Letters: April 2009

Letters: April 2009

“Bravina” Ad Sends Wrong Message
How I love to receive the Toastmaster every month! It provides a rich variety of informative and entertaining articles designed to inspire each one of us to continue developing communication and leadership skills. I was, however, very disappointed when I noticed in the February issue the advertisement for “Bravina” – the “speech pill…that will provide you with the control and confidence you need for public speaking.” I am amazed this type of advertisement would take place in our magazine! More importantly, how will this advertisement be perceived by an entire world audience? What is the underlying message?

In my opinion, the ad lacks integrity and respect for [all] Toastmasters, who dedicate their time and efforts to genuine progress in public speaking. Medication is not the key to success in oral communication. Success is the result of consistent efforts in the preparation, practice and presentation of the diverse speaking assignments in the Toastmasters program. That is how we develop self-confidence.
Kathy Stewart • Western Gourmet Toastmasters Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia 

More Speech Pill Complaints
For a number of years, in speaking with prospective new Toastmasters, I would state, “There is no pill to make you a better speaker. That only comes from the practice and experience you can get in a Toastmasters club.” So imagine my disgust when in the February issue of the Toastmaster I found a full-page color advertisement for a “natural” supplement that promises to help you overcome the anxiety of public speaking! My first thought was that this was some kind of joke, and try as I might, I just didn’t get it. I am appalled that our organization would accept this ad. The fact that this issue also had an article about protecting the Toastmasters brand is especially ironic.

Not only is this ad in direct conflict with our mission, but it strikes me as ethically unacceptable. First, this product has not been evaluated by the FDA or any other authoritative agency. Second, the photograph accompanying the ad shows a young boy overcome with anxiety. This implies that we should consider administering an untested supplement to a youngster.

I understand that, as a nonprofit organization, we need advertising revenues to finance the printing and distribution of the magazine. However, we need to exercise sound judgment when considering what is acceptable.
Joe Zafian, DTM • Central Connecticut Advanced Toastmasters Berlin, Connecticut

Editor’s Note: The Toastmaster received many letters critical of the Bravina “speech pill” advertisement. As a result, this company is no longer advertising in the magazine.

Lifting Spirits with a Life Lesson
Ever since I became a Toastmaster last year through our newly formed GSK club in Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, I’ve enjoyed reading the articles in the Toastmaster. The article by Fran Capo (“Humor Can Help You Through”) in the January issue was really interesting, useful and, most importantly, inspiring.

My sincere appreciation and cheers go out to this outstanding person for sharing her life experience; I’m sure her story has lifted the spirits of many Toastmasters around the world. Within the space of four pages, she successfully delivered a rare and unique life lesson. Thanks, Fran, and thanks, Toastmasters, for presenting such valuable messages through the monthly magazine.
Wazir Sourjah • GSK Toastmasters club • Moratuwa, Sri Lanka

The Prose and Cons
Whenever there is a disagreement about the meaning of a word, always consult an unabridged dictionary. If Keith Hart (“Letters” page, February) did that, he would have seen that his use of the word “prosaic” was correct, after all. Sure, the first meaning is indeed “lacking in wit or imagination,” but the second meaning is “of or having the character or form of prose rather than poetry.”
Donald A. Windsor • Preferred Club • New Berlin, New York

The Benefits of Toastmasters Training
I’ve been a Toastmaster for more than 20 years and I read the Toastmaster from cover to cover. Many thanks to Jeffrey Anderson and Renee Lam for each of their contributions to the “Letters” page in the January issue; they provided reminders of how Toastmasters training has paid off in daily life. Also, many thanks to Fran Capo, whose article in that same issue, “Humor Can Help You Through,” was so logical and uplifting.
Teresa J. Allen, ATM • Southwest Speakers club • Houston, Texas

Within the next 24 hours, take note of how many people use the word “basically” as a filler in their conversation. Note how the word is used and you will realize it’s just another form of the word “ah” or an unnecessary conversation filler. It’s the same with the word “etcetera.” Notice how some folks use “etcetera, etcetera, etcetera” to end their sentences.
Bowman Olds, ATMB • SOS Toastmasters • McLean, Virginia

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.