We covered it all

Glen Hadwen, our Mr. Toastmaster, had a fantastic meeting.  And we did cover it all from a crazy family vacation to a discussion of mental illness and how we all can work to end this crisis.

Our first speaker, Jennifer Garcia, her boyfriend and her family all met at her uncle’s home in Puerto Rico.  Imagine a lovely home on a tropical island — a vacation in paradise?  Not!  Get 9 people in close quarters, with lots of rain, high humidity and no A/C.  Have one TV and multiple choices for what to view.  A beloved and expensive pet parrot disappears, the rental car gets keyed, one person breaks out in hives and another has a swollen eye.  Add to that the continuation of a disagreement that’s lasted 30 years and you have the Vacation from Hell!  Jennifer, you mentioned that you liked ‘reality TV,’ sounds as if you could pitch this as a new series on Reality Holidays!

Susan Racher, had everyone riveted during her speech on Mental Illness.  She opened with a list of well-known people, all dead.  The commonality is that all were diagnosed with mental disorders.  And her statistics — WOW!  Twenty-five percent (one in four) of Americans have mental illness, it’s up to 30% for American Indians and Alaskan natives.  Four percent of all have a serious diagnosis.  It is the third most common reason for hospitalization and the second most common cause of death in people under 40!  How do we change this?  Three suggestions were 1) Begin a mainstream conversation on mental health; 2) Stop the stigma.  Mental illness is just that — an illness, like heart disease or diabetes;  3) Map out an eco system for assistance to families dealing with this critical situation.  MENTAL ILLNESS NEED NOT BE TERMINAL.

Table Topics questions as presented by Alex Moreira, were of course brilliant.  Our winners were: 3rd place Philip Dillon, 2nd place Sharon Patish and the winner was our founder, Jim Hartnett who admitted that he was once afraid to get up and speak.

Our evaluation team led by Jose Lobo included Cristian Stenstrom and Alex Wilson, gave everyone good pointers for future speeches.

1.  Include in your introduction something about your speech.  If it’s humorous add humor to your introduction.

2.  If Q&A is part of your presentation, pose a question first.  That helps get people thinking about additional questions.

3.  Have the Word of the Day posted on a separate piece of paper that can easily be seen by the audience.  They’ll be more likely to use it.



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