who hear it uncomfortable. At the end of the speech, she brought us back to the tiger symbol and said she has been brave and is the tiger of her own story. She’s ready to conquer the jungle. (4:26)

Shankar then talked about Antréa’s speech. Antréa discussed National Health Literacy Month and why we need it. She said that we all require health literacy because people with low literacy can’t effectively navigate health information. She talked about the case of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study where black men were injected with syphilis without their knowledge so that the effects of the bacterial infection could be studied. (Read about it here: Antréa also discussed the case of individuals who visit doctors and still don’t understand the information from the visit or how to administer the medication they are given. She shared information on how people typically find health information. We all know that with any symptom on WebMD, you basically find out that you are going to die. This is not true health information. You can’t go to WebMD to understand a complex health system, so she wanted to share with us how to better advocate for ourselves. She shared a video about someone who had become more informed about her own care in order to make suggestions. She worked with her doctor to revise her medications. Antréa pointed out that you are the one who knows you best and you should pair that self-knowledge with the knowledge of the health care professional who has specialized training. Ask questions to engage them in your care. Help your doctor carry out their job. Assure you get what you need from the visit. Use your resources and live your life to the fullest. (17:54)

Shankar pointed out that we can put in chat for each speaker some thoughts about the speeches and also in the chat, we could find the link to the Doodle Poll for best speaker.

Antréa was our Topics Master but there was only time for one question. Antréa asked if you prefer in person doctor visits or telehealth visits? Since Harlon has done both of them, he volunteered to answer. He said that he certainly prefers virtual visits because you can be relatively certain that the problem you’re seeing the doctor for is not very serious if you're not in the doctor's office or at the emergency room. He has had two virtual visits and both were for poison ivy. It was interesting because he’s always had to go to the doctor for that before. However, this time, since he called in both times, the doctor from the second call said that he obviously didn’t learn his lesson the first time around. Harlon was able to tell the doctor what worked the last time and the doctor prescribed the same medication based on Harlon's information. (1:57)

Antréa turned the meeting back over to the Toastmaster to assure the meeting ran on time. Shankar turned the meeting over to the General Evaluator for the night, Craig, to talk about the evaluation portion of the meeting.

Laura evaluated Joco’s speech. She said it was hard to find constructive criticism to give because Joco did so well. The opening was an attention getter. She did well to open with the tiger and then she brought us back to the tiger at the end to wrap it up. Laura said she appreciated Joco sharing her personal story. It was very brave. The things Joco could work on are her gaze was low and she should remember to focus on the camera itself. (1:55)

Craig evaluated Antréa. He first pointed out the things that she always does well. She has a clear voice, good use of spoken language, and good vocal variety. She injects humor and has an abundance of knowledge on the topic. She always does these presentations well. It was good to include statistics. He said there were lots of ums and likes. He asked Antréa to trust the technology. Be careful on the asides because it speaks to lack of preparedness. We didn’t always catch the through line of medical literacy. Be careful of the language. (3:18)

Craig asked the WAG to report out. Shankar by far exceeded the other club members in uses of the Word(s) of the Day with six uses and only used one filler word. Ulrike used the WoD once in the chat and Harlon and Craig both also worked "enormousness" into their discourse. Joco’s Spanish pronunciation of San Antonio, Texas was very authentic and went well with her topic. Antréa used various filler words throughout her presentation, several repeats and an “all of those kind of things,” which is another type of filler. Harlon used the colloquialism “ain’t” but used it as a fun aside.

Craig, in his role as General Evaluator said we started the meeting at 5:30 on the dot. He said he was a bit cranky (and we're not a new club anymore) so he was going to let us have it this meeting. The Toastmaster forgot to introduce his General Evaluator at the beginning of the meeting and it’s always good to wait to the end of the meeting to ask guests to speak. He wants us to stop saying “I want to,” and “I would like.” We should be brief in our meeting roles and stick to what you are supposed to say and report out. We had too many asides and banter in our report outs. He said we did a good job overall and had great attention to time. He pointed out that we even cut Table Topics short so that we could end on time.

Shankar announced that Joco received the most votes for best speaker of the night. That’s an amazing accomplishment both, because it was her first formal speech, and because she was up against Antréa, one of our best speakers.

Ulrike’s impression of the meeting: “I really loved it. It brightened up my day.” She recommends setting up a time to share with each other so that we can have those asides and banter outside of meeting time. She mentioned our clean or comfortable backgrounds, Zoom or IRL. She likes that we had two speeches and asked if we had a humor person for the meeting. (We do not have one yet.) She will be sending out notes to us soon, encouraged us to consider competitions, and would like to visit more often. Thanks to virtual environment, that’s much easier. She really loved the speeches.

Harlon then asked us to fill in the meeting roles for the next meeting. We still need two evaluator meeting roles filled for the meeting on October 12th. Sign up for roles at this link:

Laura announced an award to Harlon picket for completing the Visionary Communicator pathway. His new path will be the Humor pathway.

Don’t forget to invite your friends, business associates, and family members to our meetings!

Thanks again for an amazing meeting. Have a great week!

The link to the virtual meeting is here:

Tri-County Chamber of Commerce Toastmasters Club Secretary


Meeting update

by Administrator

September 21, 2020

Meeting update

by Administrator