RANDOM ROLE MEETING (aka Grab Bag or Spin the Wheel)

The upcoming “Spin the Role” meeting in which members will enter their names and a computer program will assign them random roles, is a meeting we haven’t done in a while. It’s an exciting opportunity to do something different and unexpected.

You’d like to participate but you’re nervous. What if you’re assigned Toastmaster or worse, Speaker? Is there any way to prepare for this meeting?

Yes, there is. And, I’m glad you asked.

Before I begin I’m going to start with 2 rules:

#1 There is nothing in the Toastmasters promise that says a member needs to be perfect

#2 If you are assigned a role you’ve never done, do it to the best of your ability. No one expects you to be perfect and you may surprise yourself.

Okay, now let’s eliminate the roles that can be done without preparation: Grammarian, Ah Counter, and Vote Counter.

Wow…that doesn’t eliminate much.

Let’s start with the easier roles to fulfill if you’re assigned to that role:

Presiding Officer: This role is usually reserved for a member of the Executive Committee but all roles might be in play so you may find yourself in this role.

At the beginning, they gavel the meeting to order, remind folks to silence their smart phones, read the club mission, and ask each guest (or a few guests depending on how many there are) to introduce themselves, say how they heard about Toastmasters, and what they hope to gain from Toastmasters. Then they introduce the Pledge & Inspiration speaker.

At the end, the Toastmaster will turn it back over to you and you will ask each guest (or a few) what they thought of the meeting. Then you will close the meeting by thanking everyone for being there and drop the gavel again (I say gavel but during this pandemic people usually say, “I’m gaveling this meeting to a close” instead of physically doing anything. Then you will reopen the meeting for club business and host that section before wrapping the meeting completely.

Timer: All you need is the length of speech each speaker is presenting so you can time them appropriately. If you don’t know where the boundaries of the green, yellow, and red are, ask the speaker. You’ll also need a way to keep time. If you have a smartphone, you can use that or go to google and type in stopwatch, hit enter, and one pops up for you to use.

General Evaluator: You need to tell your speakers (aloud or over chat) to put their project evaluation PDF into chat for the evaluators. You need to tell the evaluators to ask their speaker what they’d like for them to watch for. And if you see a name that you might not be able to pronounce, ask that member how to pronounce it so you can give them a good introduction when the time comes.

Speech Evaluator: If the General Evaluator hasn’t told you already, please ask your speaker for their evaluation sheet either by email or by chat and ask them what they want you to look for (if anything).

Table Topics Master: Usually questions are aligned with the theme and the word of the week but they don’t always have to. If you are feeling adventurous, you can wait until the Toastmaster announces their theme and word of the week. From there you have until the functionaries introduce their roles before you need to run the Table Topics section. It’s enough time to quickly write 5 questions.

Alternatively, you can also come up with questions now or be completely off the cuff with your questions. There are members who can come up with things on the spot. Any way you choose to do it, it’s the impromptu speaking section so I encourage you to be as impromptu as possible also. Remember rule #1? You don’t have to be perfect.

Pledge & Inspiration: This role is usually aligned with the theme and word of the week but you won’t know those until you introduce the Toastmaster who will reveal it at that time. UNLESS you ask them what it is as soon as you find out who it is.

But a better method might be to think of something recent that makes you curious, happy, angry and tell the group about it while trying to say what you learned or what the moral of the story is. You have a short time (2 minutes) but you don’t have to use all of the time. At the end of the story you then introduce the Toastmaster of the Evening.

Manual Speaker: You can either come up with a speech when you find out you have the role OR you can go through your path now, select a speech, then brainstorm on what it could be about. And download the evaluation in case you have to email or attach it to chat for your evaluator.

Whether you outline or completely write that speech is up to you. But keep in mind rule #1 is you don’t have to be perfect. Also keep in mind that your effort to prepare isn’t wasted because you now have a speech (or idea of a speech) you can give at a future time.

Toastmaster: This is the mother of all Spin the Wheel roles. Since you control almost every aspect, you need the agenda. You can print an old agenda and white out the names and hand write them in that night OR I have attached a blank agenda to each ‘confirm your role’ email I’ve sent in the past few weeks and can attach it in chat at the meeting if requested. Print that blank agenda so you can print on it and you’re in business.

You also need a theme and word of the week NOW so your Pledge & Inspiration and Table Topics Master can get started on their roles if they choose to use it as inspiration. If you put it in chat for everyone, the members can start using it and the Grammarian can start logging its use.

You also need to say a little something about the theme and word of the week before introducing your functionaries. They will be easier to do if your theme and word of the week are something important to you right now. You can either make it up at the meeting or give it some thought now. If you don’t end up using your ideas this time, you can always use it in the future.

I hope this helps demystify the upcoming Spin the Role meeting. Please participate. These are fun, imperfect, meetings where we all support each other and take the plunge together. Contact Christoph Kubitza if you want to participate (I already have). On the night of the Spin the Role meeting, you can come back to this blog and go over the role you have to remind yourself what to do.

