The flock gathered on August 5th for a morning of inspiration officiated by President and toastmaster Beth Dewey. The morning’s two speeches were, unintentionally, thematic, asking the audience to consider how they are making the most of the lives we lead. Shawn Terjeson spoke movingly about finding meaning in life while watching the decline of loved ones. He drew inspiration from philosophers and writers on how to find purpose in life so that the individual can make each moment worth it. Humberto Wilson’s 5-minute manual speech on the power of now reinforced Shawn’s idea, encouraging us to act in the moment rather than dwelling in the past or getting lost in fears about the future. Both speakers brought immense ideas to short time limits, challenging themselves and the audience, with Shawn earning the cow trophy of the morning.
The theme of the morning was neighbors, and table topic master Sioban asked us to talk for a minute about our own neighbors. The responses ranged from the humorous to the empowering, but Larry took the prize with his emotional recollection of the neighbors of his youth.
While the speeches were moving on all counts, we were reminded that as aspiring speech makers we have some improvements to make. Grammarian Peter was so appalled at our use of connectors, uums and ahhs, that he didn’t even deign to give us a count. Beth gave us a friendly reminder to wait on the stage for whoever is next and to extend a hand to greet them before we return to our seats.
We can all learn a lot from strengths and weaknesses of our group members, and at this meeting we were reminded to be conscious of our motions and to use powerful gestures sparingly. We also saw how a speaker’s introduction to their subject sets up the audience for a very specific set of expectations. While Shawn introduced his speech as a book report in the first sentence, we were thrilled to discover it was anything but! Yet the listeners were sometimes confused about where things were going because of those two little words. As speech writers, it can be tricky at times to know when the original framework of a speech can be dismantled. Always look to see if your introduction meshes with the content of your speech.
We were thrilled to have two guests, and to welcome Phil back as official member of the Early Bird flock.