85 years ago today, Dr. Ralph C. Smedley met with a small group of people in a YMCA in Santa Ana, California. That was the first Toastmasters meeting ever. It’s amazing how since then the organization has grown to over 250,000 members in over 12,000 clubs in over 100 countries.
I don’t know if there are any official records of that first meeting or not but I can only imagine what it must have been like. Keep in mind that the world was a much different place in 1924. Dr. Smedley didn’t need to tell people to turn off their cell phones, obey the handicapped parking zones and check their emails for details on the next meeting. I suspect that meeting was mostly men – keep in mind that President Wilson had just four years earlier convinced congress to ratify the 19th amendment allowing women the right to vote. Read more... (480 words, estimated 1:55 mins reading time)
In one of my “Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking” classes, an attendee asked me why so many speakers come across as smug. I hadn’t really thought about this so I opened the discussion up to the rest of the class and was shocked by what I heard – many speakers come across as condescending, arrogant, cocky and yes, smug.
I listened to stories about people that call themselves corporate trainers taking the attitude that they were not only the smartest person in the room, but the only intelligent person in the room. Anyone that asked for clarification simply “didn’t get it.” Others shared tales of speakers confidently contradicting themselves or speakers arguing with audience members that questioned them. Read more... (302 words, estimated 1:12 mins reading time)
As I mentioned in another post, I attended the 30th anniversary of the Toastmasters club I used to belong to last night. While you can outgrow the format that Toastmasters uses, you can never outgrow learning and at each Toastmasters meeting I’ve been to (with only a couple exceptions), I’ve learned something useful. Sometimes I learn something new about communication while other times I’ll learn about something unrelated to speaking through one of the speeches that night. Speeches are a true gem because everyone has a story to tell (a point I emphasize in the classes I teach). So have an open mind when you’re listening to someone talk. Read more... (239 words, estimated 57 secs reading time)