Club Meeting 8th March 2022

Tonight’s theme was “Ethical Dilemma”. Molly Yang hosted the Table Topics session. The audience was given 2 scenarios, each one with 4 questions. The audience needed to listen very carefully to appreciate the complexity of each scenario and think about how they would act.

Scenario 1: A child was near death with a rare virus. The only drug that might save him had recently been developed by a local doctor. The doctor had spent a great deal of time and money developing the drug and was charging ten times as much for it ($1,000) as it cost him to make it ($100). The child’s mother didn’t have enough money to buy it, even after trying as hard as she could to borrow the money. She asked the doctor to sell it to her at half the price or let her pay on credit, but the doctor refused. The mother was desperate and stole the drug from the doctor’s office. (Ethical Dilemma)

  1. Imagine you’re the mother. Please explain why you were right to steal the drug?
  2. Imagine you’re the doctor. Please explain why you were right to sell drugs at market price?
  3. If someone does not agree with you, are they unethical?
  4. What would you do if you are the judge? Would you charge the mother with theft?

Scenario 2: An employee decided to leave his job in 31st July, giving his employer 30-day notice to ensure he had enough time to handover his responsibilities. However, the employer decided not to pay the employee their bonus for work done for the year ending on 30th June. The contract did state that payable bonus is at discretion of employer once employment contract terminates. However, this employee could have waited two more weeks and receive his bonus in mid-July, and give only 2 weeks notice to the employer. (Laws and Ethics)

  1. Imagine you’re the employer. Please explain why you decided not to pay the yearly bonus to the employee once you were aware they were leaving?
  2. Imagine you’re the employee. Please explain why you told your employer that you’re leaving in 30 days, instead of waiting until after you received your bonus and you had only had 2 weeks left in the job?
  3. If you were the employee, what would you do?
  4. If you were the employer, what would you do?

In the prepared speeches session, we had 2 speakers.

“Leadership with Style”, – Aaron Fluery presented a speech from Pathways Level 2. His objective was to share what he has learnt about different styles of leadership and communication.

“My Vision Brought to Life” – Johnny Manolelis presented a speech from Pathways Level 5. His objective was to develop and share a detailed vision for his personal or professional life.

Aaron Fluery presenting his speech in front of an online and face-to-face audience

Club Meeting 22nd Feb 2022

Tonight’s theme was Conspiracy Theory. Christopher Tso delivered a Toast to the inventor of the Internet, Tim Berners-Lee. As the world is moving towards more authoritarian governments, we can no longer take for granted our freedom of speech and freedom to transact. The Internet is helping us protect our freedoms because of its decentralised nature, and provides a check-and-balance on governments overstepping their boundaries.

The Word of the Night role was empty due to the assigned member having to stay home to fix things after the storm hit. Luckily, Johnny Manolelis had a spare word already prepared. It was “salubrious”.

Table Topics was hosted by Johnny Manolelis. The unlucky audience members had to pretend that they really believe in the conspiracy theory presented by Johnny, and had to explain it. We explained black helicopters, global warming, the JFK assinnation and Area 51. It was a challenging and entertaining session.

We had 3 prepared speeches.

“Jack of Many, Master of None” – Paul Da Silva delivered his Icebreaker speech. He described his journey from South Africa to Australia. He wants to improve his ability to persuade others, which is why he joined Toastmasters.

“How to Ace the Job Interview” – Harper Yang delivered her speech for the Pathways project “Negotiate the Best Outcome”. Job interviews are definitely among the most common negotiation scenes. Harper shared her experience on how she went through this negotiation process with plenty of useful advice.

“Wrong Words” – Molly Yang delivered her speech for the Pathways project “Know your sense of humor”. She shared her personal stories on how words can easily misrepresent your intentions if you are not careful. Molly struggled with this sometimes because she was not a native English speaker. For example, at a previous Toastmasters meeting when everyone was busy packing up and talking to each other, our ex-president Clare said “I feel I’m useless here. Maybe I can go now.”. Molly replied, “Yes you can go”. Haha. Poor Clare. A better way of saying it is “Thanks for your help today. We will see you next time.”

