The Jotter – 19 October 2021

Due to COVID restrictions, the meeting was a Zoom event, and was attended by members only.

The theme of the evening…. Free to DANCE.

Glenn, as usual, actively set the scene, and Elaine welcomed everyone as they gradually worked out how to use their Zoom connection, mute, and video buttons.

The warm-up commenced with a magical meditation led by Barbara, who took us on an amazing journey to a place where we were free to dance as though no one was watching. One by one each member briefly let us know where they had found themselves: some had been transported back to their ballroom dancing days, some re-joined the 1960’s or became hippies, there were the dancing flames of a fire, a sprinkler (do the sprinkler!), the enthralling lyrics of a tune, the Japanese style of dancing, RSL clubs and other glorious dancers and dances. Thank you Barbara for arousing these memories with your melodious tones and wonderful Irish lilt, and for sharing the story of you and the mystery man who appreciated your captivating moves!

Fran hasn’t run a competition, but she has competed many times. Her enthusiasm for Toastmasters infused the group, and she expressed her gratitude towards those who have been busy with the preparations for the competition. Fran assured us that practice helps us build our speaking skills and other life skills, and competitions move us (individually and as a group) to greater heights. We are all looking forward to the competition – good luck to all those involved.

Bravely undertaking his first evaluation task, Andrew described Fran’s rich and varied tone, and encouraging message: public speaking is not for the faint-hearted, but it is a set of skills that can be learnt – and Toastmasters is a safe and supportive place to learn and hone these skills. His commend, recommend, commend evaluation was an inspirational first attempt!

Our dancing theme was continued with table-topic speeches led by the inimitable David M:

Lisa highlighted many of the health benefits of dancing – both physical and mental. It is a fun way to get fit and to shake off those worries! Keiko told us about Japanese style dancing – which is especially performed during a festival held in Japan in August. In Coffs Harbour, we are privileged to be able to witness and learn this lovely Japanese dancing, during an annual celebration in our local Botanical Gardens. Ernie has never called himself a dancer, but whilst in a wheelchair, he had an amazing experience of being lifted by music. The occasion was a Kris Kristofferson concert and Ernie was granted a few hours leave from hospital to attend it. It was a healing experience and is now a treasured memory. David W can’t go past the sixties music and the lyrics which tell a story and evoke many varying emotional reactions. Mark talked about his varied styles of dancing – from ballroom to the old faithful ‘left’ to ‘right’ shuffle we all know and love. Karen shared her wish to one day learn ballroom dancing – I believe she was influenced by the glamorous Dancing with the Stars series!

Elaine’s general evaluation gave us her perceptive overview of the meeting, and mentioned that everyone had been willing to try the new Zoom format with a ‘Fear not’ attitude. The warmup and table topics were on theme, and both helped us build connections whilst sharing memories. She reminded us that we must remember to keep our language formal and respectful, and not slip into the use of certain terms which are not appropriate in a Toastmasters setting. Her tip about taking a breath to calm your nerves and inserting a pause to gather your thoughts was very useful.

Glenn was a very organised and helpful Toastmaster, and Mark was an efficient and effective Timekeeper. Elaine, our charming President, thanked us for the meeting – it really put a smile on everyone’s face – and she cheerfully farewelled us until the next meeting.

Jotter written by KAREN.