Thursday, October 5, 2017

Pets: Theme for Meeting No: 745. by guest reporter Oliver Pidgeon

My Name is Oliver or "Ollie". This was my 3rd visit to Helensvale Daybreak Toastmasters Club over the years that my Mom has been a member. As usual, all the members and guests warmly welcomed me.
To be honest, I had no idea I was going to Toastmasters. I was planning to go back to bed after breakfast, when I was ushered into my Mom’s car. I resisted at first, thinking I was off to the hairdresser or something. I dislike going to the hairdresser, as I come out looking and feeling  pretty bare and vulnerable.
I am told that the many dreadlocks that I have been growing for the past year "do nothing for my good looks and they need to go".  I protest: "Isn't  there a hair removal cream or something you could use instead of a radical trip to the hairdresser?"  Thankfully, Toastmasters is a much better place to go than the hairdresser! 
I loved todays theme: Pets, that the President Julie Anne chose. I consider myself a ‘cat person’ so was glad to be sitting next to a lovely lady called Aimee, who adores cats and a new guy called Ken, who also likes cats and who exclaimed that I was very big boy! That sounded funny coming from him as to me, he was a real giant!

There was a lot of hand clapping and laughter by everyone,  which at first, I found a bit noisy and nerve wracking, but then I relaxed and chilled out with this relaxed bunch of happy Toastmasters. 
Daniel wrote a big word on the whiteboard “Anthropomorphic”. Everyone had trouble with that word, so it wasn't  just me; what it meant and especially, how to pronounce it! 
It means “Attribution of human motivation, characteristics, or behavior to inanimate objects, animals, or natural phenomena.”
Such as the way Animals are treated like they are humans. What’s so wrong with that? Cats (and dogs) love to sit on the comfy sofa and eat delicious human food and be spoken nicely to by their human owner. I like Anthropomorphic! Dressing pets up in silly outfits, well that kind of anthropomorphism is just daft. 
Seriously, do people actually use big words like this? Big words are superfluous if you ask me.

There was a range of ages and equal numbers of boys (including me!) and girls at the meeting, so it was evenly balanced in that way. I liked that. 

There were two longer  "prepared" speeches. Christine did an inspirational type speech (A project from the story telling manual) while Ian did a speech project from the special occasion manual - mastering the toast, where he spoke in praise of a club member: my Mom! That was nice.

Paul had the very important job of timing everyone. He used a small set of 'traffic lights' which looked really cool when the lights come on. The red light means your time is up. 

Nicole and Mark evaluated these speakers. Evaluating means to give feedback in Toastmasters language. But hopefully in a kind, yet honest way. It doesn’t always come out that way though, but all Toastmasters try to learn to become better at giving and receiving evaluations.

Now, over the years, I have had to listen to a lot of speeches by my Mom when she practices at home. It can be a bit tiring at times, but I have learned a great deal from it too.  For instance...
How to use vocal variety to enhance my presentation and get the desired outcome from my audience - usually just my parents. When I increase the  volume, rate and pitch of my voice, it nearly always works in getting what I want - which is usually my food!

Aimee led the impromptu speaking or table topics segment. Thankfully, she didn't call on me. Otherwise, I would have to be evaluated by my mom, Ursula, who was evaluating the table topics. She evaluates me enough at home... For instance, she says that "I have a very strong speaking voice, but that at times I can come across as way too demanding..." Whereas, I prefer to call it persuasive speaking!

It was interesting to hear some of the answers relating to the theme of Pets. Mark was very passionate about horses and that showed in his voice and with his gestures. Ken didn’t care much for Monkeys (I can’t say I blame him - Just stick with Cats Ken, I say), but he told a good story too. 
Nicole didn’t’ really agree with the statement: that Pets reduced depression or stress. She had everyone laughing with her answer, but I guess it wasn’t very funny for her when her dog did his business in her shoes and only her shoes! In my opinion, he was trying to tell you something Nicole, evaluating you perhaps, in his doggy way? (he should have gone to Toastmasters?) 

Later Sarafina evaluated the entire meeting but especially the evaluators or whomever wasn’t evaluated already. That's a very big job..

All in all a Purrfect ending to a Purrfect meeting. By the way, its a shame that you must be over 18 to join Toastmasters; otherwise, I would definitely like to join up. 

Aimee Simpson and "Ollie", Ursula's well loved, 9+  year old  Maine Coon cat!

1 comment:

Helensvale Daybreak Toast Masters said...

Thanks for you feedback on our meeting Ollie. Glad that you enjoyed it. I'm Sorry to say that you probably will not be able to join TM even when you do turn 18, as you wear a real fur coat. So what about that trip to the hairdresser... (from your Mom)