SPEAKING OFF-THE-CUFF

Luisa Herran
Luisa Herran

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED AT OUR LAST MEETING……..

Mike Molina was Acting President as well as Toastmaster.  This is just proof that Toastmasters teaches us hands-on how to juggle different responsibilities and wear different hats.  Mike did a superb job as both.

The first speaker was Jerry Bailey and his speech was from the advanced manual project “Speak Off the Cuff”. The title: “Jerry’s Views of things”.  Jerry’s views were on the U.S. Presidential elections which reminded him of Charles Dickens’ opening of A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”  Being the ever optimist, he was able to convey that although things may not look so good the U.S. is resilient and the current state of affairs have happened before in history and here we are.  To understand the dynamic of the elections we need to view things from a global context and considering that, for the most part, the Republican party is radical.

  • Germany and refugee crisis – Germany can benefit from influx of Syrians who are young and educated while Germany has a declining birth rate
  • Relations with China
  • Obama’s agreement with Iran
  • The Trump factor
  • Russia/Syria

The second speaker was Tu Duong who presented his eighth speech entitled, “Seeing is Believing”.  Tu showed the audience through a series of pictures that what is true for one person is not true for another.  He went on to say that “there is no absolute truth, there is only your perception of truth”.  Each person has a different experience therefore the perception of truth will be different for each person depending on their circumstance.  We don’t need to agree with each other but we do need to recognize where each person is coming from.

Table Topics was led by Jim Hartnett.  These were the responses:

Ghislaine Demombynes did not tell us about herself.  She commented on Tu’s speech and how we are    subject to perception, not absolute truth.  We must have a fresh look on things.

Nick Zwemer completed “I am” by telling us he is working on a Facebook page for Miracle Mile Toastmasters and also a Facebook page for family sustainable culture.

Chris Nolte told us a story about himself.  He said the reason he is here is that he thrives in these meetings and just loves to see so many guests.  He also likes that he is  able to manipulate, in a positive sense, through his speeches.

Chris Wolfe told us what he wanted us to know about him.  He said life is short so we need to make a difference.  His 4 year old son passed on at such an early   time and as a consequence he had a burning desire to serve others.  He founded a speaking club in prison for men to help them transform their lives as they transition out of prison.

George Cardenas told us about how he was born and raised in Miami and how he loves the ocean.  He was born in the perfect place because he gets to enjoy so many water activities.

Mike Molina told us how something funny happened to him on his way to the meeting.  On his way to the meeting a friend called and Mike decided to answer thinking it would be a short call.  What he thought would be short turned out to be lengthy.  It’s funny that the thought of being late for Toastmasters made the call even longer than what it seemed.

The winners:

1st place:  Chris Wolfe

2nd place: Chris Nolte

3rd place: George Cardenas

Leisha John evaluated John Bailey’s speech.  She indicated that Jerry established his credibility early on and that he definitely is a great speaker with excellent eye contact.  Suggestions:  He drifted a bit and could have been louder.  He had a great closing.

Chris Wolfe evaluated Tu Duong’s speech.  Chris pointed out that Tu was comfortable with visual aids. His opening was good, he had 3 visual aids.  In the body he used gesture and good voice but a little too fast. Improvement: lack of repetition of the message being conveyed and weak closing, closed a little too fast.  Overall, it was a good speech.

We welcomed our guests and hope they come back soon.

Our guests were Kristin Hebert, Leeza Ovalle, Brian McMahon, Samuel Maya, Alexandra Bellon, and Paul Massad.  We welcome you and hope to see you again on the 15th!

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LAUGHTER!

Luisa Herran
Luisa Herran

HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED AT OUR LAST MEETING…

Gonzalo was our Toastmaster who had a great theme: LAUGHTER!  Laughter can lengthen our lives due to the chemical reaction it causes by releasing endorphins, reducing stress and boosting your immune system. Gonzalo did an excellent job as Toastmaster.

The word of the day was HYSTERICAL.

The only speaker for the day was Luisa Herran.  Her speech was entitled “ANGELS AMONG US”.  She shared her encounter with angels.  On one occasion, an angel comforted her in the midst of her anxiety while waiting for a response from a potential employer.  Things seemed to not be going her way.  An angel woke her from her sleep by whispering in her ear: “the job is yours” and sure enough she got the job!  The second time, an angel literally moved her car from a potential horrific accident while she traveled with her two young children.  She is certain she had an angel encounter in both instances because she felt their presence and because she believes in angels.

The Table Topics Master was Nick Zwemer.  He always brings great questions, that are fun and challenging.   Here is a recap:

Dianne Saavedra commented that she can find humor in just about everything and finds it reduces anxiety.  Any adverse situation can be defused with humor.

Tu Dong told us the funniest movie he has ever seen is Coming to America.  As a matter of fact, he finds it so funny he has watched it several times with his wife and children.  Funniest of all are the bloopers at the end of the film.

Jason Hesch finds Jon Stewart and Colbert to be the funniest people on television.  They make you laugh about everything.  Jason finished with a joke: “knock-knock.  Who’s there? To – To who? Not to who –     to whom!

Leisha John said between physical and intellectual humor, she prefers intellectual humor like Louis CK and Colbert.  Lately she has been leaning towards physical comedy because her professor in a Mortuary Director course she’s enrolled in uses it quite a bit.  This obviously defuses the tension of this type of work.

Sharon Patish would not want to have a laugh track or she would be laughing all the time.  This could have been a problem when she had abdominal surgery.  However, she remembered that the first time she laughed after surgery, it was painful.  The pain did subside the more she laughed.

