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Members' Forum September 2017


Toastmasters Letters

Along for the Ride

I loved the article Maureen Zappala wrote about the Harley-Davidson Toastmasters clubs [May]. I ride a Harley with my boyfriend. I would have never guessed Harley-Davidson supported Toastmasters. What a fantastic company! I always read my Toastmaster magazine cover to cover, but when I saw the Harley-Davidson article I had to read it first. Thanks so much!


Jan Nichols

Shining Stars club
Irving, Texas



An Essential Read

Silvana Clark’s article, “5 Myths About the Life of a Professional Speaker,” was essential reading in the April issue. I have been a public speaker for nearly two decades (my area of focus is film history) and can relate to all her key points. The life of a professional speaker is not glamorous, so it is essential that those of us hired to speak at conferences, seminars, classes and whatnot are passionate about our subject(s). It is important to understand that in many cases the spreading and sharing of information—not necessarily the speaker’s fees—will be the most rewarding aspects of the work.

To the speakers who occasionally receive malicious “evaluations” from some audience members outside of Toastmasters, my advice is to follow the practice of many actors: Don’t read your performance reviews. Even if nine out of 10 respondents loved your presentation, there will always be one embittered crank whose task is to complain about everything in life. Yes, we should always strive to improve our presentation skills, but there is nothing to be gained by forcing ourselves to read the petty rants of people who have no public speaking training or experience. Well done, Toastmaster Clark!


Max Alvarez, ACS, CL

SEC Roughriders club
New York, New York



Just a Suggestion

I loved Jesse Scinto’s advice in the March 2017 article “What is Plagiarism and How Can You Avoid It?” He suggested short-version citations like, “Someone once said …” It announces to the audience that the words are not our own, without all the time necessary for a complete and accurate citation. Imagine the agony of listening to a speaker who actually verbalizes, “h” “t” “t” “p” “colon” “forward slash”....

But in the engineering and scientific circles I’m familiar with, nothing short of a fully functional and complete citation is acceptable. In written text, it is handled smoothly with a footnote, with a list of citations at the end. What about a speech? The speaker could pass out a printed list of citations, but that would be awkward. Most of the audience is not really interested in the citations anyhow.


Dick Mills, CC

Toasting Ocala and Golden Triangle Toastmasters clubs
Ocala/Mt. Dora, Florida



A True Treasure

I just finished reading Mike Storkey’s Viewpoint [April]. This is one of his best yet! It is about the best part of Toastmasters ... making everyone feel welcome. We do need good leaders in our world today. One of the best parts of a meeting is when you evaluate another member’s speech, you are helping a fellow member improve and grow. Toastmasters is truly a treasure in today’s self-centered world.


Jerry Angelstad, ACS, ALB

Carlton Trail club
Humboldt, Saskatchewan, Canada



The Unexpected

“From the Internet to the Inner-Net” by Suzanne Frey (April) impressed me, so much so that I watched Gopi Kallayil’s TEDx Talk immediately after reading the article. That Google has a Toastmasters club surprised me. Kallayil’s “9 Principles of Innovation at Google” also inspired me. However, it is how Kallayil handled the situation when his computer crashed just before he was about to deliver his keynote at a Wisdom 2.0 conference before 400 people that impressed me most. When we are alone onstage, it takes wisdom to deal with the unexpected, be it a crashed computer, a broken microphone, a suddenly blank mind or a strong reaction from the audience.

Kallayil practices mindfulness through yoga and medidation to become wiser. To become wiser and learn more about myself is part of why I love Toastmasters. I get many opportunities to challenge myself and grow. An unexpected situation onstage is nothing serious to me. What is serious is finding a way out. I keep searching for better ways, and this article offers me a precious key.


Bruce Yang, DTM

Taichung Toastmasters club
Taichung, Taiwan





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