Toastmaster of the Evening Jon Berman

What Did I Miss: 12/10/2020

We “resolved” to show “True Grit” last night as Club President, Jon Berman was our Toastmaster. His theme was “True Grit” and his word of the week was “resolve” (now go back and read that very first sentence and you’ll find that I’m very clever).

Vice President of Membership, Sureal Sparx, gave a stirring Pledge & Inspiration as he spoke about his mother and signing up for a blood drive to donate in her honor (it’s December 23rd and there are spots remaining if you want to join him – CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE!

Club President, Jon Berman, donned a cowboy hat and kept it on throughout the meeting to introduce us to his theme. He spoke about a paper in which pointed out that grit was a better predictor of success than academic achievement.

Special shout out to our own Area 9 Director, Elaine Dusetzina for serving as our timer and making the green, yellow, and red very creative. She used holiday themed backgrounds. Christmas trees stood in for green, a yellow snowman (and a warning against eating yellow snow) for yellow, and a field of candy canes for red. It was both joyful and triumphant (Jim Carrey’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is streaming now on Netflix and Hulu).

For Table Topics, Chris Hammell led and used the word of the week in each of his questions. Inspired by Jon’s cowboy hat and cowboy puns, Chris adopted a cowboy drawl that was both hilarious and inconsistent simultaneously (how do I do it?). Here are the questions I asked and the summary of the answers.

Looking back over this past year, what things did you resolve to do that you were able to accomplish? – Club  Secretary, Kris Manske, said she was very happy with her Toastmaster accomplishments and that the lack of other things to do meant that she was able to tackle the curriculum more quickly. Kris shared the Best Table Topics Speaker of the Evening with Tomo for her answer.

We’re close to a new year, what do resolve to do to make life better for yourself next year? – Second-time guest, Gail, said she just moved from Thousand Oaks to San Diego so she was going to join Toastmasters to get back on track and develop the instant community that Toastmasters provides.

This has been a tough year, is there anything you resolved to do this year that you couldn’t because of the circumstances? – Lane Seidman pulled off the ultimate trick in 2020 by safely getting married in August (take THAT 2020). At the beginning of the year, he was training to run half and full marathons and didn’t get the opportunity to do it other than virtually so he’d like to accomplish that…and he’d probably like to go on a honeymoon too (he didn’t say that, but it was a rough year for travel).

If you could use resolve to accomplish only one goal in the next year, what would it be? – Guest Andy said he’d really enjoy finally getting good enough on a surfboard to do aerials. I hope he does because I can’t tell you how exhilarating it is (I didn’t do it in real-life but in an old 32-bit game that felt like real-life).

When you’re losing your resolve, how do you refocus on your goal? – Vice President of Public Relations, Tomo Osako said that most of the time when we lose focus on our goals, the solution is to take a nap. When she’s feeling stressed or irritable, she finds a nap helps her reboot and come back at the goal refreshed. Tomo shared the Best Table Topics Speaker of the Evening with Kris for her answer.

Carla Ruiz-Velasco started the manual speech section by delivering an Icebreaker speech. The Icebreaker is great for the member but it’s also the club’s first opportunity to get to know the member and we found out a lot about her. From preschool to 4th grade, her mother drove her from San Diego to a school in Tijuana so she could become bilingual and enjoy the same education that she did. It was there that she discovered a love of public speaking. After college she taught English and Spanish in Brazil. She even teased using public speaking in her volunteer work.

Area 14 Director, Corinna Koehler, talked about passive aggressiveness as conflict resolution technique. She went over the two types of conflict: as a mediator and handling a direct conflict.

Area 23 Director, Matt Corrales, took home Best Manual Speaker when he talked about the life-saving gift of a near-fatal car accident and the prison sentence that followed in his sobriety. Because of his record, he’s had no choice but to be honest about who he is and what he’s done. With his demons in the past, it’s time to decide for himself what path is best for him to take.