Andres del Corral has found laughter in his wedding planning.  Unlike Nick Zwemer, he is not being involved by his fiancé in the details.  All he knows is that he is going on an African tour for his honeymoon

Christian Strenstrom finds humor in adversity.  He is reminded of the men in prison who use laughter to defuse their angst.  He is also reminded of how his best friend was mourning the death of his father and Chris had him over to reminisce.  They celebrated his friend’s father through laughter.

Jim Harnett shared with Andres the perfect formula for a happy marriage and life without parole.  He said the formula was to say YES to everything.

The winners of the Table Topics segment were:

1st Place: Christian Stenstrom

2nd Place: Leisha John

3rd Place: Jim Harnett

Mike Molina was the Master Evaluator and under him there were two speech evaluators, Dominique Stauffer and Leisha John.  Both ladies are great evaluators and provided important and helpful feedback to Luisa.  Salient points for improvement were:

Be more forceful/don’t start with excuses/more audience involvement/use gestures & modulation/more dramatic closing

Last but not least, we welcomed our previous guests Emy and Anna-Kaye.  Please come back, we enjoy your company.

A DEFINING MOMENT IN YOUR LIFE.

Luisa Herran
Luisa Herran

Andy Newman was Toastmaster of the day.  The theme for the meeting was  “A Defining Moment in your Life”.  Andy encouraged us to think about those times of transition that lead to a defining moment.  What made it happen?

Mike Molina was the 1st speaker.  His speech revolved around a phrase from the movie Gladiator when Russel Crowe said “what we do today echoes in eternity”.  Mike shared an experience that impacted him early in life.  He attended a private elementary school in the area and when in the 4th grade was asked not to return.  However, it was not caused by his behavior.  According to the school, his family was not contributing enough to the church.  It was meant to be.  Had it not been for this circumstance, he would have never met a teacher at his new school who inspired him to get involved in extracurricular activities. Mike wanted to be like Steven Seagal so he took up karate and jiujitsu.  Because of the discipline he developed, he found he had nothing in common with friends that involved themselves in questionable activities.  Furthermore, Mike was able to influence his brother who had addictions to the point that he put his life back together, married his high school sweetheart and is leading a good life.  Mike encouraged us to live life knowing that what you do has an impact on those around you.  Think of your actions as a game of chess.  Any move has an impact on future moves and affects the decisions you make with multiple decisions and outcomes at play.  Always think in terms of this question: “am I doing what I am committed to doing”?  Mike shared how before acting or making a decision, he thinks how that will impact his son because he wants to be the best father for his son.  Remember “what we do today echoes in eternity”.

Our Toastmaster reminded us that speeches are good opportunities to get other to know us.

The 2nd Speaker was Lina Draney who delivered her 5th speech entitled “Urban Life Crossing”.  Lina started by telling us how as a child in the Dominican Republic, she and some relatives were attacked by wild hungry animals that turned out to be Iguanas.  Fast-forward to the present, to a day when she was driving on the airport Perimeter Road.  When you get to 57th Avenue it is particularly a busy intersection.  As Lina waited at the intersection she witnessed an Iguana crossing.  Lina explained in fine detail and with gestures how the Iguana moved.  Her description was so vivid we felt like we were there watching this event alongside Lina.  She also told us how after the Iguana decided to turn back after having crossed and how a crow flew down and fluttered around the Iguana and then just left.  Lina never understood what that was all about.  However, as far as Lina could tell the Iguana was safe and out of harm’s way.  Lina was amazed at how much you miss.  As she looked around, everyone that was in their car waiting for the light to turn were busy looking down at their cell phones missing all the excitement.

The Table Topics Master of the day was Jason Hesch.  Jason’s questions were challenging.  The contestants were witty and all had good answers.

  1. Diane Saavedra, our latest Toastmaster, told us how her favorite book as a child was “Who Moved My Cheese” and gave us a quick summary
  2. Virginia Wolber told us that if she won $100,000 that couldn’t be spent on her, she would donate it to cancer treatment for someone who couldn’t afford it
  3. Felix Lorenzo had no opinion on one of the candidates running for President.  That is why he registered as Independent because he doesn’t trust Republicans or Democrats.  They are either too much to the right or too much to the left.  Politicians need to be clear, not promise what they can’t deliver.  All one can do is wish for the best.
  4. Jennifer Garcia was asked to give reasons why Donald Trump should be elected.  Jennifer emphatically replied, “DO NOT ELECT DONALD TRUMP”.  She begged both Republicans and Democrats to heed her cry.
  5. Jim Harnett told us how he would design a self-driving car.  Jim explained how the car would not have a key. The minute you walk onto the driveway the doors open automatically.  The car also parallel parks automatically.  All of this is controlled by your cell phone.  The best part is that this is the biggest hoax and all for $10,000.00

Winners:

1st place: Jim Harnett

2nd place: Felix Lorenzo

3rd place: Jennifer Garcia

The Master Evaluator was Luisa Herran who went on to give feedback on the meeting and speech Evaluators.  She commended the Toastmaster for running such a fine meeting and for explaining the mechanics of the meeting.  She also appreciated the thought provoking theme.  Luisa mentioned how both Evaluators gave excellent evaluations.  Andres Corral evaluated Mike Molina’s speech.  This was Andres’ first evaluation.  Jerry Bailey evaluated Lina Draney’s theme.  A particular area for improvement is to time your speeches adequately so you are not rushed at the end trying to wrap things up.

New Evaluators are encouraged to use the manual to follow the guidelines, which translates into a thorough evaluation.

We welcomed  our guest George de Cardenas and our new member, Diane Saavedra.