Last Tuesday, April 10th, I served as a volunteer moderator for a highly contentious neighborhood association meeting. The Fort Worth city staffer who recruited me found me on our D25 Toastmasters website under the Speakers Bureau.
The meeting lasted more than 3 1/2 hours, during which 98 different people spoke at least once. It became “fun” after about 20 minutes, and I know it helped the meeting’s various perspectives to be delivered more effectively. Many speakers were extremely nervous and passionate.
In previous meetings, the Mistletoe Heights Neighborhood Association president says, neighbors threatened each other, shouted each other down, and even insulted city and transit authority officials with accusations of bribery, dishonesty and double dealing. Ironically, the host site was a Presbyterian church, and I tried to emphasize peaceable assembly rights as much as free speech. We used an agenda, a timer with timing signs, and rules to stay more organized and fair.
It was a great forum to demonstrate Toastmastering skills, to serve as a Toastmasters ambassador, and to help people express themselves. Afterward, more than a dozen people thanked me for my use of quips and transitions to help facilitate a more productive and civil meeting.
D25 Speakers Bureau
By Jodie Sanders