Harper presenting her speech “How to Ace the Job Interview”
Mark hosting the prepared speeches session
Chris providing an evaluation of Harper’s speech

Club Meeting 8th Feb 2022

The theme for tonight’s meeting was “Game Theory”. Game theory is a framework for understanding choice in situations among competing players. Game theory can help players reach optimal decision-making when confronted by independent and competing actors in a strategic setting.

Table Topics

During Table Topics, Mark Paton randomly picked audience members to deliver a 1 minute speech on how they would deal with each situation by using game theory. The question not only tested our impromptu public speaking skills, but also listening and problem solving skills! Anyone who participated in Table Topics is probably now an expert at Game Theory! Here were some of the questions:

  1. Prisoners Dilemma – You have committed a serious crime with your best friend – possession of drugs. If you cooperate with the investigation, you will go free and your best friend will go to jail for 20 years. If you keep your mouth shut and don’t cooperate with the investigation, you both get 2 years each. What will you choose?
  2. Cournot Competition – You are one of only two players in the market selling the new and exclusive next-gen smartphones. You can either flood the market with 1,000 phones and sell them for $1,000 each and make $1M. Alternatively, if you only produced 200 phones you would need to sell them for $5,000 or more each. You do not know how much your competitor is selling them for or how much they are producing. What do you do?
  3. Centipede Game – The maximum prize is $5,000 and will go to either yourself or your best friend.
    • Scenario A; You take $5,000, your friend decides to give it to you, you keep $5,000
    • Scenario B: You give your friend the money, your friend decided to give you the money and you win $10,000
    • Scenario C: Both take the money and both get $0.
  4. Dictator Game – Your best friend has been given an unknown sum of money. He or she will give you part of it and keep the rest. If you don’t accept the amount your friend gets nothing. Your friend offers you $500. Do you accept?
  5. Nash Equilibrium – You have a one of a kind smartphone that allows you to teleport yourself from place to place. This is sold for $5,000 per phone and costs you $2,500. A competitor is coming into the market and is planning to undercut you. Their cost is $3,500 and they plan to sell for $4,000. Do you sell for $3,499 destroy your competition and loose profitability or keep your price and margin and allow them to enter.
  6. Coordinator Game – There are 2 smartphone providers in the market. A new microchip technology is available.
    • If both companies introduce this, they will make $600M each.
    • If only one company introduces this they make $150M.
    • If no company introduces this you will continue making $300M

Prepared Speeches

My Toastmasters Reboot – Simon Jia delivered his Icebreaker speech which shared different aspects of his life with us.

Burning the Midday Oil – Aaron Fluery gave us advice on how to manage stress.

What Kind of World Do We Live In? – Johnny Manolelis explained why we should view the world as a friendly place rather than a hostile place. There was also Q&A session at the end where a couple of interesting questions were asked by the audience.

Word of the Night

Satoshi was the word that Chris asked everyone to use as much as possible tonight. A satoshi is the smallest unit of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. It is named after Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of the Bitcoin protocol.

Example Usage:

  • “I just had a satoshi moment. I finally understood how to solve the problem. This is going to be big.”
  • “Here’s my two sats” – same usage as “here’s my two cents”, but the unit is in satoshis (abbreviated as sats) instead of cents.

Christmas Party on 17th December 2019

We finished the year with a Christmas party. We inducted two new members, Andre and Molly. The third new member was Manisha who will be inducted next year. And a fourth member, Alicia, will be joining us next year. It’s inspiring to see people joining Toastmasters and we will be looking forward to seeing their personal transformation in the new year!

Secret Santa

During Table Topics, Ross lived up to his legend as Santa Clause. He also kept retrieving the gift from the bag that was donated by the Table Topics speaker… lucky Ross! Of course, the speaker would ask Ross to choose another gift that’s not their own.

John Inglis, Cherylin Liu and a couple of other members had full Christmas attire.

Dinner

The Christmas dinner was all-you-can-eat salad, pasta, dumplings, biscuits and other savoury and meaty dishes.

Prepared Speeches

Molly delivered her Icebreaker speech. She told us her story about her life in China, how she came to Sydney, and how she met her husband through Toastmasters.

Andre delivered his Icebreaker speech as well. He talked about his family, career and hobbies, and how they’ve shaped his perspective on life.

Juergen, a verteren Toastmasters member, talked about an event last week that nearly changed his life. Fortunately, his daughter survived the incident with the fallen tree and is expected to fully recover. This was a very touching story and we were reminded how all the little choices we make can have a big impact on our lives.

