It is always a bright moment when the room fills up, camaraderie begins, and something new is in the air. As the theme was “Charlie Chaplin”, (very old) and someone was dressed as the much loved comic, it became the question: will his famous antics permeate the meeting in 2018?
And so, in the one minute impromptu section, the Table Topics Master stood up with her cane, bowler and in white face, to introduce the questions. All were centred around inventions being used at the time of Charlie’s booming film career. Some were obscure, never heard of, and strangely phrased! But at least it got people into the mindset of the 1920’s. A black and white photo of Charlie in repose presided over the meeting, his sleeping form surrounded by a bevy of beautiful girls, decked out in evening flapper dress.
Then the Toastmaster of Speeches, Hannah Le, introduced the speakers.
First up to speak was Faye Tang. She always manages to keep peoples’ attention because of her stance, words and message. Her subject was education, and how fortunate she feels to have come to Australia where the whole thrust in instruction is for children to enjoy learning, rather than the pressure-cooker methods used back where she grew up, in China. Deep was her feeling for this topic, and this came across strongly.
The second speaker was Mel Colgar, who had everyone straightening up in their seats as she spoke about posture. Being a passionate physiotherapist, this message is a pressing one, as we sit for much longer than our parents and grandparents did, with resulting bad posture, lots of backaches, and risks to our health. Being well reminded, we became pinned to an imaginary board strapped to our backs (a visual image of a room full of Toastmasters in strait-jackets is a comic one, ha ha!).
Christopher Tso addressed us, with his customary dry wit, on the subject of running a business, and the pitfalls that crop up in communication. As always there was plenty of content that was interesting, even for people not in the business world, and it set the scene for how commerce is conducted in a hi-tec world.
Then Johnny Manolelis spoke, on a subject he too was passionate about. He startled us with a surprise “hook” to get our attention, a feigned negative, then switched it to talk about the need for kindness in the world. The mantra: “change the way you look at things and the things you look at change” was what we went away with, and this is an arresting message, to keep ringing in one’s head. Best to write it on the ‘fridge’ where it can be seen when taking out the milk (of human kindness, if you’ll forgive the pun).
One of the attentive visitors that night joined the others in agreeing it was an enjoyable and very educational night. And this person with the “pen” would rather be learning at Toastmasters than sitting in front of the “box” on a Tuesday night!