Listener in Cyberspace

Today we had our first Loudoun Toastmasters meeting in Zoom. And my good friend Leigh-Ann, or Toastmaster of the Evening, asked me to take on a new role, the official Listener. My job is to pay attention to each story and find an interesting fact about it, then pose it to one of our members without a role.

What kind of seed did Kevin pull from his back yard?

From the Garden of Gethsemane, Kevin delivered a charged speech about believing in oneself and growing to attain a higher power. Much like his Black Walnut seed, he wished give us inspiration to help us achieve more.

Black Walnut
These are black walnuts. You can find them on Amazon.

Who wrote the passage Jill shared with us?

Apsley Cherry-Garrard was an impressive Zoologist who wrote about all creatures great and small from the lowly diatom to the enormous Blue Whales which roam the antarctic seas. He wrote about all the animals he saw in both poetry and prose and was thrilled to be a part of Scott‘s expedition to the South Pole.

Apsley Cherry Garrard
Apsley Cherry-Garrard was a Zoologist who accompanied Captain Scott on his Antarctic Expedition and composed wonderful poetry based on his experiences.

What animal did Apsley Cherry-Garrard most want to see?

Garrard loved all animals but he was especially fond of Penguins. Although Adélie Penguins on the Antarctic Peninsula fascinated him, his real quarry was the 1 meter tall Emperor Penguin.

Emperor Penguins
Emperor Penguins are the coolest of Penguins. Nearly a meter in height as adults, the male birds are the ones who protect the eggs while the females spend the winter hunting for food. The adorable grey chicks with their grey, downy feathers, then spend most of their time with the mother as she feeds them and teaches them how to fish.

What are the two llama communication skills?

Don’t just expectorate, take the high ground, stand tall, and be the big llama on campus. And while spitting is something the 1918–1919 Flu taught us not to do, making yourself known by taking the higher road and not sinking to the your base instincts is a good form of management.

Spitting Llama
This is a Spitting Llama, trying to act tall and take the high ground, his main way of expressing his feelings. © 2020, Vice News

What did Ursula Burns suggest you do more of?

Ursula Burns was an amazing President of Xerox who learned early on that the it was best not to speech too much, and that sometimes you need to listen. Very sound advice indeed, as my role was indeed, to listen!

Ursula Burns
Ursula Burns was the former head of Xerox but found that she needed to talk less and listen more. This was what propelled her to the top.

Persuasive Influencer: Level 1: Evaluation

Today I evaluated an absolutely wonderful fellow Toastmaster. Rick Halstead is no novice to Toastmasters, but today was his Ice Breaker. That’s because anyone in ToastMasters these days is now using the Pathways system to progress through their journey and Rick, though an old hand and excellent Toastmaster, had yet to start his Pathways journey. I was very honored to be his evaluator when he took this first step in a new direction.

I took an Uber to the meeting as I had leftover credits from Tesla and #CO2Fre needed an update, but I’ll write more about that tomorrow. It was close, but I arrived just on time. I was able to convey Rick’s wishes to make sure he didn’t embellish too much and advised him afterwards how you could use a little more embellishment to his advantage, including a summersault. But overall, Rick was very hard to evaluate as there was so little fault with his to all intents and purposes perfect speech. Spend most of my time in fact rattling off all the things he did right like dynamics and gestures and our shared love for New Zealand.

My friends Laura and Leigh-Ann were both stiff competition as wonderful evaluators today and I felt sure one of them would get the ribbon for best evaluation. But to my surprise…

Best Evaluator, March 2020
For the 5 March Meeting of Loudoun Toastmasters, I delivered an award-winning evaluation for my friend Rick Halstead. © 2020, Jeffrey C. Jacobs

…it was in fact me! Wow! Thank you Loudoun Toastmasters!

Talk to you again in a fortnight my fellow orators!