See you at the meeting!

Chris Hammell, DTM

Table-Topics-Mania Night at DiMille’s

We will gather on November 12th from 6-8:15pm (gavel drop at 6:30pm as normal) at DiMille’s outside on their patio (https://dimilles.com/) for our first ever, TABLE TOPICS MANIA NIGHT AT DIMILLE’S!

That’s right! For the first time since March, we’re going to gather together to eat pizza, have drinks, and bond (…James Bond…sorry, couldn’t resist). The pizza is on us, you’ll just need to purchase your own drinks.

This will be for members only to ensure that as many of us are able to get together as possible. We will open it up to others if we have room closer to the event. If you haven’t registered with the link below and you show up, we may have to turn you away (which will be awkward…my stomach hurts just thinking about it).

There is only one requirement (in addition to mask wearing and physical distancing), the number of people is limited to 20 so we are asking everyone to register at https://tinyurl.com/sd7pizza to reserve your spot.

For those who are new, this is a great opportunity to meet us in person and DiMille’s is practically an honorary member. Because it is close to our usual meeting space, it’s become the place that we gather before and after meetings to have dinner, drinks, and conversations. It’s a place where mentor/mentee matches have been made, awards have been given, and where we’ve encouraged each other’s goals.

Frankly, in order to guarantee my spot, I registered before I wrote this and I can’t wait to see 19 of my fellow club members and meet new members.

Stay safe!

Chris Hammell, DTM

A Toastmaster’s Visit

Recently, we had the honor to host a guest from Italy – Antonio Blissett, the Immediate Past President of the Erzelli Toasters in Genoa and the current Area A5 Director.  His visit was a good reminder of how Toastmasters extend beyond our home club and a great way to make connections in new places!  Furthermore, by visiting other clubs, we can learn something new that we can take with us to make our club even better.  With clubs in over 140 countries, it’s almost a guarantee you will find one in every major city.

3/14 Meeting
Group photo of our members and guests

Due to my curiosity, I was interested in learning more about Antonio’s experience with visiting our club.  Here’s what I found out!

TM7:  How did you find our club?
I simply looked you up on the Toastmasters International website, and I didn’t realize at first what the “7” in your name stood for.
I was just lucky to find one of the most history-rich Clubs on the planet !
TM7:  What motivated you to visit?
Wherever I go, I try to see if a Toastmasters Club in the area has a meeting schedule compatible with mine. I did it once out of curiosity, and I liked the experience so much that it has become a habit.
It’s just so exciting to meet other Clubs: you can always learn new tricks and bring them home for the benefit of your fellow Toasties 🙂
TM7:  What was your best experience during your visit?
I was delighted by the team spirit you have shown while setting up the meeting and by the warm welcome you gave to me and to the other guests.
Also, Alberto’s workshop was top-notch.  Engaging, effective, entertaining.

Alberto Alvarado, soon to be Distinguished Toastmaster, presented The Art of Evaluation workshop.  He shared his knowledge and expertise on how to effectively give feedback when evaluating a speech.

TM7:  While it was a different format than our regular meeting, did you notice similarities and differences between your club and ours?
I liked a lot of the formal ceremonies you performed during the meeting – the Pledge to the flag, the induction of a new member with a secret vote. Small but important rites which add solemnity, and increase the feeling of belonging. Our Club is just 3 years old, and we should definitely learn from you.
TM7:  Additional feedback on the way we conducted our meeting?
Really enjoyable atmosphere! Professional, but with the right amount of humor !  

Thank you Antonio!  We look forward to your visit again next year.  And if we ever find ourselves in Genoa, we’ll make sure to connect with The Erzelli Toasters!!

erzelli toasters Antonio Blissett
Post-meeting drinks and eats at our favorite restaurant, DiMille’s. Antonio approves! (With our Treasurer, Christoph Kubitza)

Written by Elaine Dusetzina, VP Public Relations

To be Vulnerable is Just Fantastic

The mission of Toastmasters 7 club is to provide members with a mutually supportive and positive environment to practice public speaking while receiving constructive feedback to improve communication and leadership skills.

One thing I think is especially striking about our club (besides the fact that we like to have fun!) is the members and guests are in a safe and comforting space to explore and push past their comfort zone in developing their communication skills. Over the past six years, I have listened to and been moved by too many speeches to count.

I think it is the speeches where our speakers describe their vulnerability that tends to have a dramatic impact – in both subtle and overt ways. That opens a door, inviting us to develop and strengthen our sense of empathy and ultimately, become better people.

