Thursday, October 21, 2010

Facilitated Self-Development




I made a second visit to D’Utama Toastmasters Club and today, most of them came in costume. I must admire their glowing enthusiasm to create a mood that was appropriate to the meeting’s theme, i.e. Halloween. As is the norm for this club, members and guests filled the meeting room to the brim. I did not play any role – which was fine because it allowed me to sit back and enjoy the speeches. There were five speeches this evening but I have to be honest to admit that the best speeches were the two maiden Ice-breaker speeches from two newbies. I could sense their earnestness, their sincerity, their purposefulness. The other speakers – although certainly more experienced – were plainly disappointing. When I look back at my many Toastmasters meetings that I have attended at different Clubs – where, on many occasions, I have earned the Best Speaker ribbon or the Best Evaluator ribbon – perhaps, because there has been a dearth of quality speakers and evaluators in the first place and so I easily excel! Am I making sense here?

Really, the LG Education & Training, the Division Governors and Area Governors should assist the VP Education in particular, to organize quality meetings that will showcase at least one good speech and/or one good evaluation. This permits learning. Otherwise, in an ocean of mediocrity, Toastmasters will happily indulge in speechmaking and delivering evaluations that are fair to middling. When this happens, they cannot improve because they are not at all exposed to quality speeches and evaluations. Sure, Toastmastering is about self-development, but I believe it should be facilitated self-development.
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Combo picture shows a robot produced by the electrical engineering department of the National Taiwan University mimicking the facial expressions of a human at the Taipei International Robot Show (October 19-22, 2010). The yet-to-be-named robot, which consists of a life-sized head and torso, was designed to show basic emotions for improved interaction. Soon, we do not need to be at the mercy of humans because humans are predictably unpredictable! We can be free of their emotional leash. Isn’t that wonderful?

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