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.

Winners of our Club Evaluation Contest

Here is another fun and nourishing event yet again!

On December 5, 2017, we competed against each other to evaluate our guest speaker of the night, Sabesh Sitsabesan. Ross Richard was also presented his DTM Plaque by Shirley Childs.

We had well-experienced and full-of-wisdom guests and visitors from other clubs. They kindly helped us carry out our evening with our Contest Chair Christopher Tso and District Director Shirley Childs. Ross was the winner of the night as I took the second place.

Ross was surely the star of the night. He was given the International Distinguished Toastmasters Plaque (DTM) together with his medal and badge by our director Shirley Childs.

In events like this, we come together and share moments of excitement and rewards. The end product is always that growth that we are all after. After every meeting, I cannot help but congratulate myself because I am a member of the club.

Written by: Mel Colgar VVPR and VPM

Kingi Biddle’s Bird Seeds on World Champion Public Speaking

On the 7th of November 2017, Kingi took us to a journey in ourselves and reminded us that we were all unique in delivering our messages.

He was comfortable during his entire speech. He knew how to connect with each one of us in his own way. We could not feel anything glossy or pre-packaged about him. He spoke right from his heart, reaching to ours with ease. Kingi told us that he had brought some ideas for the night so that we could pick the ones we liked, just like the birds would pick their favourite seeds from a pack.

Thank you Kingi. We now appreciate more than ever, that the message we deliver has the greatest importance in our speeches and must be done in our own way.

If we were to write on the wall to remind us for future speeches, it would be:

Start with the message that you want to deliver… and ask yourself “who cares” and “so what’s the point”? When you know what you want to say, then it’s easy to know how to say it and quickly get to the point. And when you allow your message to be a part of you, and deliver it as yourself, then others will follow along your journey and engage with your message.

How to Write a World Championship Speech Workshop

When: Tuesday 7 Nov 2017
Where: Dural Memorial Hall
604 Old Northern Road, Dural
Time: 7.00 for 7.15 pm start
Contact: Mel Colgar VPPR
E: mcolgar@bigpond.net.au
M: 0409 916 002
RSVP: Monday 30 Oct 2017

 

A New Zealand Te Arawa descendant, a devoted Toastmaster and champion public speaker. Kingi was runner-up at the World Championship of Public Speaking in 2013.

Kingi has spent many years in the broadcasting industry as a Radio Announcer and TV presenter. He loves putting smiles on the faces of the people he talks to every day, whether he is on radio or tv.

Kingi is the husband of Wendy, the father of four awesome children and the grandfather, it’s hard to believe, the grandfather of 3 divine and angelic grand-daughters. They are the apples of their young grandfather’s eye.

His current passion is that of keynote speaking and delivering his presentation skills seminar called “Take yourself there”

“I am a descendant of great storytellers who used their words to carve visions in the minds of their people,” Kingi said.

“Effective communication is like painting a vivid picture into the minds and hearts of people. Magic will literally grow around you.”

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We Made It to Top 3 in Area M2 Contest 2017!

Today was the day Rowlanda and Mark shone like the stars among all the contestants. The represented West Pennant Hills Club so well and took the third place in Table Topics and Humorous Speech contest in the Area M2 Contest at The Hills Club Baulkham Hills.

Thank you Rowlanda and Mark. We are proud of you both.

We had to help present their certificates and awards!

Humorous Speech Contest on 15th August 2017

We had a massive turnout, with nine excellent speakers competing in our club’s Humorous Speech Contest.

Rowan Kunz was first place winner. His speech title was “The Professional Procrastinator”. He took over the stage, charmed and captivated his judges and audience as always. Congratulations Rowan!

Rowlanda Orchiston was second place winner. Her speech title was “I Talk to the Trees”. It was a very entertaining story about some embarassing moments when she was a school kid.

Jason Xu was third place winner. His speech title was “Names”. A very funny take on how names can become a big deal.

Mark Paton’s speech was titled “The Worst Decision Of My Life”. He didn’t make it to the top 3, but he’s agreed to share his video so that we can learn from it.

The other speakers also delivered captivating speeches. Their names and speech titles are below:

Tuo Zeng – “Tuo”
Vicky Mina – “A Man’s Best Friend”
Siva Hesavan – “I Don’t Want To Go To Kids Parties Anymore”
Mel Colgar – “Midlife Crisis”
Christopher Tso – “Delegate Before You Do Anything”

Well done to all contestants and everyone who helped create a fantastic evening.