International Speech and Evaluation Contest on 19-November

Tonight’s meeting was packed and we needed extra chairs to accomodate visitors. It’s held every year. We had a prepared speech contest where the winner can eventually compete internationally, and an evaluation contest where we have a guest speaker and all the contestants evaluate that speaker.

In the Evaluation Contest, our guest speaker who was announced on the night, was Gustaf. He delivered an inspiring speech on Generation Greta. He revealed how many big brand grocery products that are packed and sold in Australia are actually made and imported from overseas. And he encouraged us to buy local as opposed to foreign products. He also had a bigger vision. He explained how the younger generation are actually hard working and passionate people, despite many criticisms that they are lazy.

After his speech, the contestants were escorted outside to individually prepare for their evaluations. Then each contestant returned to the stage to deliver an evaluation of Gustaf’s speech.

For the Evaluation Contest, the winners are:

  • 1st: Ross Richard
  • 2nd: Simon West
  • 3rd: Veronica Bowden

For the International Speech, the winners are:

  • 1st: William Leong
  • 2nd: Ross Richard
  • 3rd: Clare Fraga

William shared a touching story about a wife and a husband, and what happened when the wife discovered that she only had three months to live.

Ross’s speech was about The Lazy Brain.

Clare’s message for the audience was to “Be Bold”, and she used the story of a stuttering child to inspire the audience.

Chris’s message was that Truth is Personal, and that common wisdom and statistics can be beaten by the choices we make.

Club Meeting on 24 Sep 2019

Tonight was “Hat” night. It meant that all meeting roles were randomly drawn out of a hat, with the exception of prepared speeches. We didn’t know who was chairman, or who was the toastmaster hosting the speeches, or who were the evaluators. Some of the new members were thrust into a role they never did before, and it was a good way to try something new without the pressure of being perfect.

We gave a Toast to “Just Do It”. That was just what we needed to hear from Ross Richard.

The Word of the Night was “Bravo”, presented by Johnny Manolelis. The word has origins in the Greek vocabulary as well, and it means “well done”. He encouraged all the members to use the word during the meeting.

The Laughmaster by Ross Richard included an “Irish Lobsters” joke. When Ross gave us the punch line with the constable delivering the great news about the missing wife, we were laughing intensely.

The Table Topics session challenged us with thought-provoking questions about life.

  • When was the last time you tried something new?
  • What do you love and what are you doing about it?
  • What life lesson did you learn the hard way?
  • Which is worse, failing or never trying?
  • What gets you most excited about life?

“Collecting Brilliant Ideas” was a facilitated discussion based on research done by Cherilyn Liu for her university.

“A Toastmaster’s Experience” by Johnny Manolelis was another facilitated discussion about how Toastmasters can help you achieve your goals in life.

Club Executive Changeover Dinner on 18th June 2019

Tonight, we celebrated the current year and inducted the new executive for 2019-20.

Shirley Childs conducted the induction of the new executive, and asked each club officer to commit to fulfilling their responsibilities to the best of their ability.

2018-19 Year in Review

Christopher Tso was the outgoing President and delivered a speech to review the 2018-19 year. He thanked all the members for creating such a friendly, fun and engaging environment that has continually attracted visitors to come back for more. He also thanked the outgoing executive for their hard work and members who stepped up into the new executive for 2019-20.

2019-20 Club Plan

Clare Fraga was the incoming President and delivered her 2019-20 club plan. It was an uplifting and comprehensive plan. She detailed why we come to Toastmasters – because it’s a place where we can find our voice and grow as a leader and as a person, and also a place where we have fun and make friends. She plans to build on the great work of the existing leadership and maintain our status as a Distinguished Toastmasters Club where members reach their goals and enjoy the supportive and fun culture of the club.

Prepared Speeches

It was not all about business though. We had three speeches delivered by experienced members.

“Prepare for a Job Interview” – Christopher Tso performed a role play where he was a candidate being interviewed by an employer. The exact questions were not known in advance, but the interviewer had a list of questions to choose from to and come up with her own. Christopher answered all the questions without hesitation.

