Thursday’s Sierra Speakers meeting was full of fun and creativity as our ace Toastmaster Anna Lien punctuated each stage of the meeting with a quirky joke – many involving accountants – and Table Topics speakers stepped up to the challenging task of linking four random phrases into a story.
Our three speakers delivered, with Vicky Cheng opening with the speech “Tips from an Expert Beginner,” in which she ran us through various martial arts techniques including by demonstrating a few moves with the help of volunteer Helen Chao. It was Vicky’s second speech and she did great!
Christine Blanchet then switched to the topic of travel – more specifically, how to pack efficiently for our next vacations – in a speech titled “How to Pack it in.” Her well-thought-out tips were delivered clearly and engagingly, from recommending that women pack a shawl for night outings to warning men against the fashion faux-pas of wearing socks with leather sandals.
Helen Chao then inspired us with “Bringing History to Life,” a look at Eleanor Roosevelt’s life and accomplishments. She opened with a strong quote, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” and overcame technical difficulties to give us a broad perspective on this amazing woman’s achievements.
Club president Steve Aitkins led a unique Table Topics session in which speakers were given four phrases and 30 seconds to brainstorm about how to string them together in a story before speaking. Highlights included a flamboyant Gavin Newsom on a Pride Parade float in John Angelico’s story and international leaders pillowfighting in Vladimir Gostrer’s tale.
Shaun Abram gave thoughtful, well-rounded and constructive feedback to all participants as our general evaluator, and Corito Sevilla was a sharp and efficient timer. Matthew Walsh was a tough grammarian, finding no gaffes but raising the bar for impressive use of the English language, and “Ah” counter John Angelico dutifully logged all of our crutch words.
Evaluators were Melissa McRobbie, James Birkelund and Michael Susko, and we were honored to have a number of guests in attendance, including Donald Thomas, Nelson Lau, Jason Mack, Robert Chan, Eric Wong, Stephanie Hall, Mary Michelle Van Noppin, Andrew Kitirattragarn, Andre Rubin and Mel Kreitz.
Have a great Fourth of July and see you at the next meeting!
Melissa McRobbie, Club Secretary