Boaters Toastmasters

Toastmaster club. District 72, New Zealand. Rakaia Building, Ara Institute of Canterbury, Madras Street, Chch.

What a friend we have in cheeses

Man delivering a presentation in front of two large monitors displaying a Yoodli digital dashboard

Today’s cheese themed meeting was a terrific example of how and why AI and Zoom can be welcome additions to the Toastmasters whānau.

So why cheese? Well, because as Kori our Toastmaster of the week stated as a matter of fact at the start of the meeting, “Who doesn’t like cheese?”

Sharing the joys of using AI as a source of inspiration, Kori had not only used ChatGPT to look up 20 cheeses, he had looked up 20 cheeses and their personalities.

The first one he introduced to us was the Stinking Bishop. Apparently not because it’s stinky, but because as it matures, it’s immersed cider made from Stinking Bishop pears. The things you learn at a Toastmasters meeting!

Jorge also demonstrated the power of AI, and specifically Yoodli when it comes to sharpening our speechwriting and presentation skills with a great balance of insight and humour. And I found it fascinating to see how many members were completely unaware of this tool which has been available to us for a year or two. Great reminder that we have lots of resources available to us via Toastmaster International.

Two large digital displays. One showing a close up of the speaker Zooming in, the other showing him, plus a shot of the meeting room and the other online participantAI and the use of tech continued to be upfront and centre throughout the meeting; not only was our General Evaluator online, but we also had a couple of fellow Toastmasters/guests Zooming in from overseas; one from Hungary, the other, from Dallas, Texas.

Kori gave them both an opportunity to introduce themselves to us after the break, and I enjoyed hearing what they thought of Boaters.

Lecture theatre a dozen people in twos and threes chatting with each other informally. Also a woman interacting with a guest Zooming in onlineWhat made the biggest impact on me in this meeting was the benefit of members embracing technology. Yes, the art of speaking in the front of the room without slides or tech is indeed an art. But these days,  we really need to get with the all round presentation play if we want to remain relevant and take advantage of the possible reach and impact.

Having given an educational recently in the art of online meetings, our General Evaluator for the day, Sabine took us through a bunch of suggestions to help us lift our hybrid game.

But having written an extensive blog last week, I’m keeping it snappier this. So those recommendations will be coming at ya, courtesy of a standalone blog another day… watch this space.

Member blog – by Louise Landess