Category Archives: Conference

MCBC Toastmasters Club Election Results 2017

Fellow Toastmasters of the MCBC Club.

Congratulations to the new Executive Team voted yesterday.  These people will take over leadership of the club from 1 July, after a month of transition.

Role Existing New
President James Hippolite Ruth Malo
Vice President – Education Jane Crosbie Jane Crosbie
Vice President – Memberships Barry Shaw Amit Sharma
Vice President – Public Relations Ruth Malo Melanie Alican
Secretary Warren Christie Barry Shaw
Treasurer Barry Shaw Manju Malik
Sargent-At-Arms Molino Garcia Patrick Mariner
Immediate Past President Warren Christie James Hippolite

Thank you to all who put their hands up (including those who were not chosen this time).  Your 1-minute, impromptu campaign speeches were most informative and instructive!  I look forward to following Ruth’s leadership and seeing what the next 12 months has in store for us as a club.

We are well on our track to achieving all 10 goals of the Distinguished Club Programme.

Goals to Achieve Goal To Date Status
Education (A maximum of 6 will count toward DCP credit.)
1 Competent Communicator (CC) awards 2 2  Achieved
2 More Competent Communicator (CC) awards 2 4  Achieved
3 Advanced Communicator (ACB, ACS, ACG) awards 1 1  Achieved
4 More Advanced Communicator (ACB, ACS, ACG) awards 1 0 1 AC needed
5 Leadership Awards (CL, ALB, ALS) or Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award 1 1  Achieved
6 More CL, ALB, ALS, or DTM award 1 1  Achieved
7 New members 4 4  Achieved
8 More new members 4 3 1 New Member needed
9 Club officers trained June-August 4 6  Achieved
Club officers trained December-February 4 5
10 Membership-renewal dues on time Y 2  Achieved

How to make a great marriage

Toastmasters Speech – Competent Communicator Manual

Project 2 – Organize your speech

Delivered: 29 August

Select your topic

  • How to make a great marriage

Make an outline

  • Poor
  • Improving
  • Good
  • Great

Develop the opening

  • Dave Meurer — ‘A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.’
  • Where-ever you are on the spectrum of marriages, there is hope that you can move up the scale. Even if it’s great, you can still “sharpen the saw”.

Draft the body

Who am I to talk on this topic?

  • Married 22 years
  • Been a participant or instructor on various marriage enrichment courses.
  • Knows what works (and what doesn’t). More about that later.

Where-ever you are on the spectrum of marriages, there is hope that you can move up the scale. Even if it’s great, you can still “sharpen the saw”.

Imagine a spectrum, from poor to great. (Use hands)

(I won’t do a “Patrick Jane” and attempt to Mentalise you by observing where your eyes are looking right now.)

I have grouped the various courses of which I have either been a participant or instructor, into three Toolboxes for improving your marriage:

  • Fundamentals
    1. Relating Between the Sexes (Pre-Marriage)
      Dean Sherman from YWAM taught me that I need to be a whole person first, before I inflict myself upon another. Don’t bring my baggage into the marriage, and deal with it first.
    2. The Marriage Course (Alpha)
      The Marriage Course taught me to treat my wife as equal but different. The 5 Love Languages, for instance was great at explaining why sometimes it would appear that we were “talking past each other.”

      • Conflict Resolution
      •  The 5 Love Languages
    3.  Get a Hobby!
      No one person could or should fulfil your every desire. It’s unhealthy. Better to have some friends for a “time-out” occasionally. For instance, my wife can go with her friends to see Chick Flicks, so I don’t have to!
  • Parenting
    1. Growing Kids God’s Way
      A controversial series, which believes in discipline, but taught me the inverse triangle of responsibility.
    2. The Parenting Toolbox series
      Ian and Mary Grant are just great.1.Toolbox for Toddlers


      3.Primary age


    3. Preparing for Adolescence
      Necessary because you want your children to be strong-minded, independent & confident but also respectful, caring and engaged. Doctor Dobson’s 20 week course is fantastic.
  • Advanced
    1. Boundaries: When to say yes, when to say no to take control of your life.
      When your Yes means Yes and your No means No, then you can really say no to the good, in order to concentrate on the best. Learning to prioritise.
    2. Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul
      We were created equal, but different. Find out how to harness a man’s innate desire to lead and be respected into positive areas of growth.1.Let’s face it: the greatest hindrance to a great marriage is a passive husband.

