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Members' Forum May 2018

Kudos to Mindfulness

I just wanted to tell you how happy I was to read Caren Neile’s article on Mind­fulness [February].

As technology’s impact on our com­munication continues to speed up our lives, it’s fascinating to see the rise in prominence of approaches like mind­fulness, HeartMath and other approaches to being more present and in tune with ourselves. They counteract forces that distract, vie for our attention or even bombard us in efforts to persuade us.

Thank you for continuing to tap the pulse of your ever-changing membership to address timely topics. They provide crucial keys to success for communicators and leaders in the 21st century.

Craig Harrison, DTM

Silicon Valley Improvmasters
San Jose, California

Down with the Bell!

Evaluation is the opportunity to point out if a speaker is distracting from their message with too many crutch words. We do not interrupt a speaker mid-speech to tell them their word choice could have been more vivid. We do not bang a gong when a speaker fails to use their hands in a purposeful way. In fact, if someone in the audience does something to distract the speaker intentionally, we generally considered it poor form. 

So why is it that some clubs think it is acceptable to interrupt a speaker with a bell for an errant um, ah or so?

Convention is not a valid reason for doing the wrong thing. It is long past time to permanently ban the “ah bell” from Toastmasters meetings. Save the ah feedback for the evaluation and the Ah-Counter report.

Mike Kelly, ACS, CL

Bill Gove Golden Gavel Toastmasters club
Boynton Beach, Florida

Educational Wealth

What a privilege it is to receive the Toastmaster magazine each month. The educational wealth it contains is enlightening, inspiring and transformational. I used Joel Schwartzberg’s word “badjective” from the December issue [“Get to the Point”] as the word of the day at our Christmas meeting. I applaud Phillip Yaffe’s suggestion in the January Members’ Forum for eliminating ums and ahs in speeches. I will implement this technique in the future. Joining Toastmasters is one of the best decisions of my life.

Shirley Stallworth

Beacon Toastmasters
Beavercreek, Ohio

Benefits Beyond the Club

I gained a lot of knowledge and some good ol’ leadership tips from Dave Zielinski’s [September] article “Flip Your Script: How to Succeed as a First-time Leader.”

I highlighted a lot of this article that I can apply immediately, both at my home club, and in my current role as a project manager of a diverse team. Truly, Toastmasters benefits go beyond public speaking. They help in so many spheres of one’s life. Thank you for always sharing valuable articles with each new edition. 

Toyin Fatubarin

Testament Toastmasters club
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

“What a privilege it is to receive the Toastmaster magazine each month. The educational wealth it contains is enlightening, inspiring and transformational.”

Beacon Toastmasters
Beavercreek, Ohio

Continuing the Journey

I am thankful to Mumbai Toastmasters. It came into my life as a new journey to bring me closer to my objective of improving my communication skills and overcoming stage fear. I read about overcoming barriers in the Toastmaster magazine. I’ve been working in pharmaceutical sales for [the] last 17 years, and my professional life took on bullet-train speed when I spoke confidently to my customers. It requires long hours of practice. This is synonymous with preparing and completing my first two projects in the Competent Communication manual. I will be continuing this journey as I say to myself: I am still a student. 

Sudhir Makhija

Mumbai Toastmasters
Mumbai, India

Adding Flair

Although I enjoy every issue of the Toastmaster, the November issue was particularly helpful—especially Bill Brown’s “Say It With Flair.” His article about rhetorical devices was enlightening and directly applicable to the speech I delivered two days after I read it.

I talked about enabling, a serious problem when it comes to drug abuse. Based on my own experience, and recent comments made by medical personnel, I know that too many families enable loved ones to continue their bad habits by making excuses, covering up, and helping them avoid the consequences of their actions.

Because of Brown’s article, I saw the need for including a triad during my talk. Although I had rewritten the speech several times, I added this phrase: “Enabling is foolish. Enabling is weak. Enabling can have fatal consequences.” It added flair to my remarks and helped drive home a point. Thanks, Bill.

Ken Walker

Huntington Centennial club
Huntington, West Virginia

“Thanks, Ken, for sharing your example. That is a powerful triad. Great job.”

—Bill Brown

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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