1) What happens during a normal meeting and how often would an individual be
called upon to speak at a future meeting?
The rhythm of a normal meeting generally has three main components (often in this order):
Table Topics (10-20 minutes), prepared Speeches (1-3 speeches, taking 10-25 minutes),
and General Evaluation (speech evaluations, helpers' reports - "ah" counter, grammarian,
timer - and awards presentation, taking 10-15 minutes).
Sometimes we flip the order of Table Topics and prepared Speeches.
Occasionally (historically during the summer), we will provide opportunities for 3-minute
"Impromptu Speeches" - sort of like an expanded Table Topic, but with the speaker able to
choose the topic.
We are VERY flexible regarding expectations for prepared speeches.
Some of our members have averaged one speech per month (fairly aggressive).
Others averaged one speech per quarter.
When you decide to speak is driven by your schedule, although a membership of 10-12 supports
a chance for each member to speak about once a month. Again, our main principles guiding
this are service and flexibility - we are here to serve our members' speaking needs and goals
in as flexible a manner as possible. The only constraint (if you could even call it that)
is that a member does follow through with a scheduled speaking time once they have committed
to it (an important discipline), or find a substitute with enough lead time for that
alternate speaker to adequately prepare (usually at least a day or two, although Jesse Black
and a few others sometimes agree to give speeches on 12-hours' notice, when needed).
2) I have a key meeting every other Wednesday morning that I need to prepare for.
What would be the ramifications if I would only attend every other
week on a regular basis?
Regarding regular attendance, again we are flexible. Your Wednesday meetings
may not last forever (or maybe they'll become less stressful and exhausting!).
If you aren't able to come every week, that is not a problem. Anh (as VP of
Education) creates our monthly schedule of assigned duties ahead of time with
input from all members, so you could request no duties (or only light duties)
on those days when you have one of your other "intense" meetings.
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