After a rousing welcome by [email protected] David Clarkson and confirming that we are all definitely alive and well, and feeling fantastic, Toastmaster Rachel Walton introduced us to the meeting’s theme ‘Urban Myths and Legends’. She sprinkled the meeting with examples of how these reinforce and explain complex happenings in a believable way. There was the story of a convicted murderer released from prison, found sitting in someone’s car post-earthquakes; the ubiquitous chain emails (do we pass them on or not, will bad luck befall us if we don’t) and the acronym FOAF (friend of a friend). How prevalent these urban myths and legends are in our lives! Caleb followed the theme by introducing us to the word “pudarco” – a mythical tale of bygone heroes.
Danny de Hek introduced first speaker Helen McLeod. As he lurked uncomfortably at the back of the speaking area, avoiding eye contact, he ably demonstrated what can go wrong by not using good body language; and using body language was of course the subject of Helen’s educational speech from the Better Speaking Series. Helen stepped us through the three main things to consider in body language – facial expressions, gestures and whole body movement. These form the key to the meaning behind the message, convey emotions and descriptions, while maintaining a relaxed and balanced posture. And to get it all off pat – practice, practice, practice. Helen finished with a quote from Konstantin Stanislavsky to keep in mind when we present: “The language of the body is the key that can unlock the soul”.
Brett Snow’s speech, project 10 from the CC manual ‘Toastmaster Target’ was all about setting and achieving goals. How can we hit a target if we don’t have one to hit? In his youth Brett was inspired and motivated after reading Zig Ziglar’s book on how to set and achieve goals. It comes down to “what I want to be, do and have”, and Brett went from there. Through his goal setting process, he has achieved traveling, building a house, a career and running a business. Well done! Brett’s challenge to us – to get out there and set our goals and go for it.
In her introduction to our third speaker Esther Newman talked of the handsome (now silver-haired) man who’d travelled great distances from a far away isle. This set the atmosphere for Colin Clapp’s speech from the Storytelling manual – the folk tale. Gathered in a circle around Colin, he captivated us with his telling of the ‘The Nightingale’. The objective of the project was to interpret the tale for the audience using his voice and imagery, and this he did with his vivid descriptions, varying tempo and voice to build up to the climax of the story. Very engaging.
After three very different speeches, Alan Calder led a fast paced entertaining table topics in which the participants chose to speak to a myth or headline. Topics ranged from the ‘ingredients’ of Red Bull, fences being a source of contention, toxins produced in bottled water when it is left in the car, balancing a raw egg on its end at the equinox, the cat getting your tongue and the Christchurch talent pool shrinking.
You could never say we don’t have variety at Boaters! As usual the mind and imagination were stretched, we laughed, listened and I’m sure we all left a little wiser.