Letters – March 2007

Letters – March 2007

Letters to the Editor

Don’t Stress Over the Dress
I was taken aback by Tammy D. Bailey’s letter in the January issue. Personally I thought this was one of the most eye-catching cover photos I have seen in your magazine since I joined Toastmasters in 1984.

We must realize that we learn best when we are having fun. I wish to congratulate the pretty lady for her fantastic panel moderating pose.
Douglas Wijesinha, CTM • Colombo Toastmaster Club Colombo, Sri Lanka

Dressing Up or Dressing Down?
I just couldn’t stop laughing at the “dressing down” the lovely young lady on the cover of the December issue has received in the Letters to the Editor section. The tone sounded more like a chastisement than an evaluation.

I didn’t have a problem with the young lady’s attire. I took a closer look at the photo and found that the audience’s attire tells us more about the picture than first meets the eye. My guess is the meeting was held in a very hot location and just maybe the air conditioner wasn’t up to speed. Thus, the short sleeves and sleeveless dress.

Casual and informal attire has its merits. It creates a relaxed and more personal atmosphere. How people dress is subjective and can also be dictated by geography and climate. For instance, I know of a club on the coast that meets near the beach. Many of its members work in the beach industry and attend meetings in shorts and shake sand out of their sandals as they enter the building. Are shorts and sandals appropriate attire? Obviously not at a corporate club downtown. But, since shorts and sandals are the norm at the beach, why not?

Sure, Toastmasters suggests dressing appropriately for meetings, for your leadership role, for speech contests and for banquets. But what might be one cat’s furball could be another cat’s meow. Give the lady a little credit. She had on stockings and a nice pair of shoes. And for crying out loud, leave the publishers and editors alone. They do a great job.
Michael Kesselring, DTM • Mountain Messengers Sylva, North Carolina 

Who Should Impress Whom?
I wish to point out a serious misprint in the Rosetta Stone advertisement on page 17 in the February issue. The ad shows a young man in a white T-shirt and baseball cap looking out across a field in thoughtful pose with this caption:

He was a hardworking farm boy.
She was an Italian supermodel.
He knew he would have just one chance to impress her.

Instead, the last line obviously should read:

She knew she would have only one chance to impress him!

I would appreciate it if you would make this amendment to this particular advertisement in any future editions.
Richard Walsh, dairy farmer, CL • Clonmel Club County Tipperary, Ireland 

High Score for Evaluation Issue
The timing of February’s special issue on evaluations was great for our four-month-old club. Everybody at our last meeting praised the articles, especially the one by Shelia Spencer, “3 Points to Keep Your Evaluation on Target.” This article offers an excellent framework for speech evaluators.

Unlike cultures in other parts of the world, many people in Europe are not used to giving and receiving feedback outside of the formal corporate performance evaluation or education system. It’s easy to become defensive and afraid to help others evolve. Our meetings are improving every week because we are now more confident giving honest analysis, thoughtful recommendations and encouragement.
Francisco Saraiva • Oporto Toastmasters Club Porto, Portugal 

Planning for Effective Evaluations
While paging through the February issue, I saw Shelia Spencer’s article on evaluations. When I saw the author’s name I knew I had to read it.

I liked the theme that evaluations are for everyone attending meetings, not just for the speaker. At some clubs the speaker and evaluator frequently stand and talk at each other, thereby missing the growth opportunity for the entire audience. Avoiding subjectivity was also a salient point, especially when not being familiar with a speaker’s background.

One suggestion that was not included is the importance of evaluators and speakers getting together for a “practice session” to gear the evaluation not just to the manual but to specific goals the speaker might have.

Thanks again for a great article!
Jim Simms, CTM • Oldsmar Top of the Morning Club Oldsmar, Florida