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Members' Forum July 2017

Impressive Accomplishments

I was inspired by Paul Sterman’s two articles [in the March issue] about the Global Messengers, participants in the Special Olympics who are also active Toastmasters. I watched the reality show Born This Way and admired the accomplishments of the seven young people with Down syndrome—particularly Rachel Osterbach. Congratulations to Rachel and to all the Global Messengers who excel in Toastmasters! With the love and support of their parents and mentors in Toast­masters, great things can happen.

Edda R. Bevilacqua, ACB

Santa Maria Toastmasters
Santa Maria, California

Technology Overload

The “Snackification of Communication” article [February] by Lisa B. Marshall intrigued me. I was overwhelmed reading the cons of this trend toward briefer, more casual interactions. Yes, there are pros as well, such as the reduction of time it takes to communicate by texting, for example.

Technology has allowed us to connect with our digital devices and now we feel lost without them. Communication channels have increased; however, the quality and content of communication has decreased to a great extent. Most of us have the ability to speak. This is the way we convey our feelings, and we should speak to the best of our ability. We need to disconnect from our gadgets and reconnect with ourselves in order to discover our treasure trove of hidden talents.

Thank you, Toastmasters, for giving us the opportunity to speak during our meetings and network with our friends and colleagues, and for acting as a catalyst in bringing about the desired changes in our lives.

Shalini Menezes, ACS, ALB

Emirates Group Toastmasters
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Loving Love Stories

I really enjoyed Mary Nesfield’s Toastmasters love stories in “When Chance Meetings Take on New Meanings” [February]. It was a reminder of how fortunate I was to meet my future wife through Toastmasters!

For more than 27 years, I never had a girlfriend and I was starting to think I would be single for the rest of my life. My grandfather introduced me to Toastmasters in high school in Taiwan. I took an eight-year hiatus from my club due to school and working in the United States. When I came back to Taiwan, this time it was my dad who invited me to visit clubs around Taipei. It was there, at Formosa Toastmasters, that I met one of the most passionate members in Taiwan: Gordon Brooks. It was through him that I met my future wife, Isa.

Isa stumbled upon Toastmasters during an interview. The interviewer suggested that she could improve her English by joining a club. She went to the wrong location and asked someone there about Toastmasters. The person she asked belonged to another club—the Formosa club.

As my friend Gordon says, at Toastmasters you can meet the right person, at the right place and the right time.

Steven Chen, ACB, CL

Prestige Toastmasters
Taipei, Taiwan

Thrive in Joy

Inspiring and uplifting. Those are the two words that came to mind after reading the article “Finding Joy After Tragedy” in the March issue. Mr. Jay Fagnano, grieving father of Nick, who met with a premature death, embarked on his Toastmasters adventure and experienced the therapeutic aspect of speaking about that tragic event.

This has made me reflect on one key characteristic of a Toastmasters audience—they are attentive listeners. More importantly, they practice the art of “bracketing,” which involves temporarily giving up or setting aside one’s own prejudices, frame of reference and desires, in order to experience the world from the speaker’s point of view. By joining Toastmasters, Mr. Fagnano undoubtedly knocked at the right door in his attempt to improve his ability to express his immense loss and to work through his grief.

I wish Mr. and Mrs. Fagnano the best in their noble endeavor to better the lives of so many children. And to Nick Fagnano, I want to say, “Thrive in Joy!”

Zeenat Fugurally

Speak Up Toastmasters club
Ebene, Mauritius

Story On!

The March cover of the Toastmaster magazine says, “Personal Storytelling Draws Crowds.” It does. It also results in being invited as a guest speaker to tell stories. For example, my own experience: 854 invitations.

In the article “Story Takes a Turn,” author Craig Harrison writes that personal storytelling is a logical path for Toast­masters. It is. My love of storytelling resulted in my being honored to present storytelling workshops in Toastmasters at several district conferences. To quote Harrison, “Tap into your own stories, show your humanity and build community as you share your narrative with others. Story on!” I have. Let’s hope many other Toastmasters take this advice.

Arthur Thomas Ware, DTM

Dundas Club
Dundas Valley, New South Wales, Australia

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