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Members' Forum March 2018


An Inspiring Article

I was reading some past Toastmaster magazines and came across an exceptional article by Dave Zielinski in the June 2017 issue: “A Toastmasters Guide to Civil Social Communication.” Wow! I read it, promptly re-read it, printed it and shared it on my social media page. This article could not have come at a better time in today’s political and social environments!

This issue continued to blow me away with articles about social network etiquette and presenting controversial topics. I want to applaud the editors and Toastmasters International for tackling sensitive issues in such an eloquent, open and professional manner. I also commend the organization for its openness to discuss sensitive or controversial topics, provided the discussions are executed with tact, empathy and humanity. I appreciated that the discussion of controversial topics was presented as a learning opportunity. All of us, at some point, will have to discuss things that bring us discomfort or that unintentionally incite disagreement. Toastmasters is a wonderfully supportive environment to practice skillful navigation.

Thank you for such an extraordinary issue. I look forward to continuing my Toastmasters journey down a path filled with more openness, increased empathy and professionalism.


Katie Hackett

Twin CIty Toastmasters
Stevensville, Michigan



Planning a Visit

I was delighted to read “A Traveling Toastmaster” by Sara Safari in the October 2017 issue. It is very interesting how Safari gave a TEDx Talk and gained the support of Toastmasters in Paris. I am impressed by how the members treated her like family, offering her meals and giving her a tour of their city. I am also amazed by how she survived a 7.8 magnitude earthquake while climbing Mount Everest.

My mom is a member of the Cream City Communicators club in Milwaukee, and she speaks about the friendship, support and warmth of her Toastmasters friends. From the article, I can tell that Toastmasters is a wonderful organization and I hope to attend a meeting soon. 


Ardeshir Irani

University School of Milwaukee



Staying in Focus

Your article [“Like, Um, How Do I Stop, Ya Know, Using Um and Ah?” By Lisa Marshall, September] on avoiding common filler words really resounded with me. Before I joined Toastmasters, my girlfriend said that if I were to be interviewed or quoted using filler words, it would make me seem unprepared and take the focus away from my message. 

I have heard many high-caliber speakers during my time at Auckland Toastmasters and it seems the key to avoiding unwanted fillers is the pause and silence. Rather than using filler words to gather thoughts to progress in the speech, simply pausing or using short silences will almost always allow the brain and mouth to sync and synergize. Thanks for helping me to remove those easy-to-use but needless filler words!


Ray Calver

Auckland Toastmasters Club
New Zealand



Rhetorical Devices

In the November article “Say It With Flair” by Bill Brown, DTM, I was amazed by the skillful tips he offers. He clearly outlined the various rhetorical devices and related them to well-known speakers. I also liked the websites he included as resources. Brown’s writing also had the unique flair of challenging readers to find the triads that he used in the article itself. I implemented them in my upcoming speech. I learned. I implemented. I excelled, thanks to his advice.


Phyllis G. Williams, ACG, ALB

Bronco Toastmasters
Fayetteville, North Carolina


“I commend the organization for its openness to discuss sensitive or controversial topics, provided the discussions are executed with tact, empathy and humanity.”

— KATIE HACKETT
Twin City Toastmasters
Stevensville, Michigan

Movie Worthy

“John Mabry: Turning Trauma into ­Triumph” (November) by Dave Zielinski is a touching and inspiring story. It occurred to me that in this story, Toastmasters helped Mabry share his message to combat substance abuse (recently declared a national emergency in the United States) with confidence before a large audience and to be a better husband/father. As Mabry mentioned, “We’re going to make mistakes, but the only way to succeed is to keep at it and not be afraid to reach out for help when you need it.”

Editor’s note: View John Mabry’s testimonial video.


Bruce Yang, DTM

Taichung Toastmasters
Taichung, Taiwan





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