February 17 – An Open Mic Meeting?

Picture this: You’re Jerry Bailey. It’s Wednesday night, and you think, “I haven’t seen any information about tomorrow’s meeting, and I wonder if I have a role.”

He checks our webpage and discovers, “YOU, Jerry, are the Toastmaster.” His mind races into overdrive. “I have to contact the speakers and functionaries and put this meeting together.”

Fortunately, most of the functionaries were available. Unfortunately, the speakers were not. Yikes! What’s a guy going to do?

Jerry figured it was unfair to pass on the vacant speaker slot and decided to present a speech about living on a plant-based diet. His Pathways Project was about dealing with a difficult audience. He opened his speech inviting the audience to jump in with questions and comments regardless of whether they agreed with his views.

Jerry explained he has lived for years on a plant-based diet…and that’s when it happened. Enter, “Howard the Heckler.” Suddenly, we heard Howard speaking with someone on the phone about generators. The audience was confused and tried to get Howard’s attention. “You have to mute yourself.”    

Jerry continued with how he first started eliminating red meat from his diet. After a year of eating chicken, he decided to eliminate that. At which point, Howard responded with, “Hey, you know chicken is meat too…why don’t you ask a chicken if they’re meat. I mean, chickens have faces – right?”

Jerry dodged the question, moving on to the effects on the environment. He pointed out that waste passing gasses from cattle put more methane into the air. Our “Green Queen,” Leisha pointed out that the methane is caused by burping, not passing gas from the other end.

Jerry’s speech produced quite a few giggles and engaging questions about reducing the amount of meat in the diet and responsibly sourcing other foods. Wanda stated it takes 600 gallons of water to produce one pound of almonds; consider they are being harvested in a drought-affected area of the United States.   Susan Racher suggested watching a documentary titled “What the Health,” examining what non-plant-based foods do to our bodies.  

And it was finally time for Jerry to drop the mic!

Our Table Topics Master, Phil Hayden, is planning a vacation, and he needs some help. He asked our members several questions about favorite and worst vacations, best location vacations, relaxing or active vacations, and even best vacation memory. Our audience provided Phil with several ideas.

Our winners were: 3rd place, Heloisa, who told us about the most harrowing vacation she ever had; 2nd place, Leisha, who is planning a trip to Italy and hopes to incorporate an archaeological dig in Tuscany while there; and, our winner, Susan Racher, who along with her husband has taken up camping during the last 12 months. Hopefully, Phil got some awesome ideas for his vacation this year.

We always learn something at our meetings – and here is what we learned today.  

Use visuals when you can.  

We try to make eye contact with the audience when appearing in person. To achieve the same effect using Zoom, look directly at the camera.

Don’t be afraid to try something new — like an open mic meeting!

While we may not have joined Toastmasters to learn how to be comfortable, relaxed, and poised in front of an audience, coming to meetings and trying something new can get us there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.