Speaking our Minds with Passion, Respect, and Confidence!

Welcome visitors and members! Listed below our Club Announcements is our latest weekly meeting snapshot to give you a flavor of the challenging, thought-provoking, and FUN times to be had at a Contrarians Toastmasters meeting


December 17th, 2014


December 10th, 2014
Theme: Nuclear Proliferation


November 19th, 2014
Theme: Waste
The theme for the night was "Waste", and Niem started off the meeting with a nostalgic story about his younger days: accidentally dozing off on a nice, pleasant beach and being tardy to school. His mom had said, "What a waste", but Niem explained that one man's waste was another man's treasure.

Our prepared speakers were Bob and a special guest: our Area Governor, Robert Lee. Bob told us about the downsides of procrastination and encouraged us to seize control of the moment with rousing quotes, and Robert informed the audience about the Distinguished Club Program and goals for club success, of which several have already been met by the Contrarians. Sounds like the Contrarians are well on their way to getting a Distinguished Club Award!

Niem led the always entertaining Table Topics section with some great questions and a debate about "Waste", posing some imaginative scenarios. Everyone (including guests!) remembered to use the Word of the Day, windfall, in their table topics! Good job guys :)

The Evaluation segment was next, with Steven evaluating Bob and Ramesh evaluating Robert.

Drum roll for our winners, please: Best evaluator was Ramesh, and best table topics was Sanjay. Unfortunately neither Bob nor Robert qualified for time on their speeches.

Last but not least, I'd like to give a warm welcome back to Lynn!

-- Lani


November 12th, 2014
Theme: Family


November 5th, 2014
Theme: Let's Talk About Sex
Our theme for the evening was "Let's Talk About Sex," not an unusual topic for our Contrarian Club, where we speak about a wide range of topics from "Family" to "Gun Control" to well ... "Sex."

The meeting was kicked off with our opening thought given by Tom, one of our newer members of 2 months. The Toastmaster of the Meeting was Lani, she was able to successfully fill in missing roles in the agenda for our members not able to attend.

We only had one speech today which was given by Rick, it was his second speech and his topic was about stuttering, a problem he's overcome from the past. He was very effective in the way he communicated his speech that I'm sure no one will forget.

Our 2nd portion of the meeting, table topics, was led by Wayne! He asked very specific questions that gave everyone a chance to speak on the topic of ... "Sex." You can probably imagine it got a bit steamy during table topics. Our word of the evening was "relentless," which was used quite creatively...

Our 3rd and final portion of the meeting was Evaluations. Alicia gave a helpful and encouraging evaluation for Rick's speech. Steven, the general evaluator, gave his recap of the meeting which noted positives and improvements throughout the meeting.

The grammarian, ah counter, and timer reports were given on the meeting, which served as helpful feedback to all speakers.

Our president Alicia finally wrapped up the meeting with clothing comments and announcements, putting an end to yet another successful and fun meeting! I cannot wait until next Wednesday...!


October 29th, 2014
Theme: Halloween Special

October 22th, 2014
Theme: Censorship

Tonight’s meeting theme, Censorship, was not an anachronistic, our word of the day, choice and stayed true to our motto.

Up first was the always-entertaining Table Topics segment. Due to a recent meeting theme of self-censorship our Table Topics master, Karolina, decided to go in a completely different direction, which was a joy to watch. What did she come up with? Introductions. A member would come up and give an introduction for a speaker and topic of their choosing. This member would then give a response on the topic they were to speak on. Not only was it a learning experience but also a creative one as well as members had to think quickly on their feet.

Up second was our prepared speaking segment. 

First up was Steven, who took a big step forward tonight with a challenging 5W speech. He wove an intricate tale that lent perfectly to his speech objective for the evening, which was vocal variety. 

Up second was Niem who spoke from an advanced manual about stage fright. He spoke to our flight vs. fight mechanism and that stage fright can be either good or bad.

Up last was Ramesh who in preparation for the division humorous speech contest gave his final warm up to make sure he was more than prepared for the weekend. As they say practice makes perfect.

Certainly last but not least is the ever-important evaluation segment. Fernando and Lani gave evaluations to Niem and Steven, respectively. Ramesh feeling extra Contrarian tonight received a round table evaluation from the entire club.

