September 19, 2020

Toastmasters tackle Glossophobia

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The Grand Cayman Toastmasters Club meets on Thursday nights at the Chamber of Commerce offices in Governor’s Square. It aims to train members in all the skills associated with public speaking.

Advanced Toastmaster Annick Jackman introduced the evening’s activities – a series of speeches from members, followed by a process of assessment and critiquing by other members – by reminding members of the club motto: “For better listening, better thinking, and
better speaking.”

The “Word of the Day,” was “Obsession,” and Toastmaster Kimberly Parker told a funny story about a dive trip with Carson, an unusual friend with a very unusual obsession.

Carson caused a buzz among the rest of very-masculine diving friends when he appeared out of the water with blue toenails, exclaiming, “‘What other colour would be appropriate for a scuba diving vacation?’” Ms. Parker said.

Later, when Carson and Kimberly were alone, there was another revelation when Kimberly’s new dive buddy told her that he was obsessed about his other life – posing as “Heather the Mermaid,” complete with tail and long blonde wig.

Toastmaster Anna Clarke was next, speaking on the topic of indoor air pollutants that, according to the USA’s Environmental Protection Agency, had been found to be several times higher than the levels outside.

Shoe soles were a source of indoor pollutants, she said, as they carried all kinds of bacteria and mold spores into the home.

Toastmaster Abraham Matthew spoke on the topic of Glossophobia – the fear of speaking in public which was considered to be the most common of all phobias. Also, it was typically those gifted with good public speaking and communication skills who typically got promoted above those who had good technical skills, he said, and that was a very practical reason to attend the
Toastmasters club.

Toastmaster Jackie Morris presented the next section, during which Toastmaster members were picked to speak on a surprise topic without any chance of preparation, something that most people were particularly scared of. But Ms. Morris had some sound advice: “Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain,” she said, quoting from Mark Twain.

Miss Cayman contestant, Samantha Widmer was asked to speak on the topic, “What aspect of your personality would allow you to survive a catastrophe?”

“If I was faced with a catastrophe, such as an earthquake, I would encourage those around me to be hopeful, and to think about the future,” she said.

Toastmaster Noel Wallace was asked, “What is the biggest lie you’ve ever told?”

He answered by saying that people might be disturbed that, as “a man of the cloth, he had told a big lie, and then went on to describe many different aspects of Italian culture instead.

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