The Jotter – 28 November 2021

’Tis the season to be contesting, la-la-la-la-laa la-la-la-laa !
A time when we all smarten up, whether speaking, judging or officiating.

Tuesday Nov 16 – CLUB Contests – on Zoom
Humorous. Barbara and DavidW contested. Both were disqualified for going overtime, both were invited to represent the club as delegates at Area Contest, and both declined. And that’s no joke!
Table Topics. DavidW and Andrew contested on the topic “A day at the beach”.

Personal styles differ. On one hand, for example, Barbara’s fantastic tales get two simultaneous reactions from me: “That can’t be true! Or can it?” and “That’s amazing, but is it true?”.
On the other hand Andrew’s mellow sentences flow “without hesitation, repetition or deviation”, as in the BBC game “Just a Minute” which inspires him.

Sunday Nov 21 – AREA Contests – on Zoom
There were contests in all 4 categories for Area 17 (2 clubs in Coffs) and Area 29 (3 clubs in Grafton and Lismore) in tandem. The efficient officials included !!Zoom Master!! and Sergeants-at-Arms (who monitored the Breakout Room, as in “Keep your hands where I can see them!!”).

In Area 29, first place getters go on to compete at Division level. They are Mark West (International), Rupert Godwin (Humorous), Danni Auch (Evaluation and Table Topics) – all from Jetty club. Congratulations to them!

I keep learning about Zoom. In the Club contests I was speaking to 4 rows of faces, mute and (almost) motionless. It felt like talking to exhibits in an art gallery.
In the Area contests all participants turned off microphone and video unless actually speaking, which reduced listeners even further to nothing more than name cards. Speakers on the other hand could have an enlarged view of themselves. This time it felt like I was speaking to myself in a mirror, while being judged by silent watchful listeners. (Ooo … Spooky!!).

Our last (informal) meeting of the year will be around picnic tables at Boambee Reserve on Sunday Dec 5 between 11am and 5pm. Emails have gone out but if you need more details, please phone our contact numbers.

The Jotter – 10 November 2021

International and Evaluation Contests

by Barbara Stewart

Hello again my friends. What an interesting and thought-provoking evening we had last Tuesday. Everyone has learnt something new – and what is life for, if not to learn, and to keep on learning?

Many congratulations to our winners and participants in our speech competitions and to every organiser. I think all members of our club were involved in one way or another in bringing our evening performances to fruition.

I’m not going to give a repeat of the General Evaluation, that would not be necessary except to say, that it made me think! I can not think help but ponder about the general feeling I have regarding the niggles of disquiet we all have, often unspoken, hidden within us, about the state the country, the world, and our individual reality that “we can’t make any difference”, “there is nothing we can do”? – Ah, but we can. We all know the meaning of “the kindness of strangers”, don’t we?

We might feel we are simply one little drop of water in the mass of the ocean of humanity, and what difference do we really make – can we really make? We can! We do! – if we think positively, if we act with kindness. In the world today, where instant gratification is being spread across our televisions, radios, laptops, and mobiles, it is hard to reject the constant advertising, to not comply with the everlasting advertisements to buy more alcohol, sugar infused drinks and lollies, extra clothes, another car, and yet one more plastic bag etc. But with mates, friends, relatives and ourselves, moan about restrictions, home-schooling, and more, how can we escape the Me, Me, Me attitudes, and demands for instant gratification – it is an incessant pressure upon us all. So, we need to remember the old saying “the journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step”. So, smile, be kind to one another, maintain a positive attitude and travel a new path. Costs us nothing and won’t hurt anyone. It may cost you the effort of thought.


I must record the names of our winners of the two competitions.

International Contest
1. Elaine Ghali
2. Mark West

Evaluation Contest
1. David Whyte
2. Elaine Ghali

Our next meeting is on Zoom, Tuesday 16th November at 7:00pm, where we will be holding our Humours and Impromptu speaking competitions.
I look forward to our new agenda and to another interesting and exciting evening. See you then!

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.