Letters: September 2008

Letters: September 2008

Letters to the Editor

Grammar Dispute
Marc Delesclefs’ letter and the editor’s response to it (July) neatly encapsulated one of the problems facing the Toastmaster. This is the magazine of Toastmasters International and ought to reflect the international nature of the organization, including differing from American grammar and usage in favor of a broader view where necessary.

The editor’s statement is correct only within the USA and other places that share its usage of English. It is incorrect when looked at from the point of view of English speakers away from the United States.

The editor was correct with the comment “Grappling with grammar rules is always a challenge,” particularly when the “mistake” she is correcting is seen as being proper usage by a large number of English speakers. It would have been so easy to let the letter be published without comment. I ask the editor to be more internationally aware in the future.
Brian Duckworth, DTM • Mercury’s Motivators Buderim, Queensland, Australia

The Power of Podcasts
I have been a Toastmaster for about 1½ years. I have wondered why so much of Toastmasters’ communication is written. This is ironic, considering our organization promotes giving one’s voice potential. For example, I would much rather listen to a DTM talk about how to deliver a humorous speech than to read about it in the magazine.

I brought this issue to my club in February. The result: TOTV Radio (a.k.a. Toast of the Valley Radio), a “live” mobile podcast at the end of each meeting – during the meeting! The impact has been phenomenal. It has helped promote our club to potential members, while at the same time communicating with current members. It has energized the end of our meeting. As part of the Reports section of the meeting, the Radio Host (now a regular meeting role) calls into our service (http://hipcast.com). The Radio Host talks about the highlights of the meeting and interviews other Toastmasters in the room.

Members of our club say that recording a TOTV Radio episode has an edgy, Table Topics feel to it – propelled by the awareness that the episode will be published instantly to our podcast stream.

We have even pushed the envelope and have recorded a couple of video podcasts!

Members have a variety of options for listening to TOTV Radio. They can subscribe via iTunes. They can subscribe via Google, Yahoo or a host of other personal Web pages and news readers. They can go to our Web site (http://www.uppervalleytoastmasters.org/) and listen to the stream. They can even subscribe via e-mail using our Feedblitz account. We track subscriptions and “hits” to our podcast using Feedburner.

Join us and take your club to the airwaves! Energize the power of your voice with the Internet!
G. Scott Graham, ACB, CL • A Toast of the Valley • Fairlee, Vermont

Present Information – Not Special Effects
Sally Herigstad’s article (“Giving Effective Financial Presentations with PowerPoint,” July) was excellent. Her suggestion on going easy with transitions cannot be emphasized enough. It seems that many PowerPoint presenters love to get overly creative with transitions. They accomplish nothing but are distracting and waste time.

In the movies, transitions denote major scene changes. In the old days, a fade-out/fade-in gave additional information. When the hero and heroine embraced and headed for the bedroom, the “fade” meant a scene change – usually to the next morning. The audience knew, or thought it did, what happened during the fade.

The PowerPoint presenter should provide a verbal fade to introduce the next topic while leaving the last slide on the screen. Stay with the “flip” and go to the next slide like the old days with slide projectors. PowerPoint should be used to present information, not theatrical effects.
Bob Ziller, CC • New Richmond Toastmasters New Richmond, Wisconsin 

Keen on Green!
One thing I’ve always noticed at Toastmaster meetings is the large amount of paper (for agendas, Table Topics, etc.) and plastic water bottles that are used. These items then wind up in the garbage at the end of meetings. As a suggestion, at the end of the meeting, appoint one person to collect the discarded paper, and one person to collect the plastic water bottles. The appointed people will take the items home to their recycling boxes.
Mitch W. Klinger • Woodbridge Toastmasters • Woodbridge, ON, Canada 

Welcome Advice
Hats off to Aileen Storoshchuk for writing the wonderful article “Small Steps to Successful Speech Writing” (July). I have been a Toastmaster for less than a year and am exactly at the point she describes – pondering how to write and deliver speech three in the Competent Communication manual.

The article is very perceptive and offers tremendous analysis, advice and encouragement for people on the foothills of Competent Communication.
Stephen McClelland • Tube Talk Toastmasters Camberley Surrey, United Kingdom

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.