Letters: May 2008

Letters: May 2008

Letters to the Editor

Turn Right, Please
Wow! I am now getting a feeling as to where the Toastmaster magazine is headed. First we had a [story on] one of the most liberal politicians, Al Gore, in reference to his [multimedia presentation] “An Inconvenient Truth” – or maybe it should be “An Inconvenient Lie”?

Now I see Chris Matthews is in the February issue of this magazine. Are you becoming a spokesman for the liberals? I would like to see a conservative viewpoint.
Millie Shaeffer, ATMB • Harco Club • Edgewood, Maryland 

Hooray for Piece on Hardball Host
After receiving my (February ’08) Toastmaster magazine today, I immediately read it from cover to cover. I was especially moved by “A Conversation with Chris Matthews.” I appreciated the questions that Suzanne Frey had for Chris. Maybe the magazine’s next guest should be Oprah – to hear how she “connects with people” when doing her TV show.

Hopefully, Toastmasters International can offer her a Communication and Leadership Award at one of our future TI conventions! I believe [Matthews and Oprah] both are ready to be acknowledged with Toastmasters’ highest honor.
Del Calderini, DTM, PDG • Toast of the Fax Club • Sycamore, Illinois 

Judge Fairly
The recent responses regarding the “Inconvenient Truth” article highlight a glaring gap in the mindset of too many Toastmasters. We are never to evaluate a club speech or judge a contest speech based on our personal opinion of the speaker’s subject matter. End of story!

Many experienced Toastmasters remain ignorant of this fact, and too many club speakers and contestants suffer as a result. The goal of Toastmasters is to evaluate and judge based on the skill sets we learn from our manuals: speech structure, organization and grammar, delivery skills, and overall effectiveness of the speech.

Was the audience motivated to take action from the speaker’s point of view – regardless of whether or not the evaluator/judge agrees with that point of view? As Toastmasters, we must be open-minded to our fellow club members’ ideas.
Gail Frei, ACB • Treasure Coast Toastmasters Club • Stuart, Florida 

Get Tested
The misunderstandings that Marion Amberg described in “Do You Hear What I Hear?” (December ’07) are indicative of a high-frequency hearing loss. As a hearing aid specialist with 25 years in the profession, I would recommend a hearing test.

Most sensorineural hearing loss comes gradually and painlessly. In many cases, the high-frequency nerves are the first to go. They provide almost all speech clarity in the form of consonants.

In noisy listening environments, it is difficult to understand speech, even with normal hearing.
Gene Lipin, ACB • Burbank Toastmasters • Burbank, California 

Special Delivery
Toastmasters literature emphasizes that evaluators and audiences should focus on the delivery of a speech, not the content. Thus, I was surprised to read the letters in the February issue of the Toastmaster expressing concern about the perceived political content of the “Inconvenient Truth” article in the December issue.

Depending on your point of view, almost anything could be considered inappropriate, undesirable or incompatible.

A piece on keeping Christ in Christmas may be entirely appropriate for an audience of Catholics and Protestants, but it may be uncomfortable, or even offensive, to Jews, Muslims, Hindus and others. Any of our Toastmasters clubs may have as members Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, Democrats, Republicans – who knows, who cares? We are all there for the same reason: to enhance our speaking and delivery skills. And we are all expected to respect the views of others.

Whether you agree with the assertions about global warming or not should be of no consequence. Now let’s do our job as Toastmasters and talk about Al’s delivery...
Dave Heglund • Honeywell Astros • Minneapolis, Minnesota 

Costume Talk
Regarding the article “Who Am I Now?” (April 2008), it was a pleasure to finally see the topic [of costuming] presented. I have always promoted “costume awareness” in my fellow club members. A wardrobe mishap could be more damaging than “ahs,” “ums” or “you knows”!

Unlike other errors, clothes not only talk about you (or who you’re trying to represent), they never shut up. This subject has not been sufficiently stressed in the basic guides to new members. Let’s have more unusual subjects like this.
Peggy A. Caselle, DTM Club 5659 Syracuse, New York>

Do you have something to say? Write it in 200 words or less, sign it with your name, address and club affiliation and send it to letters@toastmasters.org.