Charlie called the meeting to order at 5:30 pm sharp. Seven were in attendance: five members and two guests, a typical number for a summer meeting on a beautiful evening. Charlie (Sergeant at Arms), Don (VP Membership), Crystal (Division Director), Andrew (VP Education), John A. Guests: Warren and Ed.
Andrew brought news from our Club President, who was away on other business. The International Conference is in Las Vegas, NV in mid-August. If any club member is attending, please be in touch with our president, as she would like to assign the club's proxy votes to you, so you can have the pleasure and honor of voting them at the Conference. Otherwise, they will be assigned as is customarily done to the District Director. Andrew turned the meeting over to Crystal who acted as toastmaster.
The word of the day was Flanerie, meaning "idle, aimless behavior."
Crystal helped our functionaries and officials for the meeting explain their roles, and then she called up Andrew as Table Topics Master for a round of impromptu speeches.
Table Topics revolved around giving a traffic report for the state of Connecticut, and the condition of roads and obstacles on I-91, I-95, and I-84 — with the added complication of disasters both natural and fantastic.
- Charlie's report helped motorists escape the ravages of ten thousand Toastmasters converging on Hartford; he urged taking secondary roads to avoid the traffic on I-91 north and I-95 east, with some slowdowns on I-84.
- Don reported from New Britain on the challenges of dealing with a local alien invasion, and urged motorists to head east or south, but to avoid western routes so as to bypass the giant green men.
- John urged motorists to abandon their regular commute and head south and west to avoid the rapidly-advancing glacier that had already covered Springfield, Enfield and the northern reaches of Hartford.
- Ed, our guest, agreed to take on the role of traffic correspondent, and helped our intrepid commuters trying to get to work in the face of volcanic eruptions in the area of Meriden.
- Crystal advised motorists on how to avoid the meteor strikes that had taken out parts of I-91 and I-95, and suggested that central Connecticut was to be avoided entirely, but that route 9 and route 17 south were both still open.
- Andrew, at the insistence of members, helped the morning rush-hour commuters avoid the dragon lately perched on the ruins of the statehouse, the orc horde demolishing houses in Fairfield county, and the faeries who had overrun New Haven.
Most of the speeches clocked in at about a minute and a half, which is about right for the typical traffic report.
We had three speeches in the Prepared Speeches section of the meeting.
- Crystal went first. Working from the Specialty Speeches Manual, she gave a sales talk on why Toastmasters is a great buy if you want to learn to be a better speaker and leader. She spoke about her own experiences, and how she came looking for leadership training, but grew to value the public speaking experience equally. It was a great sales pitch.
- Don gave the second speech, on the Iwo Jima Memorial in New Britain, Connecticut. Don is rising into a leadership role in the Marine Corps League here in Connecticut, and part of his work with them will be involved in providing docent and interpretation services at the Memorial. His love for the Memorial and for the men it commemorates shone through. Don is working on the advanced manual, Speaking to Inform.
- John gave the third speech, How to Become a Lutheran Pastor, outlining the procedures he is going through in order to become a pastor in the ELCA. It was John's last night with us, and it was enlightening to hear how he has made Toastmasters part of his eight-year-long education process to be ordained. This was John's second speech out of the Competent Communicator Manual. We wish him the best as he returns to Minnesota, and we hope he continues with Toastmasters!
The meeting continued with evaluations. Andrew served as General Evaluator; Ed was our timekeeper, and Warren served as both Ah-Counter and Grammarian.
- Charlie delivered a warm and encouraging evaluation of Crystal's speech; he spoke fondly and memorably about watching Crystal's first speech five years ago, and noted some of the many ways that she'd improved over the course of her time in Toastmasters.
- John delivered a positive evaluation of Don's speech, while noting some areas for improvement, notably in learning to let the speech flow out, rather than getting too bogged down in missed details.
- Andrew evaluated John's speech. He noted how the structure of the pastorate process lent itself well to organizing a speech, and how the recognition of an underlying structure allowed for the use of extemporaneous asides.
Andrew asked for reports from the meeting officials. Warren reported that we spoke with good grammar, and that we had relatively few ummms and ahhhs, but that we tend to repeat words and re-start sentences too frequently. Ed reported that most of us were exactly in our time windows for each project (with the exception of Andrew, who is a bit of a windbag?)
After a formal good-bye to John and some closing remarks, Andrew closed the meeting with his first-ever bang of the gavel at 7:00pm exactly.