What Did I Miss: 8/27/2020

Last night, San Diego Toastmasters 7 rocked Zoom with 6 guests and members galore!

Jon Berman led a star-packed meeting and Yesica (Table Topics), Joyce (Evaluator), and Kris (Speaker) walked away with “Best of” ribbons (which were well-earned). Yesica emphatically answered a Table Topic about what her mentors have meant to her while Joyce gave a specific and supportive evaluation of Kalina’s speech.

What did you miss? Believe me when I say the summaries don’t do the speeches justice.

Kris took the ribbon for her speech about how to protect yourself if you don’t have a martial arts background or firearm. It involves standing up straight to increase your situational awareness, listening to your intuition (because it is smarter than you), defining and enforcing your boundaries (please give me six feet), and keep yourself in physical condition. Kris is a master of self-defense and kicking ass and made her speech entry level for the rest of us without her skills.

Manny talked about being a germaphobe after an experience in his microbiology class. He walked us through why you shouldn’t allow shoes in the house. Manny also let us know that during the pandemic, he’s fine. He’s obeying the experts while trying to focus on good things and not allow his mind to hover over the negative. This speech best fit Jon’s theme which was awareness. Manny stays aware of what he’s thinking and actively tries to control it. It’s a good lesson even if you aren’t a germaphobe.

Kalina took us through the question, does self-help work? It turns out that there is no one solution to all problems but you have to use the things you learn and keep in mind that inner-work is not about perfection, it’s about progress. And Kalina sees a lot of progress in her life. As a professional coach, she teaches that progress and benefits from it. As Toastmasters, we strive to do a little better each time but a professional coach can help you ‘unpack your baggage.’

If you weren’t there, you missed three great speeches AND great evaluations. So what did the Table Topics Speakers talk about? Table Topics was led by yours truly. As I said, Yesica talked about the role mentors in and out of Toastmasters have meant to her.

Yesica has been working in the district at a high level helping other clubs achieve success while being a mentor and receiving mentoring at a very high level. She was even mentored by our member Joyce who ran the entire district. But to be fair, who hasn’t Joyce mentored by answering the complicated questions we ask her?

Bob talked about how he feels about me (I think he’s obsessed – hey, you weren’t there). And guests, Eric G talked about what makes a birthday great and Cole spoke about how his life would be different if he were raised by his best friends’ parents instead of his own. All of the responses were different, some were impassioned like Yesica, silly like Bob’s, or thoughtful like Eric G’s and Cole’s. It was a terrific table topics session if I do say so myself (and I do).

Next week, Sept 3, San Diego Toastmasters 7 is holding the International Speech & Humorous Speech contest. I am the Toastmaster of the Evening that night and I hope that you won’t be reading a summary about the contest, you’ll have lived it.

I hope you’re all doing well and I’d love to see you all at the contest (and the week after, and the week after that, and the week after that)!

Chris Hammell, DTM

Your Toastmasters Journey will be enriched with Mentoring

Written by Sam Ollinger

I recently signed on to my Pathways account on toastmasters.org and found the original date I joined Toastmasters 7 was September 1, 2012! Almost-seven years seem like an entire lifetime ago. I was a different person when I joined Toastmasters. I just started a small non-profit organization with an ambitious mission and promptly got invited to speak in front of 500 people to articulate my philosophy and vision for all these 500 strangers. When I accepted the invitation graciously, I panicked! I was terrible speaking to more than a single person, 500 seemed like….a lot.
Frantically, I began googling toastmasters groups because I recalled reading about them in the numerous self help books I’d read over the years. I found a group – they were highly rated on Yelp, and even better – located a short bike ride away from my home – that group was Toastmasters 7!

That first meeting I walked in, I still remember my nervousness. I was a few minutes late. The meeting had already started.

The air was warm.

Sunlight was streaming through the windows.

Someone was talking.

The Sargent-at-Arms, Brian Austin, got up and came over and in a quiet voice welcomed me and quelled my nervousness. I found an empty seat in the back where I sat and observed the meeting.

The subsequent weeks, I kept going back. I didn’t fully understand how the meetings worked. However, there were all these elders… Longstanding members who walked me through my journey. They scheduled me for speeches and roles, encouraged and helped me improve my speeches. Yet, no person played a bigger role than my mentor, Harold “Magnum” Mangum, in terms of getting me to finish my communication manual. 

I am not sure how Magnum was assigned to be my mentor, but he was levels above anyone in his absolute mastery of his audience and message. We’d meet for coffee, and periodically check in – and he was nothing short of encouraging, motivating, and simply captivating. Thanks to Magnum, I have won too many of those blue ribbons to count and found my voice on stage.

Now I have the honor of mentoring a new member, Monica Feliz – a true Philadelphian woman – meaning she has all the spunk you’d expect from someone who is a native from the city of Brotherly Love. And I get the opportunity to mentor her through her unique Toastmasters journey. Monica is a millennial and I am learning a lot about this descriptor including the fact that none of the younger members will read this lengthy post and so I need to figure out how to make the message I want to convey a little more bite sized and interesting despite my absolute love for long form writing.
I ENCOURAGE YOU to join your local Toastmasters (like Toastmasters7!). You will find a group of committed, encouraging, captivating individuals, who will help in your journey to become a masterful communicator as well as a laudatory leader.
Mentorship works in any field, and it is especially helpful in a self-improvement journey that is Toastmasters.