Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Meeting Recap: The ART of Sculpture, the B&T Way: Being shaped and Taking the time to shape others

Butter & Toast Toastmasters Club
Term 2014-2015; Meeting #2; 31 July 2014

The Butter & Toast Toastmasters Club ended the first month of the new toastmasters term with a bang, albeit one soft and pliant, allowing the toasties and guests to shape and be shaped through public speaking made more fun by the art of sculpture.  VP-Education Davie Dianco CC started the night of sculpture with her artfully-folded newsletter.

After President Gege Sugue DTM banged the gavel to open the meeting and Davie said the Invocation, Toastmaster of the Evening Ed Ebreo ACS set the fun atmosphere when he instructed the attendees (19 members including him – Taka, Joko, Lenlen, Faye, Jess, Penny, Dondi, Tisha, Ian, Sheila, Shani, Gege, Anne, Ed, Davie, Myee, Melissa, Jennifer, Sherilynn; and 6 guests – Raymund, Noel, Joy, Ann, Howie, Franiel, Queenie) to choose our clay piece among the rainbow array of clay, come up with any clay sculpture that we can manage to do in so many minutes, then use our creation during the round of introductions. 

It was an evening to celebrate “art nouveau” (Grammarian Shani Tan CC, ALB’s Word of the Day), and we grabbed the chance to create “art nouveau” or use “art nouveau” when we spoke. (The WOTD is a noun that means “a style of decoration and architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, characterized particularly by the depiction of leaves and flowers in flowing, sinuous lines.”)

Lenlen came up with a detailed starfish complete with circular indentations and spindly arms, Penny a colorful butterfly, Gege her clay version with slimmer waist and fleshier butt, Raymund and his ball of clay waiting to be shaped the way he waits to be shaped by toastmasters, Joy with her caterpillar and butterfly combo, and a clay menagerie of heart, cube, stick, plus sign, ladder, and a whole lot more.

Table Topics

Table Topics Master Joko Magalong ACB, ALB led the first part of a typical toastmasters meeting, the Table Topics portion, the moment when speakers, both volunteers and volun-told (the latter volunteered by the audience), practice to speak on their toes and hone their spontaneous/extemporaneous speaking skills.  Joko showed us one famous sculpture at a time, with the speaker coming forward to share his/her thoughts on the artwork.

Noel started with the Lady Justice, apt for him who practices law.  He immediately asked, “Why is Justice a lady?”, and reminded the audience to be just and fair.  Sherilynn came next with La Pieta, also apt for her due to a recent loss in her family. She went on to talk about death (Pieta “depicts that everyone of us will die,” “The question is, do we die for a reason?”) and living life fully (“Have we finished what we are supposed to do?” “Do we say I love you” often? “Live your day as if it’s the last day of your life.”)  Howie, a guest and newbie in toastmasters, bravely stepped forward to talk about The Thinker, which turned out to match him since he admitted to being a thinker throughout his speech.  He described himself as a person who thinks a lot, preferring to sit on a corner and unfazed if his thinking face gives him a snobbish look, because for him, this is what makes him who he is.

Prepared Speeches

The second part of the meeting was a jampacked series of five prepared speeches – three toasties working on their Competent Communication (CC) Manual, and two toasties on their Advanced Communication Manual.

Anne Jimenez TM opened with her Icebreaker Speech, Project #1 of the CC Manual, entitled “Late Bloomer.”  She shared her story, of how, in her youth, she learned the ways to spend, splurge, and shop, and how years after, she learned the really important aspects of her life: herself, her family, and her God.  Anne talked of how being a late bloomer was not a choice, but nevertheless was something good for her, for she was able to enjoy all stages of her life, until she learned to slow down, and truly live life completely and love passionately.

Penny Bongato TM came next with her Project #2, Organize Your Speech, wherein she gave an educational talk on “How to have a stress-free vacation.”  She cleverly organized her speech according to the acronym P-A-C-E and talked about Planning which includes what we and our travel companions want, Ad lib which encourages us not to plan to plan and be spontaneous, Capturing the moments by combining the high-tech features of cameras and the traditional joy of maintaining a handwritten journal, and Enjoying every minute of the travel. Penny ended with a challenge for everyone to not just do P, C, and E in our travels, but to do A as well.

Dondi De Joya TM delivered his 5th speech project, Your Body Speaks, and showed us with his words and actions how he rendered “Nurse Duty” for his father who had a stroke.  He entertained us with his anecdotes on how our patience tests our capacity to love, sharing us his experiences on caring for his father.  After the laughter he elicited from us with his actions, Dondi sobered us up with his reminder: when someone you love tests you, be patient.

Faye Melegrito CC started with her Advanced Communication Manual, by delivering a Folk Tale, Project #1 of the Storytelling Manual.  The adventures of “The Monkey and the Turtle” came alive when she regaled the audience, whom she asked as she started with her speech to pretend to be young children, with the famous tale of the smarty-pants monkey and the wisdom-laden turtle.

Shani Tan CC, ALB earned her ACB that night when she delivered her 5th speech from the Speaking to Entertain Manual which was also her 10th advanced speech, “Modular Origami.”  The next 20 minutes was filled with paper-folding, with everyone doing several valley folds and mountain folds to eventually create a cube of colorful triangles.


