Blue Plate Specials don’t invoke images of what gourmets call “fine dining”, rather, images of a low-priced meal that usually changes daily at diners and cafes.
UNTIL…Mr. Cooper Speaks decided to offer their members a shorter version of a meeting once a month. As a corporate club, many Mr. Coopers find it challenging to step away from work for a full hour. This is frustrating for the members as well as the club. The executive board approved a truncated meeting that allows all members an opportunity to grow and develop. The board decided to adopt the term Blue Plate Special as their advertising platform.
The agenda was streamlined. The board agreed to two speakers for 5-7 minute speeches, two table topic participants, and two evaluators. There would be no award of “Best” ribbons. To eliminate hand off time, one person would serve as the Toastmaster, Table Topic Master and General Evaluator. Helper roles were eliminated except for Timer. Even Evaluator #1 introduced Evaluator #2~~the objective was to complete the meeting in 30 minutes.
The Board was, rightfully so, hesitant! Would it be well received? Could we pull it off in 30 minutes? The agenda looked like that would be a NO.
Posters were posted in the breakrooms and hand delivered to several members; especially those who could most benefit from the 30 minute meeting. *copy of flyer was attached to…a blue paper plate!
March 14 was go live date! Two speakers gave their Pathways Ice Breakers. A seasoned and a brand new toastmaster participated in Table Topics, and Evaluator #1 gave her first evaluation! Our “Server” aka Toastmaster, Table Topic Master, and General Evaluator, controlled the meeting like we had been doing this for months.
Did we make it in 30 minutes? Yes, we did! With 4 minutes to spare. After the gavel went down, the attendees were asked their response to the meeting…everyone loved it and agreed once a month would be ok; just not every week.
Objective achieved! One of our super busy members came. And, Surprise! A beloved previous member came because of the truncated meeting. He had dropped out of Toastmasters because he couldn’t get away from his desk.
Our Blue Plate Special was a meal we will serve every second Tuesday of the month.
Joyce Trimble, DTM