      2.Women want a man who will take appropriate initiative.

    3. The Bible: Beginner’s Instructions Before Leaving Earth
      Read the Instruction Manual from the Manufacturer.

The Conclusion

When I married my wife, she was a Quality Manager for a large computer company. Her mantra was “process of continual improvement.” This means, you can always improve. In our marriage, this has translated into attending a course together every year. Whether it’s marriage, or parenting or simply further our education, it’s an opportunity for us to continue to grow closer together. Because the world pulls you apart. Whether it’s work or kids or friends or other interests (although there’s nothing wrong with pursuing your personal hobbies), there’s always something pulling us in different directions. That’s why it’s vitally important to be intentional to spend time together enjoying each other’s company. Because eventually, the kids will leave, work will cease, but you’ll (hopefully) still be together. By building foundations early, you won’t be caught in the trap of looking at each other in 20 years’ time and realising you’ve marriage a stranger.

Actual Discourse

For Against
It’s an alternative point of view from naturalistic materialism, which brings comfort to many Christianity is too narrow a focus for our pluralistic society.
There is a spiritual hunger, not satisfied in any other way. Conflict with use of time/resources.   Spark shouldn’t be in this business.
Act as conscience (of the company) Harden up
Useful for therapy (improve employee life) We’ve already got HR & EAP
Better to have an opinion and move on, then to wallow in unbelief & inaction. Couldn’t we just exclude the Christianity aspect?
Another method of communication and community within the company.
Aligned, on the same page
Values-based directional counselling has great value.
Good exposure to alternative view increases tolerance. Bad experiences decreases tolerance.

What Would Chaplaincy Offer?

  • Basic Life Principles
    • Boundaries
    • Marriage Course
  • Personal, private confessional (active listening)
  • Directive counselling (talking)
  • Social community
  • Potential measurement: Brand value

Thoughts outlining how I think my session will go


  • When I previously introduced myself as “Chaplain,” that was an aspirational role.
  • I am a trained student of the Bible.

Does Spark Need a Chaplaincy?

For Against
(Assuming Chaplaincy implies Christianity) It’s an alternative point of view from naturalistic materialism, which brings comfort to many. (Assuming Chaplaincy implies Christianity) It’s too narrow a focus for a pluralistic society.
Other religions are tolerant of Christian services in an (admittedly post-) Christian society. Only atheists appear intolerant of Christianity in any form. In which case, just stay away! It’s all mumbo-jumbo and I don’t want any resources diverted into such an unscientific endeavour.
I see case after case of spiritual hunger in the workplace that is being unfulfilled. I want to help. Those people can go elsewhere.   Spark shouldn’t be in the business of fulfilling spiritual hunger.
There are some basic life principles that people are not being taught, which will improve their lives (and make their work life more tolerable). Harden up? Such as what?
The Boundaries Course has helped me.
The Marriage Course has helped me.
The Alpha Course has helped me.

#sparkInnovation14 Part 2

Saturday Afternoon:

  • The seventh session: “The Art and Science of Story Telling”
    • Hook, “What’s in it for me (the audience)?” & 3 points (with evidences) and the kick (closing the deal).
    • Discussion around: choose appropriate level for your audience, story-telling in a tweet (it can be done); brevity vs. detail; journalism “inverted pyramid” of information: who-what-where-when (the “why” comes later).
  • The eighth session: “Human Extinction: What’s going to cause it, and should we bother to prevent it?” Is it better for the planet to let it happen to us? How much do we value future generations, in that we are willing to change today?
    • Asteroid Strike, Rouge A.I., Ebola (virus/black plague), Zombie apocalypse, Nuclear War, Alien Invasion, Global Warming.
    • Population control: agree or disagree? (I was the sole dissenter. My reasoning being that the Chinese example is too draconian. It should be a heart decision.)
    • Humanly speaking, there is no denying that we are growing our population within finite resources to breaking point.
    • There is a competing philosophy: that the Creation was made for Man, not Man for the Creation; meaning: we are to be good stewards of the environment, but not limited by it.
    • Spiritually speaking: there is hope, if we will change our hearts and agree to work for the Greater Good (The Golden Rule).
    • (There were some militant humanists in the room, in that my right to survive outweighs anybody else’s, to the point where I am justified in any action in order to ensure the survival of me and my kind.)


