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January 5, 2006 [ More archived home pages here ]

The Starbucks Influence

Today's song is, You And Me by Neil Young released in 1991.

Lately Sherry, DJ, and I have frequent stops at the local Starbucks. There we enjoy different selections: Sherry likes Green Tea; DJ enjoys coffee and chocolate; and I drink decaf with sweetener and half-and-half. Previously we have stayed away from Starbucks for no particular reason. Now we go there for no particular reason.

We talk about things there that we do not discuss at other times. Funny how a coffee shop can cause such changes in the daily routine of life. I wonder if this new habit will stay with us or will it wither away when the novelty wears off?

I suggested we go there last night because I was celebrating a deeply personal speech I gave yesterday at my Twin Oaks Toastmasters club from the Storytelling Advanced Manual. It was my second Storytelling speech and I felt good giving it. The topic was the years spanning the birth of our daughter to now. The title was, First, I Cried, and I imparted the emotion of the entire 8-minute and 35-seconds speech in the first-person without becoming overwhelmed with emotion. It is not easy to keep one's composure when speaking about deeply held feelings in public. I took a big step towards my storytelling goals with this speech and I thank the audience for their kind remarks and especially my evaluator for helping me see areas of improvement to work on in my future storytelling presentations.

In our club, we give speeches without notes and we use appropriate gestures, body movements, and vocal variety to express ourselves directly in front of the audience. Speakers get immediate feedback from trained evaluators providing a verbal analysis of the speaker and from audience comments in the form of written notes. That process helps members achieve effective speaking skills in a continual learning process as they advance in the organization.

When I was President of that club, I used to hold some of my officer meetings at the San Marcos Starbucks shown below. I was the first President to hold officer meetings on the outside and I think it helped the team achieve our club goals in that relaxing and scenic environment.

Starbucks is becoming influential in my thinking. I meet some of my other friends there from time-to-time and we discuss a variety of subjects. Maybe someday you and I will talk about something there, for no particular reason, if you like.


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