Communication and Leadership Skills

Learning Every Day

Toastmasters St Kieran’s Manly Vale had another, lively Zoom meeting with two very special guests on June 10, 2020.  The theme of the meeting was “Learning every day” and our special guests were our outgoing Area Director, Adrian, and our new Area Director, Ricky. The meeting was chaired by Kesh and we had 14 active members and two guests attend.

Warm up – “Learning every day”

We opened the meeting with a Warm Up, where everyone spoke between 45 seconds and 1 minute about “Learning every day”. As always, it was an interesting and fun-filled session. I’m always excited by the many varied perspectives our members hold. 

  • Eva spoke about watching babies learn every day and how babies are like sponges.
  • Mark spoke about wishing he were more like a sponge than a rock. Ha!
  • Ilona expressed how precious it is that we learn from each other. And that it’s never too late to learn, regardless of age. 
  • I loved Angela’s story about how her weekly delivery of mystery veggies means she is learning new recipes every week. (Makes me want to get a weekly delivery of mystery veggies myself!). What to do with parsnips? I digress…

Word of the Night

Angela was the Grammarian for the night and her word for the meeting was “shambolic”, which means disorganised or mismanaged.  What a great word!  

In the end, three members successfully used the word. 

Toast – The Power of Thought 2.0

Ilona delivered the toast that coincidentally was the same as the toast at the last meeting (The power of thought) – but with a different take! That’s the neatest thing about Toastmasters – you can take the same topic but have it be approached so differently by each member. 

Many members of our group are intrigued by this concept and had a lively What’s App conversation about the power of thought and “What the Bleep”, amongst other things, after the meeting.

Ours is a group that is a fun and supportive community, so we often communicate between meetings using What’s App.

Mark’s Prepared Speech – “From Analysis to Intuitive Flow”

Mark’s speech assignment was to consider different communication styles and identify his primary communication style. He delivered a beautiful speech about balancing the yin and the yang – his analytical style which dominates with his intuitive “flow” style from which music and lyrics emerge. 

He shared about how he achieves “flow” when he “gets out of his own way” and enters a state of grace. So inspiring!

Paul’s Prepared Speech – “Beginning a Speech” 

Paul’s speech was about how to begin a speech. He revealed that people tend to give a speaker 15-30 seconds to hook them, and then attention can be lost. 

He suggested that it’s important to explain why you are talking to the audience and why it’s important to them. 

Some suggested introductions include:

  • Make a startling statement
  • Ask a question
  • Arouse suspicion or curiousity
  • Begin with a quote
  • Reference an occassion

He suggested that you avoid:

  • Talking about the amount of time you’ve spent preparing 
  • Mentioning that you are unprepared
  • Being dull and boring!

Table Topics – Favourites!

We had a fun-filled Table Topics session led by me! Our members shared their “favourites” in spontaneous, 1-2 minute speeches.

Some of my favourite “Favourites” included:

  • Favourite gemstone (Angela) – started with opal and then explored others, but I latched on to opal, because it’s my fav! 
  • Favourite travel destination (Kesh) – New Zealand south island- now at the top of  my list!!
  • Favourite time of the day (Eva) – the end of the day, once the day’s obligations are done and she is in her own space
  • Favourite year of your life and why (Ilona) – hasn’t happened yet! Her goal is that every year becomes her favourite

My favourite quote of the night came from Filimon – “Own one thing (idea) rather than leasing many.”

Farewell and Hello!

Our current Area Director, Adrian, shared some final thoughts with us. He’s been a terrific Area Director and visited our club several times this year, including when we hosted a speech competition in November.

Then our incoming Area Director, Ricky, shared his Toastmasters experience. He is a member of DY RSL and in three years, has had three promotions at work!

He said that he is inspired by the quality of people at Toastmasters and that the supportive environment is infectious. He has been encouraged to advance his leadership roles rapidly and is taking it on!

We look forward to working with Ricky this upcoming year. 

You’re Invited!

I hope these meeting summaries give you a flavour of what our meetings and culture are like at St Kieran’s Manly Vale. We meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month.  We’d love to have you as our guest. Simply email our VP Membership for more details.  Link is on our home page or email toastmastersmanlyvale at outlook dot com

(Why do we write the email address that way? So that we can avoid phishing/spam bots!).


Karen Robertson. Toastmasters St Kieran’s Manly Vale VP PR.