Mar 18, 2009

Bad Toastmaster Ideas

You're a lousy speaker. So you joined Toastmasters. Now, you're a lousy Toastmaster. There's a groaner of a bad joke. One of many bad ideas when you're in Toastmasters- don't tell a stale joke like this.

The #1 bad idea if you're a Toastmaster: don't obsess over the skills and techniques you've learned. I heard a story about a guy who knew he was obsessing over being a Toastmaster when, at an all-company staff meeting, his boss started talking about impending layoffs, and all the guy could think about was that his boss should get out from behind the lectern, and get rid of his notes.

Last year, I came up with what I thought at the time was a good idea- create a new duty at each Toastmaster meeting. In addition to the traditional roles of Toastmaster, Table Topic Master, Speaker, Evaluator, Timer, Ah Counter, etc., I believed a new duty should be added to each meeting: Godfathermaster. This bright idea came to me after giving a speech at a meeting last year. I thought it was a decent speech. But my evaluator kicked me to the curb. He trashed me. "I couldn't understand what you were talking about. And what I didn't understand, I didn't agree with you. Your speech SUCKED!!". Wow. Did that guy tick me off, or what? Ironically, the club voted my speech as the best of the week.

On the drive home from that meeting, I sucked it up and wrote off the experience as just another learning moment. But I fantasized about revenge. You remember the scene in the Godfather, when the big time movie producer wakes up in his bed, only to discover, much to his horror, that he has been sleeping with a bloody horse's head? That's the kind of revenge I fantasized about. In my mind's eye, I visualized my tormenter, the negative speech evaluator, slowly waking up in his bed, only to see his eyes open wider and wider in terror. Because he's looking at me, next to him in bed, showing off my "best speaker" blue ribbon. Ok, Godfathermaster. A bad idea. I get that now.

Finally, I have a suggestion for Toastmaster clubs everywhere: don't have your meetings in a location that has those hot air hand dryers in the restrooms. I heard about one club that reported a disturbing incident. In the men's room, someone posted a sign above the hot air hand dryer that said, "For a sample of this week's Toastmaster speeches, push button".

No respect, no respect.

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