Letters: April 2010

Letters: April 2010

Letters to the Editor

Medical Story Makes Healthy Contribution
As a fellow Toastmaster from Switzerland, I would like to thank and congratulate Florence Ferreira for her article “A Visit to the Doctor” (January). I was touched by her courage and spirit, and her good sense of humor too.

I think the information in the article is very valuable and also very much to the point. Moreover, it reveals a lot of warmth and understanding for both sides – patients and doctors!
Marianne Krampe, CC • Bern Toastmasters • Bern, Switzerland 

Traveling Down Under
I applaud the article “Broadening Your Horizons” by Paul Sterman (October). I have been a Toastmaster for five years and love to travel, but last September was my first time attending a Toastmasters meeting in another nation. We were given a fine welcome by the Chattswood Communicators of Sydney, Australia, and enjoyed participating in Table Topics as well as hearing three fine prepared speeches.

We can learn from visiting other clubs anywhere, but visiting a club in another country adds a new dimension. Naturally, upon my return home I gave a speech about the experience and distributed copies of the battered meeting agenda that had traveled with me all those miles. I certainly hope to attend club meetings in other countries in the future.
Christina E. “Betsy” Chesney, CC, ATMB • Downtown Dazzlers • Chattanooga, Tennessee

Turning Around Table Topics Fears
The article “Turning the Tables on Table Topics” by Craig Harrison (February) completely removed the fears I have endured since joining Toastmasters in early 2006. Undoubtedly, Table Topics is one of the most valuable segments of Toastmasters meetings, although many of us are frightened by it.

At our club’s last meeting, equipped with the valuable 12 strategies described in Craig’s article, I faced the hitherto terrifying and frustrating Table Topics session with a profound confidence. I enjoyed this sense of achievement, even though I was still given suggestions for improvement.

At the end of the meeting, I requested that all my fellow members read Craig’s article. I employed just one of his recommended strategies – “reframing” – and I am eagerly looking forward to using the other 11 in future Table Topics sessions.
Gamini Senanayake, CC, CL • Wayamba Toastmasters • Sri Lanka 

The Good Work of Toastmasters
Our club believes in reaching out to our community to promote the benefits of Toastmasters, and recently we conducted a Toastmasters presentation to an English Language School in Indonesia.

One of my Toastmasters friends was unemployed at the time and offered to give his time to help in the presentation. As an unexpected result of that, the school saw his potential and offered him a job.

To me, this really speaks to the benefits of improving our communication skills through Toastmasters, and proves that the time we give in serving others is never wasted.
Matt Price, ACB • Club president, Jakarta Toastmasters • Jakarta, Indonesia 

In Favor of Evolving Language
In her article “The Link Between Language and Leaders” (February), Diana Booher makes a number of good points. However, I find some of her comments too rigid and displaying a measure of intellectual elitism.

In the article, she rails against “verbing” words and against inventing new words. This is too rigid. While I agree that one should try to verify if good words already exist, we should not be afraid of the invention of new words when it makes sense.

The richness of the English language has developed through the invention of new words and the incorporation of words from other languages. William Shakespeare, the reference point of our language, is said to by himself have invented some 2000 words.

Languages are constructed through the invention of new words. Languages that do not evolve, including the invention of new words, become dead. While we must be careful in our grammar and the correct use of the words, we must allow our language to develop and live.
Mark Louis Uhrich, ACB • Busy Professionals Toastmasters • Paris, France 

Wowed by Article on Writing
Philip Yaffe’s article “The Better You Write It, The Better You Say It” (March) is the best article I have ever read on the why and how of writing a speech. I recommend that it be saved and used by every Toastmaster.

However, the adage he cites is not that seven percent of a speech is verbal and 93 percent nonverbal. The adage is that an audience may get only seven percent from the verbal if the nonverbal detracts or distracts sufficiently from the verbal. A great piece of writing, one that follows both the principles and the tips of Mr Yaffe’s article, can be lost with flat, nervous or agitated delivery.

A clear, concise and dense message becomes effective and memorable with good vocal variety and body language – which include appropriate tone, dress, grooming, posture and gestures.
Harvey Davey, ATM • Orléans Raconteurs • Orleans, Ontario, Canada

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.