Who won those PRECIOUS ribbons we all covet? Niem won for best speaker, Fernando for best evaluator, and Lani for best table topics.

What was really said at the meeting and what kind of oddball answers did our members come up with?  To find out the answer to this question please feel free to drop in and join us at our next meeting. I can assure you, you will not be disappointed. 

- Nick


October 15th, 2014
Theme: Fast and Furious


October 8th, 2014
Theme: Coming To America

Once again, Contrarians members demonstrated voluntary spirit that has been inherent in our club.  Niem started the meeting with a short opening thought that related the topic of “Coming to America” with his first experience of colloquial American-English.  Sanjay set the mood for the Table Topics segment with his quip about tipping in America.  Fernando was smooth, composed, and confident throughout his short-noticed evaluation for Rick, who delivered an improvisational and animated speech about his previous experience with public speaking.  Marlene’s enthusiastic “clicking” helped our speakers weed out undesired fillers.   As a novice timer, Amith kept all speakers within their allotted time with ease.  Voluntarism was at its best!

The meeting theme resonated well with the diversity of Contrarians club as members and guests delivered impromptu speeches to improvised questions.  All giggled and laughed together with extemporaneous stories, which topic speakers created; we truly had a fun and relaxing time.  Only Neil Diamond’s “Coming to America” would have made our meeting more perfect.

Come to join us someday to experience care-free moments while fine-tuning your speaking skill!


October 1st, 2014
Open House - Potluck - Training with special guest speaker Chanti Niven
Click flyer to enlarge

September 24th, 2014
Theme: Stock Market

Sept. 24th, 2014 was an unusual  meeting, & the theme  was" Stock Market".
As usuall our Sergeant At Arms, Sean, called the meeting to order, & Alicia, our president, & Toastmaster for the evening led the meeting by asking for volunteers  to fill rolls that had become vacant!
Rick, one of our fairly new members stepped up for the opening thought since his message was " Never miss out on stage time" & talked about his possible favorite  Stocks, & emphasized on the "Power of Compounding".
Our Ah Counter was also volunteered to be Lani.   Interestingly we had no scheduled speeches; but wait,, the night did not appear that way at all!!
Ramesh & Nick were given the 5W Challenge  to Speak on. Both were given randomly chosen "Who, When, Where, Why, What" answers selected by the audience  & they each came up with speeches while Sanjay kept us very busy with many well thoughtout Table Topic questions.
We had 12 members volunteer  to answer the Table Topic questions which were all related  to money  or stock market while  trying to use the Word Of the Day, "Ghosting".
Following 2 excellent  speeches by Ramesh & Nick,  Karolina, & Steven who had volunteered to be an evaluator gave their thoughts & evaluations on their respective speakers.
It was a very fun, well organized yet spontaneously  filled meeting.  We were saddened that we didn't have any guests tonight.  We always invite all to feel welcome & join us for any of our upcoming meetings.  
We are looking forward to our Open House next week with a guest speaker,  Chanti Niven, talking about "How to be Captivating".


September 17th, 2014
Theme: Club Contest: Humor

Tonight was our club’s Speech Contest. Our Contest Chair, Jeff, opened the meeting and called upon our VP of Membership, Karolina, to induct our newest member, Rick. Once Rick was warmly welcomed, Jeff began the contest.

First up was our guest speaker, George Day, from the Toastmasters club “Coastmasters" in Dana Point, who gave an entertaining speech so our evaluation contestants would have someone to evaluate. George talked about turning 65 and the nightmare that is the Medicare phone answering system. He explained the best way to get through it, is to hire a homeless person to sit on hold for you because it’s worth the money to both parties, so you don’t have to wait on the phone all day trying to get though to someone!

Our evaluators, Rick, Ramesh and Niem, were brought in one by one to evaluate George’s speech. Each gave interesting and constructive points to help George improve upon his already great speech. 

Contest Co-Chair, Sean, ran the speech portion of our contest. We had three great speakers. First up was Ramesh, who had us laughing hysterically with his family life and what he called “The Secret Of Life,” which was also the title of his speech. He motivated us to “just give up” and by doing so, detailed how everything in life will fall into place perfectly.