Does Spark need a Chaplaincy?

  • If yes, what would it do?

My Motivations in asking the question:

  • My career has peaked. There’s nowhere vertical for me to go. Therefore, in order to be more fulfilled, I have to incorporate more of my outside interests into my work. Hence, offering my marriage counselling, spiritual guidance skills.
  • Nearly every week, I observe within Spark, demotivation, depression, crises. I am fundamentally loyal to this company. I would like to offer something to help.


  • The first session I attended this weekend was “Plane crashes & Ebola: are your travel plans affected?” The discussion transitioned into doomsday scenarios. I was fascinated. The veneer of civilisation very quickly disappeared in that discussion, in that people were actually contemplating bombing potentially innocent boat people. To me, this prove a lack of moral centre. We agreed that empires fall. Is the American empire about to fall?
Empire Prophet Expression
Greek Aristotle There is no good in mankind
Judaism Jeremiah The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
Christian Paul All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
Humanism Philosophers Man is a helpless victim of this environment
  • The second session was “3D Printing & the Internet of Things”. provides a 3d printing & delivery service.
  • The third session was “Odd Hobbies”. We are unique human beings, with diverse enthusiasms. My contributions (from more mainstream to less so) were:
    • Squash
    • Blogging (somebody else wrote “TV & movies”
    • Attending Conferences (somebody else wrote “going to sci-fi conventions”)
    • Speaking/presenting
    • Marriage counselling
  • The fourth session was, “Business Patterns” and how to use them to improve business. The problem of entrenching success, is it makes the process inflexible. However, in order to allow flexibility, requires delegated authority, which incurs risk.
    • I liken this to fatherhood: leading the family. If they were warned, then they are being disobedient. If they weren’t warned, then they are not disobedient, they are merely childish, and shouldn’t be punished.
    • Likewise, the owner of the company decides what is best for the company, and needs to communicate that, then allow their people freedom to work within that paradigm. This is a Biblical model of hierarchy.
    • Also, I’m raising generals, not soldiers.   Therefore I’m going to teach them how to think, not what to think.
    • But, organisations like McDonalds, who have a repeatable process, want drones to follow the process.
    • But if I’m a start-up, I’m going to hire pioneers, who thrive on the chaos of creativity, and need to be entertained, and hate structure. Structure may come later, but when, and to what degree?
    • The owner is the visionary, but needs to hire either employees to follow, or consultants to recommend new directions.
    • Nobody here liked my suggestion that any organisation is like a family, in that Dad sets the direction. (I love stirring the pot.)
  • The Fifth Session, “What has technology done to humanity?”
    • Why I Think This World Should End: This video talks about the negative aspects of our society and recommends that the antidote is love.
    • Are we too loosely allowing future generations to view bad things? What has changed between the 1950’s and today? Culture, technology, expectations, values.
    • It’s feeding our insatiable appetite of inquisitiveness.
    • My slant: “there is a Book, that talks about Man’s propensity to use technology for self-advancement, instead of contentment. At the Tower of Babel, Man tried to eliminate God from their society, and failed.”
    • Computers allows us to do things quicker. We’re doing the bad things quicker. Technology amplifies what’s there.
    • In the Humanist Manifesto, which is the predominant philosophy of Western Society, the promise was that Science would solve all our ills. The problem is, that Science is driven by fallible human beings. A good case in point is fat was discovered to be “bad”, was removed, but was replaced with salt and sugar. The result: incredible obesity. So, the philosophy is corrupt, because its basis (a purely good humanity) is false.
  • The sixth session: “Does Technology enable or relieve loneliness/isolation, especially in the elderly?” What can be done to improve the situation in 2041, when 1.3M Kiwis will be over 65?
    • Is the Hugging Chair (in Japan) a good idea? Just because they built it, and it’s being used, does the need exist? Nobody doubts the need for real hugs. Can technology replace that? I doubt it.
    • My slant: The Wheton Law applies: “Don’t be a Dick.” Invest in relationships now, so that people want to interact with you later. It doesn’t really matter what technology exists in the future, if humans don’t want to talk to you. The Hugging Chair is tacky.

I’m going to blog this now, so that you get a feel for it.