General Evaluator and Vice President of Education, Christoph Kubitza, led a fantastic evaluation team including first-time speech evaluator, Budd Barmeyer, who did a great job of giving specific and supportive feedback.

Lynette Benitez took the award for Best Evaluator of the meeting with her evaluation of Carla’s Icebreaker. She connected with Carla by sharing that she was also talkative and outgoing. She suggested Carla plant herself whether it is in a chair in front of the camera or standing so she isn’t shifting around. She also said she liked Carla’s speech because she could feel her vibe and authenticity.

Next week we’re having club elections and they announced tentative plans on 12/19 for a Virtual Holiday Party.

CLUB 7 CALENDAR

12/17: Club 7 Officer Elections

12/19: Virtual Holiday Party (more information coming)

12/24: Christmas Eve – no meeting

12/31: New Year’s Eve – no meeting

I hope you’re all doing well, Chris Hammell, DTM

Meeting Agenda

What Did I Miss: 12/3/2020

We had our “Spin the Role” meeting last night. There were plenty of Toastmasters signed up to take part and our Vice President of Education, Christoph Kubitza, played master of ceremonies, using wheelofnames.com to pair Club 7 member with roles.

When a name was selected, Christoph would ask if that member was present. If they weren’t, he would spin again to ensure that a member could get assigned a role and immediately start preparing themselves for it. With that in mind, he chose a presiding officer and manual speakers first followed by a Toastmaster, Table Topics Master, General Evaluator, then the rest of the functionaries. The remaining members not chosen were placed in the pool for Table Topics. Christoph then generated an agenda 5 minutes before gavel drop (which I’m using at the accompanying picture with this blog).

All choices were random and this is how the agenda looked last night:

Presiding Officer: Tomo Osako Pledge & Inspiration: Manny Thosy Toastmaster: Ben Nitti Grammarian: Matt Corrales Ah Counter: Bob Dietrich Timer: Dave Zarella Vote Counter: Ruben Figueroa Table Topics Master: Kris Manske Table Topics participants: Kalina Cardoso, Lynette Benitez, Ray Samson, Carla Ruiz-Velasco, and Joyce Persichilli Speaker 1: Chris Hammell Speaker 2: Christoph Kubitza Speaker 3: Budd Barmeyer General Evaluator: Sureal Sparx Evaluator 1: Antonio Garcia Evaluator 2: Lane Seidman Evaluator 3: Jon Berman

Vice President of Public Relations, Tomo Osako started the meeting on time and had some of the guests introduce themselves. There were a lot of lucky guests present to watch us pull off a meeting that was one hundred percent entertaining.

Manny Thosy came up with a terrific Pledge & Inspiration on the spot based on Ben’s impromptu theme, “To Live is to Travel.” Manny reminded us that while we can’t travel like we want to, San Diego is a county with many opportunities to get out of the house and hike places like Cowles’ Mountain. Manny likes to hike and try to live in the present moment and encouraged us to do that as well.

Ben Nitti, a newer member, did a great job as a first-time Toastmaster considering that he only had 15 minutes to prepare. His word of the week was “euphoria” and despite the fact that no one had any warning ahead of time, most managed to work the word in.

In Ben’s opening remarks to the club, he reminded us that the Spin-the-Role meeting was about learning and growing and not about being perfect. For never being a toastmaster, he set a great tone for the meeting.

Then, Club Secretary, Kris Manske ran the Table Topics portion of the meeting. Her approach was to ask two questions about etiquette that were on her mind first then ask questions based on the theme, “To Live is to Travel.”

Kris asked Kalina Cardoso what she does when she’s talking to someone and they start scrolling on their phone. Kalina explained that her time is valuable and she’s intentionally present while meeting with someone. If they look down at their phone she stops talking and waits for them to re-engage even if they tell her to go ahead. If she needs to check her phone, she excuses herself, checks it quickly, then re-engages in her conversation. Kalina shared the Best Table Topics Speaker of the Evening with Ray for her answer.