“Wedding Speech” – William Leong also did a role play with the audience where he delivered a speech at his sister-in-law’s wedding. He shared his childhood memories of her sister, and used lots of humour especially on how the husband of his sister-in-law can deal with her loving personality.

“How to become a Distinguished Club” – Johnny Manololis delivered a presentation to educate the members on what is a Distinguished Club and how to become one. It was very timely especially with the new executive now planning for another successful year for our club.

Club Meeting on 21 May 2019

Shirley Childs gave a toast to the club officers stepping down and the future club officers for 2019-2020. We were reminded that serving as a club officer was a voluntary unpaid activity, which is why it’s important to recognise and support our club officers.

“Zeal” was the Word of the Night, presented by Clare Fraga.

Table Topics

Johnny Manolelis forced us to think not only on our feet, but to think big, with his impromptu questions.

  • Tell your secret. How do you get your hands on 3 billion dollars net worth?
  • You are the CEO of Coca Cola. Explain how you will increase your turnover by 100 percent in the next 2 years?
  • You own 48 million dollars in new lottery created. You need to spend it in one week. What’s your action plan?

Hospital Waiting Rooms, Vicky Mina

Vicky recounted an amusing story about getting blu-tack stuck in one of her ears, which totally blocked her hearing in that ear. She went to the hospital, believing that it would be a quick fix. T incident went much longer than expected, but it was fixed in the end and Vicky learnt to be more careful with using blu-tack as her ear plugs.

What I learned about my son’s violin, Helena Zhang

Helena explained the benefits of learning a musical instrument, such as improving your concentration and math skills, and reducing anxiety and stress. She used her son’s violin lessons as an example. Initially, her son was interested with violin, but later wanted to give up because of the steep learning curve. But once the initial learning curve is overcome, Helena believes that her son will appreciate the beauty of the musical instrument.

Interview practice run, Jagath Peiris

Jagath delivered an job interview role play, where he was a job candidate and an audience member was the interviewer. The interview questions included “how your experience relates to this position”, “what are your strengths”, and “tell me a difficult situation in your career and how you managed it”.

Will You Marry Me? Christopher Tso

Christopher presented a marriage proposal to his girlfriend. This was also a role play with an audience member, who volunteered to be the girlfriend listening to his proposal. Christopher reminisced how he met Molly, and the conflicts they had to deal with early in the relationship. The conflicts actually made the bond much stronger between them. And they were now at a stage where they both trust, understand and appreciate each other so much that it feels like they’re married already, even though it’s not on paper yet.

Club Meeting on 26 Mar 2019

“The Great Debate” was the theme of the night. Johnny gave a Toast to “Debate”, because that is how everyone discusses what they want, and no one is absolutely right or wrong. Without discussion, the world would not be the same.

Word of the Night

“Deliberation” was the word that Clare wanted us to use during the meeting. She gave plenty of examples, such as “the jury returned verdict after four hours of deliberation”.

Laughmaster

Matt Anderson delivered a humorous story based on his work in motorsports. A business supplier of his discovered hundreds of dead crows on the race track. The cause of death appeared to be due to vehicle impacts. There was growing environmental concern about the race track, and so Matt did an investigation. Eventually, Matt spoke to a scientifically-minded colleague who explained to him the exact cause of death.

Table Topics – The Great Debate

“The cost of detergent is increasing. Romans used urine to clean clothes. Should budget-minded Australians do the same?”. This was the topic that we were asked to debate. Johnny randomly selected three speakers on each side to either speak affirmative or against the proposal.

The affirmative side won by a narrow margin, based on the chairman’s scoring on content and delivery. The performance was so good, that hopefully no one took it seriously and decided to wear clothes that smell of urine!

Prepared Speeches

Are we controlled by our microwaves?, by Benjamin Zhu

Ben posted an important question: “Are we outsourcing too much parenting to the Internet?” As most people now rely on their smartphone and other smart devices to tell them what to do, we’ve lost some level of control. And sometimes, losing control can even cost lives, as in the case of the Boeing 737 crash which was caused by a software malfunction.

He also talked about smart home appliances, such as Google Home and Amazon’s Smart Microwave knowing more about our lives than we do, and controlling more of our lives. A smart microwave can collect data for health insurance companies because it knows your eating and living habits.

