Brent Snow called the meeting to order in a timely fashion and we all settled in to enjoy what promised to be a great way to finish up the week, the xxx meeting of the Boaters Toastmasters Club.
Winter Blues was the theme of this meeting, as decided upon by our toastmaster, Claire Ruru. While the technical definition of Winter Blues relates to depression and a general winter funkiness, Claire determined this meeting would be upbeat and positive, as it soon turned out to be. Throughout the meeting she encouraged us to beat the winter blues by heading to the mountains with both family and toboggin in tow, or up to the Port Hills to enjoy the wonderful walks and incredible views.
Vivien Cowey clearly thought about how to beat the winter blues in her role as grammarian, namely through the giving and receiving of compliments. She encouraged the club to graciously accept a compliment with eye contact and a genuine “thank you”, rather, than as so many of us do, dismiss the compliment through the finding of a fault about their person. She also handed out a sheet containing a multitude of positive and uplifting words, including ‘fantastic’, ‘dynamite’, ‘phenomenal’ and ‘remarkable’.
Brent Ruru introduced our first speaker of the day, Mark Smith, with a barrage of compliments, and a brief story about Mark’s time in Antarctica and the gift of a crystal, which, due to a last-minute bout of cold feet, luckily stayed on the frozen continent, and not with Mark, which therefore avoided him a possible $10,000 fine when he returned to Christchurch.
“Mother’s Day out of Control” by Mark Smith, speech 3 from the Competent Communicators manual. Mark opened his speech with a brief history of Mother’s Day, including its beginnings in the U.S. by Anna Jarvis in 1908. He had obviously done his research as he was able to support the commercialisation of this holiday with statistics such as $1.53 billion annually spent on gifts, $2.6 billion on flowers, $68 million on gift cards and in NZ along, over $50 million on restaurants. Mark told us that after 9 years, and official support of this holiday by Congress, Anna Jarvis began to react against her celebration of mothers due to its blatant commercialization, her response against Mother’s Day was so zealous that she was even arrested in 1948. Mark closed his speech with a recommendation of his own regarding Mother’s Day; namely make Mum a card, celebrate her with words and deeds, give her your time and perhaps most importantly, give her the day off.
Caleb Vercoe introduced speaker number 2, Mark Glanville, very cleverly using sign language, to acknowledge New Zealand sign language week, he even showed us the sign for Donald Trump, which elicited a good laugh from the audience.
“Driving Change” by Mark Glanville, project 8 from the Competent Communicators manual. Mark’s objectives for this speech included the use of effective story-telling and not using notes. The basis of this speech were the highlights of a course he recently participated in through his work; he could share the details of this workshop with us but wasn’t allowed to provide any written material. He used both a Power Point presentation and a whiteboard to support his findings and share this knowledge with us. From this workshop, Mark’s company introduced a “Prompt card for phone enquiry”, thus ensuring key points would be discussed with each potential client, including the use of empathy for each caller and an invitation to come in for a personal discussion about the client’s needs. The initial need for this new initiative came about as there was no single ‘voice’ in regards to telephone inquiries and after the workshop, the “upshot of this change is everyone is now on board.”
Kevin Cusack introduced Helen McLeod with a thorough overview of Helen’s professional qualifications and accomplishments. Kevin then stayed on to play the role of radio interviewer for Helen’s project 2 speech from the Public Relations Manual: Radio Talk Show.
Helen started off with the statistic that one in six people in New Zealand are diagnosed with a mental illness, ranging from moderate to extreme. She then gave a detailed overview of what the Supporting Families program does and how they support New Zealander’s with mental illness and their families; 7 field officers work directly to help, advocate and support. During the Q and A session, Helen responded thoughtfully to Kevin’s questions and answered all three questions easily.
Mark Glanville announced the week’s bulletin notices, including an acknowledgement of Brent Ruru as the president elect, a Toastmasters convention that day and presented Vivian Cowey with her Competent Communicators Manual certificate.
Alan Calder, the table topics master for the day, created two word topics for the day, including Winter Fitness, Winter Driving, Winter Escape and Man Flu. These topics were skilfully spoken about by Deb McAlpine, Alanah Vickery and guests Flavio and David.
John MacVicar evaluated Mark Smith’s speech. He commended Mark on achieving his objectives and his only recommendation with to reduce the use of notes.
Mo Yakubu evaluated Mark Glanville and commended him on his use of props and for achieving his objectives. The only recommendation was for Mark to start to one side rather than directly in front of the power point presentation.
Alana Bogart evaluated Helen McLeod and highlighted that this speech wasn’t about body language but rather about the quality of the delivering and speech content, as on the radio, body language is not a factor. Alana recommended Helen be aware of her use of ‘um’s’, as a number were used throughout the talk show. She congratulated Helen on achieving her speech objectives.
Sandra Chatterton, the table topics evaluator, gave a good synopsis of each speech and also acknowledged the difficulty of the TT speech.
Terrelle Hegarty gave a very speedy breakdown of the mornings time and Danny de Hek as general evaluator, had some recommendations such as ensuring the introduction was present at every speech, nerves and body language and reading from notes. However, overall, his general evaluation was very positive.
Flavio, one of our guests, won the Toastie Award for his table topic speech on Winter Driving.
Claire wrapped up the meeting with a call to cheer away the Winter Blues by spending time with family and friends over delicious home-cooked meals and baking.