Joan’s impressions of the last meeting

Immediate reaction on being asked to be club twit is to feel insulted.   But then it is explained. OOOH!! That kind of twit! Well okay that’s different. Tweeting they say is just writing a few words about things that may or may not interest fellow members.

Being absent from most of the meetings this last year has been good in that my return has shown me the growth in some of our newer members.  This is wonderful to see. The caring and sharing that is always evident in the club is something that I have also truly missed.

Then bang with the gavel, (No surprise, John Nichols is acting SAA) and the evening is on the go.

The theme Fight or Flight, was extended to include Freeze which is what happened when poor Mark was thrown in as chairman 1 at the last minute.  His challenge was to Fight to get presenters to be available when called, Flight unfortunately was not an option, Freeze came into play as items on the program were missed or brought forward with no explanation.

The visitor next to me lost track of what was going on and asked twice where we were on the program. Come on people lets get sorted. We are always patting ourselves on the back, saying what a terrific club we are and we are, but can we try putting more style into the running of the program

First impressions are lasting impressions, President and club members, especially those who are on the program or participating in any way, should strive to make a positive impression no matter what.

Last night was sloppy and unruly. I know, I was one of the culprits and was able to get away with it. Decorum and discipline seem to have gone out the window. Upsets happen from time to time but we need to be aware that we have an obligation to fellow members to give the best we can. Mark battled on without much help from those around him, eventually getting some sense of continuity into the proceedings. Well done Mark

You know, tonight’s meeting did start to get interesting as the evening progressed. Table Topics was fun; the business session was actually lively and exciting, if only for a couple of minutes whilst a motion on notice was debated.  I am well aware that motions on notice are not supposed to be debated prior to them being formally put as it were, but the speaker said what I wanted to say so, from my point of view a jolly “Here, here” was warranted. Chairman 2 where are you?

That aside, the rest of the meeting was pretty much to the program. During the break there was a great deal of discussion about ‘fishnet stockings” and whether men should be wearing them. Weird!! Well for the un-informed we have a Rocky Horror night coming up and it seems men in stockings could be the norm at this next meeting.

The skill Builder part of the program is I feel a much needed addition. The majority of our members are relatively new. Re-visiting different skills can only help us to improve. Sorry though that we lost the larfmaster. It is more a tradition than anything else and is a case of OMG if we ever have a funny Larfmaster.   Some traditions should be kept intact.

This toastmaster really liked the speech given by Anne Nguyen. (A visitor from Winners Circle.)

Although talking about land mines, Anne put on a cheeky grin and said “Cows get blown up, yeah free dinner“ 

Paul Gruppelaar another visiting speaker made us laugh saying, “Being a Kiwi living in Australia” he was “used to not being understood.”

Ron Marriott’s marriage vows, well?? It was a funny speech though.

Jeeven Jayanathan’s readings made me want to go out and buy the book

The evaluations at our meetings are usually very good and last night was no exception. But I have noticed that sometimes we forget to tell a speaker how to improve.  For example, Voice projection. It isn’t enough to advise the speaker that they might want to increase their volume. Tell them how. Tell them what you have done or seen being done that will help. It’s the same with any recommendation. Let the speaker know how they can do better next time.

Prepare, prepare, prepare. Practice, practice, practice. These are important words to remember whether we are on the executive and or when given an assignment.  Preparation gives polish and prevents a poor result. Practice makes for a smoother presentation. Preparation and Practice together will give us discipline and decorum.

I am going to try to attend more meetings in the future. I am willing to do my utmost in order to help our club become the best it can be. I hope you my fellow members will join me in this endeavor 

Have a better day every day

Joan Abela DTM



Joan and her husband had 5 children, but they lost one son in 1985. Joan retired from their business when her husband Peter died in 1998. Joan now has four married children, 11 grandchildren and a wonderful life. She joined Toastmasters in April 2000 after doing a speechcraft course. Her hobbies are travelling, reading and playing scrabble.

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2 Responses to Joan’s impressions of the last meeting

  1. michaelsaid says:

    When reading this blog, it would be easy to get defensive. However, the harsh reality is that there has been a shortcoming with our Club standards. Being away from an Executive working role (ie not President or Past President) for 6 years, has shown me that there is a lot to do on the Executive of Parramatta Toastmasters to have the Club at a level that the membership expects.After the meeting of the 18th October, so much work has gone on behind the scenes to turn things around. A line in the sand has been drawn, so to speak. The commitment is as strong as ever to have this year, be one of the best at Parramatta, and a watershed for years to come. The November Executive meeting started at 6.30pm and finished at 10.30pm, there was no alcohol and we went non-stop. This Executive is really rolling its sleeves up.And any suggestions to drive this to fruition are really welcomed And Joan, I will repeat your final paragraph as it is so refreshing and is the essence of what it is to be a Parramatta Toastmaster:-“I am going to try to attend more meetings in the future. I am willing to do my utmost in order to help our club become the best it can be. I hope you my fellow members will join me in this endeavor.”Michael Said


  2. Malkit Banwait says:

    Well said Joan & I agree with all your feedback. Meeting got better as evening progressed. And I have also noticed that some times our evaluators forget to give recommendations. I always aim to give everyone at least point for improvement and not just what but also HOW to improve.


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