Next up was our brand new member, Rick. What a go getter! He just got inducted and he was ready to compete in both the Evaluation and Speech portion of the contest. Very impressive! Rick entertained us on his life story of “Coming to America” and all the wild and crazy adventures he had once he got here, complete with props, dancing and singing. Rick had us smiling and laughing the entire time.

Finally, Dave humored us with his speech about being an aspiring writer and how to cleverly come up with story ideas and plot lines. Very creative, philosophical and entertaining. You can tell he’s had lots of experience both writing and speaking! It was great!

As we waited for the votes to be counted, Jeff handed out certificates of appreciation for all the help he received during the contest.

The winner of the Evaluation Contest was Ramesh and the runner up was Niem.

The winner of the Speech Contest was Ramesh again, and the runner up was Dave.

Congratulations to all for just getting involved in the contest. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there, and once you do, the rewards are tenfold!

We’d love to see you at our club meetings so you can experience the fun and rewarding experience of being a Contrarian. Join us every Wednesday evening. You won’t regret it!


September 10th, 2014
Theme: Banned Books
The topic of the day was on Banned Books, and Amith started up our meeting by providing us the Opening Thought. We didn't have any planned speeches for the night, but brave Ramesh signed up for (yet another) 5W's speech. Our Toastmaster Niem opened up the 5Ws to the crowd and got

Who: Bill Clinton
Why: Money
What: Sex
When: Yesterday
Where: The Blue Room...

Rough, I know! While Ramesh prepared for this lofty task Niem invited Karolina, our table topics master, to the floor. She brought with her a manila folder of images, and asked volunteers to describe their banned book based on the image. There were a lot of creative and funny answers! There were also some pretty tough questions on what books would get banned and why.

After the table topics, Ramesh came up and told a rousing tale on the misadventures of Bill Clinton, kidnapped by the Trillion Dollar Mafia Gang and forced into a strange Hunger-Games, gladiator like sex contest. You had to be there!

During the evaluation segment, Steven gave the evaluation for Ramesh and I wrapped it up by giving the general meeting evaluation.

Winners of the night's meeting were:

Best Speaker: Ramesh (surprised?)
Best Evaluator: Steven
Best Table Topics: Nick C (welcome back!)

- Lani

September 3rd, 2014
Theme: Heroes

Tonight’s meeting was stellar! If you missed it, you seriously missed out on one of the most entertaining club meetings we’ve ever had!

Our theme for the evening was Heroes. To get things started, Bob began with a very touching and inspiring opening thought about how each one of us should be our own hero rather than looking outside of ourselves and looking up to someone else. 

We had only one speaker for the evening so Toastmaster Ramesh took his time introducing Steven by giving us a wonderful recap of his previous speeches and giving him a fantastic introduction to his talk for the night which was all about his experience in a flying trapeze school. It was by far, Steven’s best speech! It was full of suspense, humor and sincerity and you could tell by the reaction of the audience that everyone else loved it too. 

Table Topics was all about using your imagination in a fun and creative way. Topics Master Alicia told everyone in the room they were a super hero with a very unique, special super power. She also brought a bag full of odd gadgets which were hidden behind the podium and asked each person to pick an object, which represented their super power, and tell everyone what their super power was and how they recently used it to save the day. The responses that followed were so clever, funny and entertaining, everyone was laughing…some to the point of tears.

Every member, and all but one guest, got up and shared their super power. In fact, even our resident guest, John, agreed to participate and had everyone busting up. 

Our evaluation segment was run by one of our newest members, though he is not at all new to Toastmasters. Dave has been a member of Toastmasters for many, many years and it was great to have someone new to us, yet so seasoned, give his thorough and informative evaluation of the meeting. In addition, Niem gave Steven some positive and encouraging feedback during his evaluation and offered some good advice for improvement on his future speeches. 

In the end, Ramesh handed out the ribbons for the best in each segment and our club president, Alicia, closed the evening with announcements by Jeff for our upcoming club contest. 

If you would like to join us for an unexpected evening of contrarianism, we meet every Wednesday at 6:30 (unless otherwise noted) at Northwood Community Center in Irvine. We would love to meet you!

~ Alicia

For past meeting snapshots, please re-visit our 'Meeting Snapshot Archives' page