Lynette Benitez was asked if she texts people back right away and whether it was rude or not to make people wait. In Lynette’s opinion, it depends on the audience. It’s normal for her and her circle of friends in business to not return a call or text for a week. But with a friend, she tries to text or call back right away but isn’t constantly on her phone so she’s not always aware there’s something to respond to right away.

With those etiquette questions answered, Kris asked Ray Samson to tell her about the last time he experienced euphoria. He talked about a trip he took to Cabo San Lucas with his girlfriend that he was nervous to take (he has friends on Border Patrol and they’ve told him stories). But he had a great time, so many tacos, parasailed even though he couldn’t swim, and experienced total euphoria. Ray shared the Best Table Topics Speaker of the Evening with Kalina for his answer.

Carla Ruiz-Velasco was asked to tell us about the best or worst travel adventure she’s had. All travel is euphoric and you get to look at beautiful things and meeting great people but an adventure that stands out is when Carla and a friend of hers from Romania when to Tequila, Mexico. They had a great time singing drunk songs and ate like queens.

Club Treasurer and District 5 Club Growth Director, Joyce Persichilli was asked about something she’s learned from traveling. Joyce has learned to never let her husband be in charge of anything. The last time they went to the Grand Canyon, she planned it out and they had such a great time with a guide who showed them the sites and served them lunch on fine china.

For the impromptu speeches, Chris Hammell told a fictitious story about visiting a Toastmasters Club in Los Angeles where celebrities are members. It was a fun speech that allowed Chris to use bad impressions of celebrities.

Vice President of Education, Christoph Kubitza talked about his anal communications style and how it was formed from his overly analytical mind and how he has tempered that through the years. He talked about using a lighter tone and his analytical mind when he researched Toastmasters’ mentorship program and pitched District 5 on mentorship as a way of helping clubs retain members and be more engaged. He ended the speech by encouraging members to get involved in club leadership and pointed out that we needed new recruits to help run the club for the next 6 months. Christoph did all of this while also doing something he said he has also worked hard to learn: ending his speeches on time.

Best Speaker of the Evening, Budd Barmeyer, answered some frequently asked questions about his roosters. Do they eat chicken? No, Budd isn’t raising any cannibals. Do they lay eggs? Well…they’re boys…so… Where do they sleep? Inside a box…in a closet…Harry Potter-style. There were also funny anecdotes like taking them to the park where they would stay on the blanket unless they had to open a can of whoop ass on a homeless person or child who got too close to them.

Vice President of Membership, Sureal Sparx, led an all-star team of evaluators.

Best Evaluator of the Evening, Jon Berman, gave a great evaluation of Budd’s speech where he complimented his use of intonation and pace. He encouraged Budd to give more detail to his speech to really bring it to life before letting him know that his humor made the speech really enjoyable.

Special mention for Bob Dietrich who, as Ah Counter, gave a loooong and hilarious report where he joked that , “Tomo spoke for 15 seconds and had 37 ‘ah’s” and “I got Antonio for a few ‘ah’s and a heavy accent.”

Speaking of Antonio, when evaluating my speech, he remembered the first time I delivered it. I wrote the speech for the club’s Tall Tales Contest (which I won…I probably didn’t need to add that) which was a 3.5 to 5 minute time limit. I wrote new material for that speech and took out some older material that didn’t age well. I had a great time repurposing that speech and had a lot of fun delivering it and I appreciate that Antonio remembers that first version. Okay, back to the blog:

Despite everything, Tomo kept a keen eye on the time and managed to end the meeting very on-time. This was not a meeting to be missed and for those of you who were there, it was a great time.

Next week we’ll be back to a normal meeting but I can’t wait for another one of these event meetings next year.

CLUB 7 CALENDAR

12/24: Christmas Eve – no meeting

12/31: New Year’s Eve – no meeting

I hope you’re all doing well,

Chris Hammell, DTM