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.

Club meeting on 6-Oct-2020

Intro

Tonight was West Pennant Hills Toastmasters Club meeting 614. The theme was bring a friend which saw many guests experience Toastmasters for the first time.

The evening was conducted in a COVID Safe environment with 14 people attending the meeting; including 9 members and 5 guests.

Toast

Shreekant delivered the Toast on health and happiness. It was a timely reminder of what really matters in our lives during these uncertain times.

Word of the night

Mel introduced our word of the night ‘contagious’. This was very timely given the nature of COVID. We were also reminded that positive things are also contagious like love and laughter.

Laughmaster

Clare delivered a very funny laughmaster assignment. She had us in suspense and as usual the whole room was in tears of laugher with her punchline.

Table-topics

Table Topics was delivered by Raj who threw a few surprises into the mix; including some ms/mr universe winner speeches and our reaction to being the first man to deliver a baby. He picked members Johnny, Clare, Mark and Mel as well as two visitors Daniella and Shreekant.

Prepared Speeches

We were very privileged to hear Leah give her Ice Breaker ‘Two Paths’. It was a great insight into her life, where she talked about the two paths facing her. Leach has been a Chemical Engineer for 19 years and is currently deciding whether to continue in that path or take another path. We look forward to seeing Leach continue to grow in our club as she decides her future path.

Chris delivered his speech titled ‘how many mentors do you need’. Her gave us two example of high profile individuals – Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk from Tesla. They both had very different approaches showing there is more than one way.

Educational

Johnny gave us a 10 minute educational of Toastmasters meeting roles. He was able to give great insight on assignments including The Toast, Toastmaster of Speeches and Evaluations.

Conclusion

The Bring a Friend Night turned out to be a great success. We had 5 visitors in attendance; Shreekant, Michael, Ray, Daniella and Herleen, which we hope to see back at the club next meeting. My highlight assignment for the evening was hearing Leah’s speech. Ice Breakers are always special and this one was no different. Looking forward to seeing everyone next meeting for the contest on 20th Oct.

Written by Mark Paton

Edited by Jonathan lau

Club Meeting on 14th July 2020

On 14 July 2020, we met again for the ninth time over the Internet. At this meeting, our theme was Bastille Day, (French National Celebrations) day. It seemed like we were getting used to meeting in this way with fewer hiccups every time. However, it still was clear that we were missing each other’s company and person-to-person meetings in our Community Centre room in West Pennant Hills.

Toast

During the first part of the meeting the French national celebrations day had been mentioned few times by our Sergeant At Arms Raj, our chairman Chris Tso, and toast Mel Colgar.

Table Topics

Table topics was prepared by John Inglis. For John we had to describe an imaginary picture. It was fun and thought provoking.

Prepared Speeches

In the second part, we had the prepared speeches. Our speakers were Shirley, Jonathan, and Johnny.

Shirley spoke about her role as a protégé and finding her experienced and ideal mentor. She told us this experience as a journey that took her from a conflict to a success story and ending up having a good friendship with a colleague.

Jonathan talked about something rather scientific. He told us the difference between acute pain and chronic pain. He explained, how acute pain can be useful for us to protect us from further injuries. On the other hand, the chronic pain can be so harmful may represent a pathology that we may need to overcome just like a software problem on a computer program.

Johnny’s speech was rather emotional. He told us about importance of forgiving and loving. His speech was touchy and captured the audience attention from the beginning to the end. He told us how he came out from an ordeal/disappointment of one of his friendship by blocking the hateful feelings and replacing them with appreciation, forgiveness, and love.

Conclusion

In short, as always it was a wonderful, fruitful, entertaining, and always helpful meeting. It made us grow and contributed to each of us’ personal skills. It related to the date, which was a Bastille Day, and carried on with wondrous speeches and evaluation.

Written by Mel Colgar and edited by Shirley Childs

Club Meeting on 9 Apr 2019

The theme of the meeting was “Mind, Body and Spirit” since World Health Day was just a few days earlier.

Toast

Toastmasters are familiar with needing to deliver an impromptu speech without little warning. Benjamin Zhu stepped up to the challenge to fill a vacancy and managed to start the meeting off strong with his thoughts on mind, body and spirit.