The Life Choices We Make, by Mel Colgar

Mel explained how vision of the future affects the choices we make everyday. All the small actions we take is going to support our vision, whether you know it or not. Your vision of what life will be in 5-10 years will have sights and sounds, such as the bustling noise of the city, or the tranquility of living in the countryside. A good exercise to prove how powerful your vision is to rewind back 5-10 years, and recall the vision that you had about your life today. Very likely, you’re now living your vision and the past version of you would be happy with where you are now.

Being Ordinary is a Blessing, by Helena Zhang

Helena delivered her first speech at Toastmasters. She shared a couple of stories that touched her personally… a girl who was once beautiful and today looks much older than her age, and gets scolded by her husband in public… and a friend who had a very successful career in accounting and suddenly forced into early retirement because of health problems. Those stories made her appreciate her life more, even though she has an ordinary life and an ordinary husband.


Club Meeting on 12 Mar 2019

The meeting theme was “Autumn”, since it was the first meeting in Autumn 2019. Christopher Tso was the chairman and he explained how Autumn can be seen as some as the “unhealthy season” where we begin to stay more indoors, or be seen more positively as the “introspective season” where we give more time for ourselves and relax more.

Table Topics

Vicky Mina hosted the Table Topics session where she asked individual audiences to deliver a 1 minute impromptu speech in response to a question.

Here’s a sample of her questions:

  • Your neighbour blows leaves into your front yard. What would you say to your neigbour?
  • The weather has changed from hot to cold and now you’re feeling sick, but your sickness is not contagious. Your friend has invited you out and promised it’s going to be an interesting day. What would you say to your friend?
  • What does it mean to change your mind like the weather?
  • Summer is over. What do you look forward to in Winter/
  • Would you choose to go to a beautiful beach or a mountain?

Speeches

Don’t Believe in Handsome Blondes, by Clare Fraga

Clare captivated us with her past adventure into the Alps where she learned skiing for the first time in her life. This was a speech that required Clare to focus on using her body language. And she did that extraordinary well, showing us the “duck position” and the swurves and jumps she had to endure in the snow.

We shared her fun and excitement… and also embarrasment. The ski instructor was a handsome blonde who reassured Clare the she was ready for the big slope.

The moral of her story – some things in life need a bit more practice before you do it in the real world, regardless of the comforting words from a handsome blonde.

Education for Girls in the Third World, by Rowlanda Orchiston

Rowlanda delivered a persuasive speech that made us appreciate the benefits of living in a developed country versus third world countries especially in regions where the Taliban is powerful.

One such benefit we often take for granted is education. And education is difficult to access when you’re a girl living in a region with Taliban presence, constantly witnessing murders, harassment, bombings and brainwashing.

The danger is brought to life, when we heard the words spoken by a Taliban, “you should not go to school”, heard about schools being bombed, and a girl named Malala Yousafzai who supported female education was shot by the Tabliban.

Rowlanda announced that this was her last speech before leaving the club to pursue her next adventure in life – to help bring education to girls in third world countries.

What’s Important in Negotiation, by Jagath Peiris

Jagath explained the different types of outcome that arise from negotiations – Win Win, Win Lose, Comprise (i.e. Lose Lose), Walk Away.

He used a personal example to explain how sometimes, maintaining a good relationship is more important than achieving a good negotiation outcome for yourself. In many work situations, people get rewarded for winning and they forget about the relationships. And companies only realise this mistake when they lose market share.

Jagath gave us some important advice – research the people you’re dealing with, where they are coming from and be aware of the tactics they may use to influence the outcome.

Yannis the Greek Immigrant, Johnny Manolelis

Johnny delivered his humorous speech which made everyone in the room laugh non-stop. His story was full of humorous encounters since he came to Australia in 1990. He detailed his difficulties in dealing with cultural differences.

For example, his encounter with a female hotel staff, where she would end the sentence with “darling” or “love”… but in Greek culture those words meant you were on a date.

His other encounters include watching cricket and going to a friend’s BYO barbeque. If that wasn’t enough, Johnny maintained a Greek accent throughout which added to the quirky humour.

New Member Induction

We inducted our newest member, Helena Zhang. She gave us the Word of the Night, “Vibe” at the start of the meeting, which set the positive vibes for the rest of the night. We’re very happy to welcome Helena and the energy she brings to our club.

fznor