Last week’s meeting was held on Valentine’s Day, our Vice President of Public Relations gave a speech that resonated with me a great deal. I was also her evaluator and she wanted me to evaluate her based on her vocal variety, stage presence, and storytelling while displaying emotional vulnerability – this is a degree of skill that only advanced speakers can execute well, and Elaine did so.

sdtm7

I asked Elaine what motivated her to give the speech.  To which she responded –

“When I signed up to give a speech on Valentine’s Day, I wanted to push myself further out of my comfort zone by sharing an emotional story. My past speeches have been informational without touching on emotions whatsoever.  In the past months, I’ve heard many powerful and vulnerable speeches that really touched my heart – Jeremy and his transformation because of his daughters, Tomo and the loss of her father, Landon’s area contest winning speech and recently Dave Z.’s inspirational 10th speech.
Initially I thought about telling the story about my husband and how he is the opposite of my Dad but I didn’t want to just talk about my love life. Instead I wanted to share a part of me that others can learn from. I realized this after listening to my daughter’s speech.  In comparison with the rest of the students who did their TED talk at school, Eyva’s speech was encouraging.  This inspired me to open myself and also present an encouraging speech .  I felt my story of discovering self-compassion can move someone towards discovering their own.
The speech also made those raw emotions come alive – in a way it helped to revisit these emotions as I drew strength from them. Through suffering can I only grow stronger.”

And that is a sentiment I suspect a lot of you can relate to. Thank you, Elaine, for sharing your story.

—–
*Thanks to Joy Clausen Soto, Guest Speaker, and winner of the evening’s Speakathon for the inspiration of the title of this post. Her speech was based off Zig Ziglar’s use of the word ‘Fantastic’. Yes, sometimes we have Speakathons because we have so many outstanding members waiting to give equally outstanding speeches.

 

 

TM7 Author Bio

What is a Roast?

On August 23rd 2018, our Toastmasters club had a special event: A Roast of one of our most beloved members, Eric Linder.  Eric recently earned the Distinguished Toastmaster designation, also known as a DTM. The DTM is the highest level of educational achievement in Toastmasters.  Prerequisites to attain a DTM are substantial, with members generally taking 3-8 years to earn the award.  Find out more about Toastmasters International Distinguished Toastmasters program on this link => Distinguished Toastmaster.

In a way of celebrating our members who received the coveted DTM designation, our club has performed roasts to acknowledge their accomplishment by poking a little fun at them.

Did you attend Eric Linder’s Roast?

For those who have not attended a roast before, a roast is an event where someone is being honored.  The person honored is subjected to jokes at their expense.  Traditionally the roasters, the people making fun of the honoree, are the family and friends of the person being honored.  These friends and family members will start off by making jokes towards people in the crowd or their fellow roasters.  Then the jokes move to the spotlighted member and finally end on a nice note praising the highlighted member.

Unfortunately for Eric he doesn’t have any friends (this is an example of a roast joke)!  A call was made out to members in the Toastmaster club to help roast him while celebrating his accomplishments.

Here’s how the roast went down!

The Roastmaster (also known as the MC of the evening) was Bob Dietrich.  Bob is an accomplished speaker who has also achieved his DTM.  He did the best he could to keep the roast on schedule and full of laughs. Unfortunately Bob is just not very funny, so he failed at the 2nd part!

The roasters of the evening were: Shadi Abudayyeh, Matt Mounier, Diane Horton, Sue Linder (Eric’s sister!), Antonio Garcia,  Sureal Sparx, Yesica Vazquez, Dave Zarella, Chris Hammell, and finally, Eric Linder himself.  Some of the roasters were incredibly hilarious (such as reigning club’s funniest member Shadi Abudayyeh) and some of the roasters were, to put it mildly, not funny (Yesica Vazquez).  Many of the jokes at these events are quite rude, risqué, and unbecoming of me listing them here, so I’ve taken the liberty of including some not as adult jokes here that received laughs.

I’m not saying that Antonio has a big forehead, I’m just saying it was a stunt double in the movie Three Billboards.”

 

There’s an old saying that says nice people can’t be funny. Tonight, Diane Horton will prove that.”

 

Matt likes to call himself the Mortgage Millennial, which explains why everyone hates him.”

 

#notmypresident”

Lou Weimann, our Club’s Sergeant-At-Arms commented on his experience of attending this roast:

“There are so many benefits to being a member of Toastmasters 7. One benefit I never knew about was the comradeship the group members share which leads to hilarious events like this ROAST. I never thought I could laugh so hard and almost piss my pants countless times. The jokes were so funny and I am so glad I didn’t miss this event. As if I needed any additional positive reinforcement for joining Toastmasters 7 months ago… but this ROAST is that additional awesomeness. Thank you, Eric Linder, for being a great person, a great sport and most importantly a great mentor to us all! “

Video credit to Bob Dietrich

 

Check out these photos from the Roast by our awesome photographer, Antonio Garcia – Access only available to SDTM7 members:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1bEiLzzkaJo0Mjy95SLk58OnQIwK5LQr2

 

Written by Shadi Abudayyeh, Club President, CC/CL.  Check out his bio on our Meet Our Club Officers page.
Our club meetings are held every Thursdays (also last Tuesdays of the month). 6:30pm to 8pm in Normal Heights Community Center.
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