Thursday, January 16, 2014

VPPR on a Road Trip 5 - San Diego, California

As you may know, your intrepid VPPR (that's me - Hollie Rose, CC) is on a Road Trip. I have determined to make Toastmasters a part of this adventure. I'm blogging about other clubs I visit.

This time I'm in San Diego!

Toastmasters club #2327386
GSDBA Toastmasters
San Diego, California
Jan. 9, 2014 6pm
Location: The Inn at the Park - Balboa Room - 525 Spruce Ave. San Diego, CA 92103

I picked the hotel I'd stay in for three different reasons. 1 - It was very close to Balboa Park and all the Museums and art there. 2 - I found a great sale rate online. 3 - It had a Toastmasters meeting in one of the meeting rooms on exactly the day I was arriving!

Turns out, after an afternoon in La Jolla, I encountered more traffic than I expected. I got to the hotel at about 5:50 pm. I had just enough time to check in and go running downstairs to the Balboa Room. I walked in about 2 minutes before the meeting started.

What a friendly group! Small but very open. I often like the smaller meetings best because I can actually get to know the members some.
To start the meeting everyone introduced themselves - possibly for my benefit and it was much appreciated.
There was Steve Doster - President, Yvette Currie - VPE, Bob Sanchez, Milo Grecian, Stewart Bornhoft, Ryne Ramos, Cory Russo, Pamela MacPherson, Kris Angell, Bob Ristow and me. Later we were joined by Amir Shayan and everyone joked that he's often late.

The theme for the meeting was "Life at the Speed of Mayberry." Toastmaster of the day Bob Ristow gave an interesting and complete vision of why he chose this theme. Recounting a particular episode of an Andy Griffith show and how it led him to this theme. At some point in this monologue he used the word "flustrated" which I loved so much I wrote it down with three exclamation points in my notebook!!!
Basically the idea was that to rush around from place to place all the time like so many of us do, just doesn't give the best experience of life. In the episode he told us abut a visitor through town had his car break down on a Sunday and spent countless hours chasing people down trying to get it fixed only to learn that they'd gone fishing or don't work on Sundays. By the end of the half hour he'd decided he liked Mayberry's speed and decided to stay a bit.
Bob encouraged us to slow down and enjoy life at a laid back pace. Life is not meant to be sped through.

Grammarian Stewart explained his role like we do it in Cromwell Community TM. Not just as grammar police, but keeping an ear open for "awkward or interesting phrasing." 
The Word of the Day was Flexibility and while all members are encouraged to use the word, Table Topics speakers are especially encouraged to do so.

The Table Topics Master was Cory Russo and he used Mayberry as his jumping off point for a theme loosely connected by the topic of old tv shows.
First TT speaker was President Steve Doster who told us about his part playing Opie in the movie of the Andy Griffith crew all grown up, and how it wasn't the blockbuster it was expected to be. The movie went right to TV.
Second was Yvette Currie. She was asked to explain how it was that the Professor on Gilligan's Island could make a radio out of a coconut but yet he couldn't fix a hole in a boat. She justified the Professor's inability by talking about the differences between book smarts and street smarts.Lastly, Amir was asked about Goofy and Pluto and why one talks and walks on two legs, while the other barks and walks on al fours. They're both dogs after all! Amir was great! He talked about the flexibility of doing table topics when you have no idea who Goofy and Plato are! Isn't Plato a Philosopher?
GSDBA Table Topics was fun all the way around.
This groups shares heartfelt laughter a lot and the warmth and camaraderie is palpable.

Speech # 1 - CC Manual, project 4, How to Say It
Title: Believe by Kristine Angell. Evaluated by Pamela MacPherson.
Believe is a simple but weighty word.
Kris is an Ethnographer. She shared with us exactly what that means and how it helps people and companies learn more about their products. With examples, she told us how her works helps them understand when users and customers go "off label." Her works helps them to see when people stop following directions in order to make the product work for their needs. Very interesting. I learned a lot from this speech.

"We need a second speaker."
Me - "Okay, I'll do it."

Speech # 2 - Custom Speech
Title: Flexibility at the Speed of Mayberry by Hollie Rose. Evaluated by Kristine Angell.
This theme and word of the day was perfectly suited for me to tell some of my story. I talked abut my walkabout and the freedom I'm experiencing to change my plans and my mind about the direction I'll go and the need for flexibility to adjust one's thoughts while on the road in order to be open to the situations that present themselves. I also touched on the fact that I'm doing this partially in order to really enjoy life and the places I visit. Much like the visitor to Mayberry in the episode Bon Ristow told us about, I'm in no hurry.

My evaluation by Kris was (and this is no exaggeration) one of the very best evaluations I have ever gotten as a Toastmaster. In a few short minutes she told me what was good and/or distracting about my stance, my hand movements, my eye contact, my use of today's themes, my voice modulation and the fundamentals of the organization of my speech. She told me what was phrased well, what impact my stories and examples carried both as personal stories and as stories, traits and overarching perspectives from which others can learn. AND she told me exactly how to improve. 
She said this was only her second evaluation! Kris, I hope you participate in your club's next Evaluation Contest - you are a natural and I appreciated your insights. I am vey glad I was able to learn from you!

The meeting wound down and I give props to Stewart's Grammarian report as well - it was filled with great detail of both interesting and awkward moments. Great job!

Proving the extra special friendliness of small Clubs... A couple days later, while sitting on a bench waiting for a restaurant to open, I hear someone say my name with a questioning tone. It was Stewart. He recognized me and I was so pleased he stopped to say hi. Thanks for being so welcoming and awesome GSDBA!

I didn't remember to bring my camera in with me from my car when I literally ran from the check-in desk to the meeting so this photo of the club was taken with my phone. And the photo of me was taken by Bob Sanchez with his phone.

Thanks everyone! I loved meeting you and hope to visit again someday!

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