What I Hate About Toastmasters – A Toastmasters Review

What I Hate About Toastmasters - A Toastmasters ReviewIt seems that whenever the topic of public speaking comes up, the topic of Toastmasters often follows. If you’ve been reading my blog for more than a few weeks, then you probably know my position on Toastmasters: I recommend it, but only if you choose the right club. This review will take a look at some of the areas where things could be better.

Through the years I’ve come into contact with thousands of people who have been involved with Toastmasters. Some only attended a single meeting as a guest while others have become International Directors. While the feelings towards this organization vary, most people love it and a few hate it. Personally, I have mostly positive feelings and experiences that I’ve accumulated over my four years as a member, but I also had a few not so good experiences as well. So when someone who had mostly negative experiences with it challenged me to write about the not so good things, I figured it would be an interesting challenge. His exact request was “tell me about some of the things you hate about Toastmasters.” Of course, I don’t hate per say anything about Toastmasters, so I’ve listed the things that peeve me the most. Additionally, I’ve include how to avoid or remedy the situations.

Dealing With Bullies When the System Fails Us

Dealing With Bullies When the System Fails UsThis past week I came across an article about a man in Florida getting on a school bus to confront some kids that were bullying his daughter. He threatened the kids saying that he would kill anyone who picked on his daughter again and this got him arrested. Interestingly, the article asked the question of whether the father was a bully and paints him as some sort of wacko. While one can certainly argue that this wasn’t the best way to handle the situation, the article shows no empathy towards the father or the girl. And that is part of the reason why bullying is an increasing problem in today’s society.

The article doesn’t say much about the bullying although upon further research, it was reported that the harassment was both verbal and physical. The father is criticized as bulling the kids because he’s someone that could carry out his threats of harming the kids. However, the fact that he said he’d only harm those that harass his daughter seemed to have slipped the reporter’s mind.

Watch How You Use Social Media

Watch How You Use Social MediaSocial media is by far the great tool ever created for making the world smaller and our personal and professional networks larger. And since everyone is different, people use these tools for different objectives. Some prefer to remain anonymous while they chime in on conversations, while others, seeking stardom, would sell their right kidney to have someone mention their name. Every log in is an adventure with no telling what the next few moments will bring.

The more we use social media the more immersive the experience becomes. I liken it to a late night party when people have started coming out from their shells. In one corner, you might see a guy who’s normally shy retelling a story to a small crowd in an animated way. On the other side, there might be two people trying to outdo each other to prove how wild they are. And on the dance floor, there may be a couple having an intimate kiss acting as if there’s no one around for miles.

Public Speaking and The Matrix

Public Speaking and The MatrixMuch of today’s self-help and personal development programs and materials are geared towards the ‘quick fix’ crowd. People want results fast and the want them with minimal effort. It’s like the film The Matrix where whenever a character within the supercomputer needs to learn a skill, the needed knowledge is downloaded in a matter of seconds. Unfortunately, despite the fact that many tools only feed this frenzy, life simply does not work like that.

Why Most Speakers Are Clueless About Social Media

Why Most Speakers Are Clueless About Social MediaMany professional speakers use social media but most of them use it wrong. They see it as a virtual extension of their speeches and simply talk to their audience while completely ignoring what’s coming back their way. While this is one way to use social media, it’s not the best. Most people don’t care about your blog posts, coupons, tips, events or products unless they know something about you. So if all you do is post this “me” information— everyone is going to ignore you.

Social media is about interactivity — something many speakers may not be used to with their presentations. I’m connected with a number of speakers on various social media services and I see so many of them posting things such as:

The Worst Type of Risk

The Worst Type of RiskI think most people naturally fear taking risks. There’s so much unknown and so many things that can go wrong. Plus, whenever someone takes a foolish risk and falls flat on his or her face, the story of it travels through that person’s network at lightspeed. So add ridicule and embarrassment to results often associated with taking risks.

The topic of risks came up with a few friends recently and I was asked about the worst risk I ever took. While I searched through my memories for the typical things that come to mind like asking out a girl who was way out of my league or investing time and/or effort into a startup, I couldn’t really find anything. Whenever I took social risks when it came to things like dating, I usually was glad about taking the risk — even if things didn’t work out in my favor, I knew to move on. As far as professional risks went, I’ve made my share of blunders with speeches, networking events and even with some of the classes I first offered when I pushed myself beyond my limits. But the blunders were only part of the story — for each of these blunders, there were a number of successes (sometimes just small ones) but these successes (and even mistakes) resulted in a learning experience.

The Social Media Trap

The Social Media TrapI recently took a step back from social media because I found things getting to be quite intense and wanted to reflect on the role it’s played in both my personal and professional life. No, there weren’t any heated arguments or steamy love affairs. Instead, I found myself falling into a trap that many people fall into when it comes to social media — getting too immersed.