July 22nd Meeting Report

Hello Sierra Speakers,

Thursday’s meeting was another fun one, with humorous speeches, a number of guests and funny anecdotes from our Toastmaster, Keith Hoang.

Matthew Walsh stepped in at the last minute as Sergeant at Arms, opening the meeting and introducing Keith, who did a fantastic job of keeping the tone steady and tying the elements together for a smooth flow.

Our first speaker was Magnus Johannson, who engaged us right away with several questions, including “Who has ever gotten married in Las Vegas?” That led into his own story of his Vegas wedding at a chapel conveniently located between a strip club (for the bachelor party) and a fast-food joint (for the reception). He had the audience laughing throughout. This was Magnus’ icebreaker speech and he did an amazing job!!

I gave the next speech, titled “Dancing Your Way to Success.” The speech drew on my own rocky experiences as a beginner dancer in salsa, tango and West Coast Swing, with the message that patience, perseverance and a sense of humor are the key elements in success as a blossoming dancer. This was my third speech and I used notes, which I’m sure will be an anomaly 😉

John Angelico then delighted us with “Long Walks on the Beach,” a humorous speech based on a short story by Italian writer Italo Calvino. John took on the persona of a man strolling down a beach past a nude woman and grappling with the ethics of whether to look at her or ignore her. The speech had us all in stitches.

Michael Susko led us through a great Table Topics session with questions like how you would tactfully correct someone who got your name wrong when introducing you, and why “ahs” and “ums” are called “crutch words” when, unlike real-life crutches, they serve no useful purpose?

As general evaluator, Nori Yoshida led a strong team of evaluators that consisted of Vladimir Gostrer, Andrew Reed and Matthew Walsh.

Steve Aitkins was our timer; Christine Blanchet our grammarian; and Heather Dickson was a very thorough “ah” counter.

Thanks everyone for another great meeting!

For any aspiring dancers in the group, here is a moment of inspiration:


(A young pro couple performing a West Coast Swing routine)

Have a great weekend!

Melissa McRobbie, Club Secretary

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