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Public Speaking For All

July 20, 2020 Meeting report

by Administrator

Good Evening, Fellow Texas Tri-County Chamber of Commerce Toastmasters!

We had a full meeting agenda last night, Monday, July 20th, and thanks to those of you that signed up beforehand, all roles were filled before the meeting began. The next ten meetings are already on the club website so please go in and choose meeting roles and speech slots so that you are able to move yourself along to completion on your chosen pathway. Plan ahead to meet your personal goals. You can sign up for future roles on the TTCCCTM club site: If you have questions about your Pathway, please reach out to Laura Sanchez, our VP Education.

Our members present last night were Antrea Ferguson, Shankar Poncelet, Craig Sprout, Harlon Pickett, Tammy Perez, Laura Sanchez, Pamela Gauna, Julieanna Cline, and our club mentor, Jim Lowery. Unfortunately, there were no guests present at last night’s meeting, but if we could each make an attempt to invite one person a month to see what a meeting is like, we could easily see more guest appearances at our meetings. Additional ideas of how to recruit new members are welcome so please reach out to Shankar Poncelet, our VP Membership with ideas. The members absent last night were: Donna Lowder, Justine Gonzales, Michael Hornes, Mindy Paxton, Rey Sanchez, and Sean Adams.

Harlon started the meeting a little late, at 5:32, and the meeting was being streamed through Facebook live on the club FB site. Please don’t forget to like the club page and share the live feed. You can find the club page here:

Since Monday was the 51st anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, our Toastmaster of the night, Jim Lowery, chose the very apt meeting theme of space travel and wove it throughout the night’s narrative. We learned a great deal about the Apollo missions, space flight, and the courageous astronauts that carried out the missions.

Laura, Shankar, and Antrea described their roles of the night as WAG, General Evaluator, and Time Keeper, respectively. Our WAG gave us the word parsimonious to work with throughout the meeting.

Jim then introduced the first speaker of the night, Harlon, who spoke about How we can put the "relations" back into our Public Relations, virtually. He discussed how PR is really about the way you speak and present yourself, so Toastmasters exemplifies good PR. We build relationships as part of a good PR campaign and even remotely, we are able to do that. We are no longer constrained by distance as we have seen by some of the guests we have had lately from other parts of the country. Harlon then turned his attention to our club and how we could do a better job of recruiting others to assist them to acquire the skills to be a good speaker and how we could work more in tandem with our sponsoring entity, Texas Tri-County Chamber of Commerce, to promote our club and the benefits of membership.

Tammy is on the Innovative Planning Pathway and chose as her speech to Inspire Your Audience, College vs. University, pros and cons. Tammy has over 30 years of experience in higher education in both two- and four-year institutions. She shared her perceptions of the values and benefits of a community college education as it relates to bachelor's degree attainment.

Our Table Topics Master, Pamela, asked us what parsimonious behaviors we picked up throughout the pandemic and Shankar shared that he has not been parsimonious with eating. 😊 The second question focused on the key to a strong relationship. Tammy focused on trust as being the ultimate foundational quality of great relationships. Laura shared a time when her daughter said something that influenced her. Her daughter inverted words as a young child because of her dual language acquisition in early childhood (for example, washdisher instead of dishwasher) and that it helped Laura to understand language more clearly. The next question related to role models and Craig shared a narrative about a prior boss that was larger than life and who taught him to have a big personality and to laugh. The last question was answered by Harlon and focused on the use of social media during the pandemic. Harlon stated that his use of social media has increased by necessity due to the type of work he does. He now promotes his business online.

Shankar introduced Julieanna who gave her evaluation of the first speech. Because she is our VP of PR, it was highly appropriate that she be the individual that evaluated Harlon’s speech. Her evaluation included commentary on Harlon’s consistent comfort level and awareness of his audience. The only suggestion she gave had to do with clarity of words used which might have to do with accent or with the medium in which we find ourselves presenting our speeches. Craig evaluated the second speech and commented on the positive action of taking off glasses before speaking in order to eliminate the distraction of the reflection while giving the speech. He pointed out that there were no filler words and that repetition for emphasis is a good strategy. He challenged Tammy to avoid off camera glances and to watch the use of exact same. He also pointed out that the speech was read and that this is not the goal of Toastmasters. Create bullet points and internalize the content, don’t memorize it. Also, don’t thank the audience for their time at the end. They should be thanking you. Valuable comments were provided by both of our speech evaluators.

The WAG shared that Shankar used the word of the day the most with seven times, and that several other members also used the word parsimonious throughout the meeting.

Shankar, in his role as General Evaluator brought up the fact that we started a little late, we had nine participants, the agenda was full, there is now a blog available where these meeting updates are to be posted, and our team continues to amaze with their ability to adapt on the fly as evidenced by Antrea experiencing technical difficulties and switching quickly to zoom backgrounds for time keeping. It was a very nice touch that Jim allowed one minute after each speech for the group to send personal comments to the speakers in the chat. The winner of best speaker went to Tammy and the first place for Table Topics went to Craig with Harlon coming in second.

As he was closing out the meeting, Harlon brought up that the club officers meet every third Monday after the official meeting and that everyone is welcome to attend. It is an open meeting.

As always, I will close by hounding you to sign up for our next meeting. We have two meeting roles filled as of the writing of this update. We need a Toastmaster for Monday, July 27th, as well as WAG, Timer, General Evaluator, Speaker 2, Evaluator 2, and a Table Topics Master. As you can tell, we still 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


Meeting update

by Administrator

October 12

Meeting update

by Administrator