Word of the Night

Christopher Tso introduced the concept of ‘ecstasis’, where consciousness reaches another plane and creativity flows unimpeded. Athletes, artists and hopeful Toastmasters sometimes refer to this state as the ‘zone’ or ‘flow’. Christopher managed to slip in a few examples in a humorous manner and wished for others to experience the state.

Laughmaster

Johnny Manolelis always delivers the goods when required to make a room laugh. However, this time, he managed to keep the room in suspense as he told a story where a man stopped to help a poor person. But as the charitable man handed over his money, he stopped and questioned how another man could become so unfortunate. How can a man who doesn’t smoke, drink, sleep around or gamble end up in a gutter, without money or decency? Perhaps there lies the reason?

Table Topics

Clare Fraga offered some topical questions for the room to ponder in regard to their mind, spirit and body.

  • Is laughter really the best medicine?
  • Are you what you eat?
  • Does Nike’s slogan “What you do is up to you. Just do it.” inspire you?
  • Do you think fast food is on the way out?
  • “Silence isn’t empty, it’s full of answers”. What does this mean?

Prepared Speeches

Trophy Kids

Matt Anderson asked us “what sport you would like your kids to play”? Matt explored what is involved in aiming for professional sports and why Ultimate can be a great sport for personal development. This speech was part of the Toastmasters Pathways to demonstrate that feedback can be implemented by the speaker.

Listening Filter

Shirley Childs presented a workshop on retention through listening. It is estimated that listeners only retain approximately 25% of information. We explored some of the factors that affect our ability to listen. Shirley presented this in an engaging manner as an example on how to assist your audience to retain more information.

Planning My Big Event

Johnny Manolelis demonstrated how inspiring people was his dream. Now he is making that dream a reality. Johnny set a challenging target of hosting a large public speaking event and is now on the cusp of achieving his target. In a clever business pitch, he managed convince the room to follow his dynamic leadership. Did I mention that he has even been inspired enough to publish a book?!

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.

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Table Topics Contest on 11th September

“If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would that be?” This was the question asked to each of our 7 contestants. Each contestant was escorted onto the stage, without knowing what question they would be asked. And they had to give a 1-2 minute speech about it. That’s exactly what Table Topics trains us to do. To handle unexpected situations. To be ready to speak about anything without warning.

All the contestants gave unique and well-constructed speeches. They were scored by six judges. And based on set criteria, the winners of the Table Topics Contest were announced:

1st place: Christopher Tso
2nd place: Rowlanda Orchiston
3rd place: Vicky Mina

After the contest section, we were back to our usual club meeting format.

The 1st speaker, Rowlanda impressed us again practicing her humorous speech “Got a Match?”. We gave her a “round-robin” evaluation where the audience gave plenty of valuable feedback for Rowlanda to enhance her speech. The feedback given sometimes conflicted with the feedback from another audience member, and it could have easily spiralled into a debate. That’s how passionate and engaged everyone was with Rowlanda’s second delivery of her winning speech.

The 2nd speaker, Hannah Le inspired us with her 10th and final speech in the Competent Communicator manual. It touched on an important issue in our society, where women’s voices are often marginalised in the workplace. She offered suggestions on what to do about it, and shared her own experiences on how she turned the odds into her favour. Ross Richard evaluated her speech, and he shared his observations on how Hannah has grown remarkably since she joined Toastmasters in late 2016. She’s a very different person now… much more confident and outgoing. A complete transformation also shared by other members of WPH Toastmasters.


Photo: Hannah on stage


Photo: View from the stage

Saying Goodbye to 2017, and Taking a Deep Breath for 2018

What a year it was, 2017

It came and went so fast but more importantly we managed to squeeze lots of events. The last one off all was our Christmas party 19th of December. We came together, shared food and drinks, stories and jokes. Our DJ, Rowlanda played the music that was from around the world.

It was wonderful to be together and celebrate our accomplishments.

We said good our goodbyes to 2017 just to take a deep breath for 2018!

A lot has happened since the beginning of 2018.  On the 31st of January we have done Club Speech Contest 2018 with the help of our guest judges Sandra, John and chef judge Ben.

Ross was the winner of the night one more time taking the first place. Mark came second with Rowland taking the third place.

Looking forward to a busy year ahead, feeling sweetly uneasy we are holding on to each other tightly. So, good luck everyone for 2017.