Letters: June 2009
Letters to the Editor
The Common Thread in Toastmasters
I truly enjoyed Julie Bawden Davis’ article, “Giving Hope to the Homeless” (April). It was inspiring to read about the members in the shelter and how the club not only helped them with public speaking skills, but also with confidence, self-esteem and leadership. It is a common thread that Toastmasters provides a supportive environment, whether you are in Georgia, California, or outside the United States. I look forward to more articles from Julie!
Sandra Yoshida, CC • Advanced Expressions Club • New York, NY
I wanted to share some accolades in regards to Julie Bawden Davis’ article “Giving Hope to the Homeless.” Julie spent over six hours interviewing members from Clifton Toastmasters for the article. I watched the men walk away with their heads held high after speaking with Julie. I was amazed at how Julie was able to take all that material, condense it into two pages, and yet keep the integrity of each person she interviewed in her report.
The interview was a jolt of energy for the men from Clifton in which they became more motivated with their participation in the club. Keep in mind these men have lost hope and are in despair, based on their situation; consequently, the article uplifted their spirit in more ways than one. Julie did an awesome job with the interviewing process.
Jeannine P. Jean-Pierre, ACB, ALB • Peachtree Club • Atlanta, Georgia
Am I The Only One?
Each month I read the Toastmaster magazine, and I don’t know how many contributors have claimed that Toastmasters has transformed their lives in some positive way. Well this can only be good. But surely this is not why most people join.
I am a member of the Bossuet Gaveliers, in Luxembourg, the oldest club in Europe. There are three other clubs in Luxembourg (two English, one French) with whom we interact at district level. The majority of people I meet join Toastmasters for the mixture of social and intellectual pleasure it can bring. One or two have certainly grown in confidence as individuals but I doubt whether those who feel no major life improvement (other than their speaking skills) feel particularly short-changed.
Even if the articles continue to be inspirational in character, can we not hear, via the letters, from others who just do it because it is fun?
Steve Richards, ACB • Bossuet Gaveliers • Luxembourg
Thinking Like a Loser
I have experienced win and loss in the evaluation contests in just three weeks. Between the win and the loss, I read John Kinde’s article in the March Toastmaster, “Thinking Like a Loser,” many times. I really appreciate his thoughts on handling the psychology of losing the contests.
Just three days before our club evaluation contest, the contest chair asked me to participate in the contest. I wasn’t sure whether I could do well because English is not my first language. Finally, I entered the contest and easily won it.
Before the contest at the area level, I read articles about speech evaluation and watched speaking videos on YouTube. When I watched American Idol, I even paid attention to how the judges made comments. However, during the contest, I was stuck in a key sentence at the beginning and my facial expression [became] stiff.
Losing a contest is not a bad thing. It allows me to see more aspects that I can improve. I will try the following: 1. Speak without a lectern; 2. Improve my pronunciation; 3. Enter more contests.
Jason Zhang • Deer Park Club • Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I give two thumbs up for the article “Thinking Like a Loser” by John Kinde (March). I was initially attracted by the ‘Taylor Hicks gray hair” cover, but as I read the article I enjoyed how the author expressed his thoughts in a simple and light manner without using a single jargon word. Like Simon and Kara used to comment in American Idol, it is simply brilliant and artistic. Of all the articles I’ve read, I find this to be the most enjoyable so far. Kudos to John!
Martin Loh • BM Big Foot Club • Penang, Malaysia