World Emoji Day on 17 July 2018

What a sizzling emoji meeting! We set the highest level of camaraderie, good content, harmony, and just unequalled quality of everything going on the programme. This is the kind of meeting to dream up and create.

We all went home on Cloud Effervescence. I had never experienced anything like it, and couldn’t get to sleep.

Humour levels went through the mercury; the walls shook with booming male laughter, while the ladies raised the roof with their own reaction to the hilarity. Our Word of the Night was “interesting”, and so it was.

Our visitors were many; eight as I recall, and for those who had never been to a Toastmasters’ meeting they were wooed to think about joining, on the first night. Everyone contributed; no-one sat as a wallflower. The upbeat nature of the pace and programme just swept everyone into an “all -in- common” basket of riotous colour.

The Toast for World Emoji Day

Christopher Tso delivered a Toast for World Emoji Day.

Remember when the Internet was invented? We used to have a dialup modem. A modem speaks data over a channel that’s designed to carry the human voice. The whistling sound you hear in the modem is actually the modem asking the modem on the side, “can you hear me?” And the other replies, “I heard you.” Back and forth until they’ve found a frequency range that is able to transmit data. It wasn’t surprising that the Internet was slow. It was the early days of the Internet.

In fact, phone companies in those days would attempt to ban the use of modems on their network. They said, “why do you need to transmit voice using a modem? We already have a voice network.” And later, “why do you need to transmit video? We already have TV.”

Bill Gates, who was an early proponent for the Internet, was once ridiculed on an TV interview for believing that the Internet would change the world.

And yet, here we are today, in a very different world, because of the Internet. A world that no one expected would change so fast and become so different.

The Internet is still evolving. We now have Bitcoin and other crypto assets which are changing the world. We don’t see it yet, because we already have electronic banking, full-time corporate jobs, access to credit and other benefits in a developed society.

We don’t see why it could be any better, until it becomes better and we’re forced to adapt or fall behind the curve.

What does this have anything to do with World Emoji Day? The world doesn’t change when new technology is invented. The world changes when people use their creativity and make the technology do things that not even the inventors anticipated.

We invented emojis as a way to express our emotions over text communication. It serves as a reminder that innovation requires people to use the technology in creative ways. Without the users, there’s no value in the technology.

Table Topics

Vicky Mina hosted Table Topics, which covered everything from puppies to cats, to the role of CEO of Telstra, defending their recent embroilment in the papers, and a brand-new member spoke as Head of Optus, handling it with aplomb.

We were thrown, like a rollercoaster, onto the fast track of speaking on our feet, and being tossed the curly one. How does one handle that question! Everyone carried their role in style. One of the guests even used his ripped shoe to illustrate his dread of dogs! All good theatre.

Here’s three of the questions. Try answering them on the spot!

“You are a Telstra representative, explaining to the public about why Internet connection speeds are slow. You’re instructed not to blame the gamers as they comprise a large percentage of Telstra’s customers.”

“You are a representative for an energy company that’s under scrutiny for charging high prices to increase its profit margins. You need to justify the actions of your company to the public.”

“You’re a teacher. One of your students think they did very well in their exam, but actually didn’t. How would you explain to the student?”

Johnny Manolelis answered the last question. He came up with very humorous responses off the cuff. I wonder why he’s not a highly paid comedian (or maybe he is, but he doesn’t want us to know). Here’s two excepts of his answer that were memorable:

“I’ve sent letters to your mum and dad, and not getting responses. Do they even read English?”

“I’m going to be very kind to you. I am going to give you a mark of one for attendance.”

The Break and Into The Masterful Speeches

At the break, after some of our guests dipped into a wildly decorated cake that dazzled, with its chocolate “statement”, they began to get the feel of what makes the members of this fun-filled club tick.

Then, it was time to experience the second half. Each speech serendipitously harmonised with each other. Serious topics were handled with sensitivity and depth. The audience was touched and impressed by what each person had to say, from their deepest convictions, journeys and unique perspectives. You could hear a pin drop in that room, that night.

The One Thing

Ben-Burt Smit explained the one thing that changes everything. It can destroy governments and relationships. It can create prosperity in many dimensions. What is it?

Trust.

Trust us the foundation of leadership. Trust is like a currency. You make good decisions, you get currency. You make bad decision, you lose some currency.

He continued to explain how we can build trust.

We Are Equals

We invited Kageni Njeru to speak at our club, and Charlie Starrett to do an evaluation.

Kageni’s speech inspired us with a powerful message. Be proud of who we are, and to treat each other as equals. If you believe someone is treating you as inferior, then don’t. It’s only when you allow yourself be treated inferior that you become inferior.

Her message was delivered through a very personal story, where she experienced multiple forms of discrimination. Although she delivered in a calm manner, it got people in the audience very emotional, with some even wanting to cry.

Reflections

It is now Thursday, and I have not been able to stop thinking about that night, how it made me feel, and what magic dust must have been sprinkled on the shoulders of everyone in the room.

Can we recreate it again? Recapture the essence that was there? Yes, by jingo, we can!

Co-authored by Rowlanda Orchiston and Christopher Tso

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