Saturday, May 21, 2011

Toastmasters and the cookie jar

Toastmasters is all about growth, and growth takes you to places you never would have dreamed of. A few years ago I competed in a Toastmaster International speech contest at the Division level. I lost. I was told afterwards it was 7 minutes 34 seconds when 7’ 30” is the max allowed – those four big ones did me in!

The title was intriguing: “Lincoln was a Loser.” The speech was, now that I look back on it, a flawed product. Although succinct and interesting as I thought, the speech was also too much a condensed history lecture.

When I got a job teaching in a state prison the Lincoln connection surfaced yet again [quality, like cream, always manages to make its way to the top, doesn’t it?]. This man proved a wonderful ‘fit’ for guys who, like Lincoln, started out two whispers above zero, so I made Lincoln into a kind of subliminal role model for my students. That led to the book I recently published entitled “Lincoln 365” which, now that I am retired, is the linchpin for a post-retirement public speaking career.

My point is, you don’t learn the art of public speaking at Toastmasters in order to speak at Toastmasters any more than you bake cookies to put them in a cookie jar. There’s a world out there crying for what you and I are passionate about. And if you’re not honoring your own passions, why are you taking up space on this planet?

Arnold Kunst

No comments:

Post a Comment