Letters: January 2010

Letters: January 2010

Letters to the Editor

Finding a Voice – and Visibility
Thank you for publishing the article “Breaking Down Stereotypes” by Corin Ramos (October). As an Asian woman in the Midwestern corporate world, and an Information Technology programmer working with a majority of men, I really struggled to find my voice for several years. I was told by a manager that my promotion was turned down because of my low visibility. Joining Toastmasters was the best decision I ever made. It has helped me to communicate better, be confident and find the inner me.

Not only did I benefit from this article, I will share it with my co-workers.
Nien-Tzu (Nancy) King, ACB, ALB • WelDon Toast Club • Weldon Spring, Missouri 

Acting More Assertively
Although I came to the United States when I was nine years old (50 years ago) and speak English without an accent, “Breaking Down Stereotypes” (October) brought back memories of experiences I had as an adult. I worked for a Japanese hotel for nine years and then took a position with Oakwood Worldwide [a housing provider] as a sales manager. After about a year, my manager took me aside to tell me I was too passive – or perceived as passive – not to my clients but to my co-workers.

I clearly remember that moment when I said to myself, “Wow, I’m really working for an American company.” My manager suggested I take some acting classes (we were near Hollywood, after all), but I found Toastmasters instead. I am a charter member of the Calabasas Toastmasters club, which was chartered in 1993. I still enjoy every meeting. My transformation was gradual but my manager and colleagues noticed the change. Now my manager recommends Toastmasters to new employees or tells them to contact me about it.

Thank you, Corin, for your wonderful contribution.
Nancy Hatsumi Walsh, ACS • Calabasas Toastmasters • Calabasas, California

Hear This: Tone Down the Cheerleading!
I am in total agreement with Florence Ferreira’s reaction to the cheerleader technique of many American speakers and moderators (“Know Thy Culture,” October). Although born and reared in the United States, I too have been turned off by the need of presenters (yes, even Toastmasters) to introduce their messages by shouting, “Are we having fun?” and, if the response is not enthusiastic enough, “I don’t hear you!”

American culture demands show biz in everything we do, and that usually equates to energy, speed and volume. Perhaps Toastmasters training should include the information that audience enthusiasm builds naturally after (and not before) the speaker presents a well-designed and delivered speech. The expectation is on the speaker, not the audience.
Jen Fredericks • Morristown Toastmasters • Morristown, New Jersey

Find a Club Gavel Wherever You Travel
Paul Sterman’s article “Broadening Your Horizons” (October) struck a chord with me. As a Toastmaster in tiny Switzerland, it’s not difficult to find yourself in another country when you take a trip. Whenever I travel, I go online and see if there’s a Toastmasters meeting in my destination city during my stay. I’ve visited a good half-dozen clubs in London, one in Brussels and another in Amsterdam. I often provide an evaluation and always take a try at Table Topics. I’ve actually taken a local friend to a meeting, and he ended up joining!

I call this the “Inter-Club Experience.” Combined with division and district conferences, it is a great way to expand your business network and make new friends.
Jack Vincent, CC, CL • Zug Club • Zug, Switzerland 

The Best Birthday Gift
I was born on the fifth of August in 1924. Eleven weeks later Toastmasters was born, so we are approximately the same age.

On the 14th of April in 2003, four weeks short of my 79th birthday, I did my Ice Breaker. This past October, having reached the ripe old age of 85, I celebrated Toastmasters’ 85th birthday by also reaching the Advanced Communicator Silver level.

I joined Toastmasters because I really wanted to learn how to put together and present a structured speech. Toastmasters has succeeded in transforming me from a shy, self-effacing introvert into a reasonably confident communicator. So much so that in 2008, I won the club and area Humorous Speech competition and was runner-up in the division contest.

Thank you, Toastmasters. You have turned my life around.
Lorelei Sandri, ACS • Kincumber Toastmasters • Umina Beach, New South Wales, Australia

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.