Posted by on Apr 23, 2015 in Meetings

Imagination – let your mind roam free. Imagination is intelligence having fun. This was Toastmaster Helen McLeod’s theme for the meeting and Helen kept us in the right space for imagination with a liberal sprinkling of quotes and stories on the theme. These ranged from job descriptions asking for someone with imagination, (but no mention of experience) to J K Rowling quotes, and plenty in between, one or two a bit more risqué but I didn’t manage to get them written down! Too much back chat from the floor.

GB Rodney Ford elaborated on the theme with the excellent advice to push up the positive thoughts, push down the negative. Thoughts are real forces, dominant thoughts become manifest, which equals imagination. Imagine enough and it will happen. It’s all about positive thinking.

‘Talk like Ted’ – the book, bought because he was habitually early at the airport, inspired Bryce Robb to empower us to get up and speak on stage. Bryce is passionate about public speaking and told us of some of the key pointers from the book that can assist in giving an 18 minute Ted talk, but which could be applied to any speaking situation. Talk with passion, create jaw-dropping moments that tie in with your message. Tell your story with conviction. Great advice. To further illustrate his message, Bryce concluded with recommending reading of Steve Jobs commencement speech at Stanford University.

Next John MacVicar took us back in time to the wars on the Hebrides Islands, between the feuding McLeods and MacDonalds. Aided by a map of the Inner and Outer Hebrides he described the location of castles and battles between the two feuding clans. There were captivating stories about stone-throwing, stick-wielding (and worse) crofters; trial marriages between the two clans (that would last a year and a day) finishing with the McLeod ‘bride’ returning to her clan, one-eyed, on a one-eyed horse, led by a one-eyed man with a one-eyed dog. Move over one-eyed Cantabrians! John neatly finished his speech by pointing out that we have both a McLeod and a MacDonald at Boaters who co-exist peacefully, even if they were sitting on opposite sides of the room today.

The third speech was from Alana Bogart ‘Diffusing verbal criticism’ from the Interpersonal Communication manual. Alana first explained the steps to take to diffuse verbal criticism – listen, ask questions, paraphrase, be non-judgemental – and then used a situation from her work environment to illustrate the process. Deb McAlpine played the angry parent seeking more assistance for her distraught son. Alana let her rant on, listened to her complaints to understand the issues, before she calmly, and in a caring manner, explained the options available. Helpful feedback was provided by Deb and the audience in the session afterwards.

In Table Topics Alan Calder picked up pointers from the three prepared speeches and urged participants to include passion, gestures and role play in TT and ooze imagination. What a wonderfully descriptive phrase. So we had Claire waking up as the Flash, Alannah as a cat, Helen a rhino in Africa, Steve winning $1 million and only 5 days to live and Kevin as the Incredible Hulk – or was it ‘Hunk’!!!??? Evocative descriptions given by all.

Today we had both Alana Bogart and Alannah Vickery speaking; congratulations to Toastmaster Helen for bringing them both up to the front and pointing out the difference in pronunciation of their names. Alana has 3 short As (think Alan), whereas for Alannah, the middle A is a long A as in ‘ban – a – na’. Got it? Not everyone, even after this explanation! Make sure you get it right next time. Everyone deserves to be addressed by their correct name, and in their names in the correct order!

All good fun, we need these challenges in life. Plenty of Mcs and Macs at this meeting – make sure those names are spelt right too. See you next time.

Sandra Smith

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