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April 2024
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Members' Forum November 2017

A Passion for Table Topics

I’d like to thank Christopher Cox, DTM, for his inspirational message in the article “10 Tips for Terrific Table Topics” [July]. After reading it, my inhibitions vanished and Table Topics has become my passion. The points he gives are thrilling, exciting and motivating. I would suggest that all my fellow members read through the article and be enriched.

Tomy Joseph

Muhaisnah Toastmasters club
Muhaisnah, Dubai

Online Option

It is great to be able to read the Toast­master online now. Thanks so much for all your effort to make the great magazine available much faster. Members might now pass on the printed magazine (the online version is always available) to friends and prospective members—an excellent way to spread Toastmasters.

Engelbert Olesch, CL

Munich Toastmasters club
Munich, Germany

The CL Manual

I am surprised that in his article “Your First Few Speech Evaluations” [August], Bill Brown didn’t mention that most obvious training tool for club roles: the Competent Leadership (CL) manual. Our club encourages new members and their mentors to use this manual as a guide when the newbie begins to take on club roles. The first three projects show what is expected:

  • First time: Just show that you can listen.
  • Second time: Demonstrate that you understand the speaker’s ideas and feelings.
  • Third time: Help the speaker by noticing and encouraging their strengths and by offering suggestions for how they might improve. 

The CL manual not only guides new members, it also provides an outline for the general evaluator or the mentor, to give feedback. By the time new members do the three projects, they will be well on their way to becoming valuable contributors to the club.

Elaine MacDonald, ACB, ALB

Ladysmith Toastmasters club
Ladysmith, British Columbia, Canada

A New Path

I read with fascination the article “Second Chances” by inmate Neal Goyal [July]. The Toastmasters program gives exactly what Mr. Goyal states and much more.

I am a 29-year volunteer for three Toastmasters prison clubs in Massachusetts and every word Goyal writes rings true. Toastmasters has been a part of our prison system since the mid-1970s, and is regarded here as the best program within the system. Many volunteers offer their time and talents to help hundreds of men and women behind prison walls. Coincidently, one club here in Massachusetts is also named “Second Chances,” and meetings give inmates the opportunity to begin a new path in their lives after making poor choices and wrong decisions.

George Manoogian, DTM

Spirited Speakers
Middleboro, Massachusetts

Overcoming Barriers

Having grown up with a stutter, I actively avoided speaking in public. It was just a few months ago that I decided to overcome my fear and observe a Toastmasters meeting. I was determined not to say a word. However, by the end of the meeting I felt comfortable enough to participate in Table Topics. I then proceeded to join the club and prepare my first-ever speech. It was a nerve-wracking experience, but I have never met such a supportive group of people. They encouraged me from the beginning and I am going to be presenting my second speech at the next meeting. It was a difficult first step, but Toastmasters has done wonders for my confidence and I now feel more comfortable speaking up and participating in discussions at university.

Mikaela Rijkmans

Pinelands Club
Cape Town, South Africa

Inspiring Read

The article on Erin Gruwell and the Freedom Writers [May] is the most inspiring article I’ve ever read in the Toastmaster magazine and I’ve been reading it for over 30 years. My congratulations to Dave ­Zielinski for writing it up so well.

Arthur Thomas Ware, DTM

Dundas Club
Dundas Valley, New South Wales, Australia

Fun Meetings

“The Importance of Having Fun” (August) by Maureen Zappala reminded me of why I joined Taichung Toastmasters club. Just as Maureen described of other clubs—“fun twists on tradition, fun meeting themes and fun events outside the normal meeting site”— my club added a fun twist to meetings. The Toastmaster of the meeting came prepared with interesting themes and we celebrated holidays. After each meeting we gathered at a nearby restaurant for food, conversation and fun. The atmosphere was fun. Members never hesitated to take on leadership roles, and achieving President’s Distinguished was a piece of cake.

Bruce Yang, DTM

Taichung Toastmasters club
Taichung, Taiwan

Do you have something to say? Write it in 200 words or less. Send us your name, member number and home club. Please note: Letters are subject to editing for length and clarity, and may be published in both the print and electronic editions.


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