The Irony of Toastmasters ...

Andy Lopata of Connecting People had a guest blogger today, Neil Urquhart, who wrote about becoming a great networker through good listening skills. It's a post worth reading; it approaches listening skills from the perspective of learning from other people. It made me think about my own ability to listen, which I hope is good since I love to talk.

I realized that I get excellent practice in careful listening every week in my Toastmasters club. I was "grammarian" this week which means not only listening, but reporting to the entire group on their grammer, uhs and ums, and any other verbal "tics."

It's ironic that Toastmasters turns us into better listeners because the image is that it's a public speaking organization (which it is). But there are many roles that require you listen carefully. Not only do you have to listen with intention, you also get to practice shutting up! When a speech is given, it's not a dialog. You are to be an attentive audience, but not comment. And, you're also not supposed to "kibbutz" when the Toastmaster or General Evaluator is running the meeting. It's funny how hard it is for some people to let others play their parts without commenting.

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