General Evaluator Gege Sugue DTM facilitated the third part of the meeting, the evaluation portion which is the education part of a toastmasters meeting.  What sculpture is to a block of marbles, she said, education is to a human soul.  The evaluation segment, she went on, is where we get the most shaping.  Gege was helped by her team of evaluators who carefully listened to and watched the speakers, whether they delivered impromptu or prepared speeches.

Jess Nemis ACB evaluated the Table Topics speakers and Master, likening their delivery to forming the human body.  Gege then commented afterwards that Jess is the tongue, making a metaphor of his evaluation.  However, she advised Jess not to be trapped by his metaphor.

Lenlen Ebreo TM evaluated late bloomer Anne’s maiden speech, praising her good introduction and seeing the well of potential in Anne, liking best the part on Anne’s taking the attitude to be better.  She suggested that in future speeches, Anne can move her arms away from her body.  Lenlen ended by likening Anne to a perennial flower that blooms all-year round.  Gege then tagged Lenlen as a full-bloomed evaluator, liking the maturity she saw in Lenlen, with her delivering a very sincere evaluation using her own words, with no toastmasters clich├ęs but purely her own.

Tisha Timbang ACS next evaluated vacation-happy Penny, using the speaker’s the same acronym P-A-C-E.  She gave plus points to Penny’s Powerful message, with the use of supporting materials through her slides, and Appropriate transition, telling the audience to imagine travelling.  Tisha then suggested her points to consider: Create a strong closing, tying her opening and closing together, and Emphasize speaker’s point, showing the P-A-C-E on the visual aids.  Gege appreciated Tisha’s use of the same acrostics as the speaker’s, saying that this is a way of honoring the speaker and making the evaluation speech cohesive.

Division B Governor Ann Danga ACBL, CL evaluated Dondi’s nursing speech, identifying his long gestures and manly stance as his strengths which enabled Dondi to hit the big O.  She then suggested that he move some more and utilize the space in front.  Gege pointed out Ann’s giving and showing examples as good points in evaluation.

Noel Sorreda DTM next evaluated storyteller Faye’s folk tale, liking her smile at the beginning and her instructions for the audience to imagine themselves as kids to set the tone.  He noted that there are slow parts in the story which should have been minimized and then suggested points to improve on: the project should not be acted out but be a showcase of vocal variety, the closing should be sharper with well-enunciated ending.  Noel then reminded Faye, and everyone else, to build on strengths and chip away on weaknesses.  Gege then noted that Noel has to put structure in his evaluation to organize the many items being pointed out.

Sheila Dela Cruz ACB, CL evaluated the night’s ACB graduate Shani, saying that her speech topic is very Shani and that it matched the mental age of the audience.  She cited the following to improve on: set the stage for a lesson in origami, get the TM of the PM to be her assistant, and consider the different level of skills of the participants.

Grammarian Shani Tan CC, ALB congratulated Jess, Joy, Ian, Sheila, Dondi, Noel, and Ed for using “art nouevau” for the night.  Gems included Anne’s “live in my daydreams,” Dondi’s “patience is the yardstick of capacity to love,” and Lenlen’s “perennial.”

Ah-Counter Takahiro Yamasaki TM gave a unique report by going beyond the usual reporting of ahhh and other crunch violators as well as ha-ha elicitors.  He gave an analysis on how people with no ahhh counts repeat words, and people with ahhh counts do not repeat words.

Timer Iann Buenaventura TM finished the evaluation part with his timer’s report.

Business Matters

Business Matters had Div. B Gov. Ann reminding the club about the VP’s training and installation on August 9.  Gege then introduced the Team Challenge, with Team Butter (led by Lenlen, later known as TeamBreo) battling Team Toast (led by Tisha, later known as TeamBang).  The Challenge aims to share ownership of each meeting, protect membership, prepare leaders, achieve goals, and reinforce values.

As finishing touches to a well-shaped evening, guests were requested to voice out their feedback.  Raymund shared that his first toastmasters meeting is something new for him and then exclaimed “This is the place for me!”  Joy, who has known toastmasters before, appreciated the group being welcoming and enticing her to come back and participate in toastmasters again.  Howie and Fran are friends who have been club-hopping, with B&T as their third toastmasters club to visit.  Howie, like the plus sign he made at the start of the meeting, had a positive experience, describing the meeting as the most exciting among the three clubs they visited and looking forward to seeing the club again.  Fran observed that the meeting went overtime but expressed that he didn’t mind for he had a great time to see how the team works, with the wisdom shared overwhelming.  He said that he and Howie are trying to find a team where they fit in and where they can fit their goals.  Apparently, Howie and Fran need not look far, for they have signed up with B&T.

I end with this passage from the meeting’s newsletter: What’s the link between the visual art of sculpture and Toastmasters?  A sculptor works with raw materials like rock, paper, metal, clay, wood to transform something to a piece that others can enjoy, a piece that becomes so much more than what it was when it started.  Toastmasters, if you allow it to, can shape us, mold us, transform our raw materials, our innate talents, and even our flaws and deficiencies into a work of art.  As you are shaped, you can also shape others with your speeches, your stories and ideas, your mentorship, your inspiration.  You, your voice, can carve a better you, a better life, a better world.


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