We heard a wonderful talk from Geoffrey Lane, a professional speaker and a key force behind Vancouver’s 2010 Olympic bid. What stood out most for me was his argument for strong leaders taking every opportunity to encourage people – catching them doing things right, not discouraging them for what they do wrong. He also explained in a clear, original way how people’s experiences affect their biases, and how two people’s worldviews can be dramatically different, but communication – the theme of the evening – is all you need to bridge those views and work together.
Then Richmond Toastmasters got involved. We split into groups and had impromptu speaking workshops. Students were challenged to stand in front of their peers and answer questions about everything from Canadian politics to Lady Gaga. I was impressed with how they threw themselves into the task – their answers were smart, they came fast, and most students even managed to use humor at some point in their speech. These are future leaders in the making.
The evening closed off with Reg Boaler, who merged the ridiculous with the emotional as only very few speakers can. He conducted a Family Feud-style game that had students guessing what people’s 10 biggest public speaking fears were – well, not really guessing, since we could all read the answers through the paper, even backwards and taped to the wall. Then just as we were cracking up laughing, he changed the mood in the room in one second flat when he talked about his son’s recent battle with cancer.
It was a fun evening, and we left feeling charged up and awesome. Thanks to May Soo-Tveita, Larry Law, Richard Nash, Sylvia Orellana, Mike Rozen, Dmitrey Zakharov, Reg Boaler, & Robin Spano for representing Richmond Toastmasters in the community.