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Public Speaking For All

July 13 2020 Meeting Report

by Administrator

Last night we held another wonderful remote Texas Tri-County Chamber of Commerce International Toastmasters club meeting. The attendees were Shankar Poncelet, Harlon Pickett, Jim Lowery, Antrea Ferguson, Craig Sprout, Pamela Gauna, Julieanna Cline and Tammy Perez. Our guest was Matt. The absentees were: Donna Lowder, Justine Gonzales, Michael Hornes, Mindy Paxton, Rey Sanchez, Sean Adams, and Laura Sanchez.

Our meeting began on time at 5:30 with the pledge of allegiance by our esteemed president, Harlon, and the FB live stream starting at 5:33. Our Toastmaster of the night was Shankar Poncelet who asked for descriptions of the meeting roles from the individuals that had signed up for them. Antrea spoke about the rationale and process behind the WAG role and gave us our word of the day, complement. The definition for complement is: when two things go well together. Julieanna explained the timer role and showed off the fancy green, yellow, and red Zoom backgrounds that she used for our speakers to know when they were approaching their time limits.

Our featured speaker of the night was Harlon Pickett who discussed The Great Deception – a look behind the curtain of the healthcare cartels. This was a 15-20 minute speech with questions and answers. Harlon discussed the history of health insurance and the deceptions inherent in the insurance and healthcare industry.

The questions that were asked during the Q&A portion were insightful and showed true listening and understanding of the topic. Shankar asked, “What can I, as an end consumer, do to fight against this system that we seem to be helpless against?” Craig shared that he has thought that having our insurance tied to employers might be a bad idea and asked, “what is your impression of decoupling insurance from the employer.” He followed up with stating that as a consumer, we’re presented with 2-3 plans and that doesn’t give many options; one size doesn’t fit all. He wanted to know what the options are in this case.

The Table Topics master, Tammy, began this part of the meeting with the question: What is the most humorous thing that has happened to you during the pandemic? Our guest, Matt, jumped right into the meeting by answering the first question of the night with a humorous story about a purchase he made at Walmart. Shankar answered a question about what has become important to him this summer that wasn’t important to him last summer by sharing how much he misses social interactions. Since we’re all in our houses more than ever, we all are doing more chores than ever. Antrea talked about how her least favorite chore was doing dishes before because the dish washer was broken, but now that it’s fixed, doing dishes has become her most favorite chore. Julieanna talked about the most important lesson she had learned in the last five months which, like Shankar’s response, is related to valuing people.

The general evaluator, Jim, introduced Craig who evaluated Harlon’s speech. Craig discussed the value of evaluation to us all, first, and then pointed out things we should do that Harlon did well. Highlighting important elements of a speech by repeating phrases is impactful. Finger pointing is something to be conscientious about because some say it’s a good tactic and some say it’s not. Keep your eyes on the camera. Present solid information. Craig then pointed out some things to be mindful of. We should be careful about following our statements with, “Right?...” We should make sure to watch our time and understand the project guidelines.

Our WAG, Antrea, gave a very thorough evaluation of all speakers and their use of language. Then, the general evaluator walked us through the meeting with his impressions. It was a fun meeting and a safe place for us to learn to become better at our speeches and meeting roles.

The Toastmaster announced that the votes for best table topics speech of the night went to our guest, Matt. He was the first speaker and gave a very humorous speech about buying a bird feeder that became a squirrel feeder. We’ve invited him back and hope that the vigorous PR promotion of our meetings will bring more guests as we move forward.

We did not fill meeting roles last night so there are only two taken. We need a Toastmaster for Monday, July 20th, as well as WAG, Timer, General Evaluator, Speaker 1, Speech 1 Evaluator, and a Table Topics Master. As you can tell, we need a lot of help next week. Please go to the website and sign up for a role: I will reach out to you all again on Friday with the roles still needing filled to request your participation. I thank you in advance for volunteering to assist.

For our next Monday meeting, the link to the virtual meeting is here: We look forward to seeing you there!



Tri-County Chamber of Commerce Toastmasters club Secretary

August 3, 2020

Meeting report

by Administrator

July 27, 2020

Meeting report

by Administrator