Vol. 11 Columbia University Toastmasters Club-A club of sincerity ,originality and challenges
Manhattan New York.
The world famous Columbia University has a Toastmasters Club!
It’s a rare weekend club in Manhattan New York, because most clubs meet on weekdays from Monday through Thursday (only a few clubs meet on Friday, and on Weekend).
Columbia University TMC (CUT, hereafter) meets on Saturdays at Lewisohn Hall in the University Campus, the time is from 15:00 to 16:30.
The venue is only a few minute walk from the nearest subway station, Columbia University.
When you come up to the surface from the subway station, you will see the front entrance on your left.
Enter the campus, walk through the trees, turn left, walk up the stairs, then “Lewisohn Hall ” is right in front of you!
I attended their meeting on a steamy, muggy August afternoon.
Even on a scorching hot summer day, the entire building was well air conditioned, ,,,cool!
The club had so many young members.
Many of them were Columbia University students.
They all said “Welcome!” to me with bursting genial smiles.
I was energized even before the meeting!
Since I was the first Japanese attendee in several years,
they encouraged me to be a member.
And I did!!!
CUT members are all eager to learn how to communicate.
Speeches vary from technological presentation, educational problems , to arms control.
Again, I met several Chinese members at CUT, energetically speaking and evaluating.
In evaluation session, they focused upon “points for improvement” much more than clubs in Japan.
They commended three good points very briefly in the beginning, then talked about rooms for improvement emphatically and in details.
Sincere suggestions or recommendations were so practical, and they occupied most parts of the entire evaluations.
“Evaluation is an encouragement, YES!, we agree. And yet, we need to be sincere about critical thinking skills. Practical recommendations are vital for the speaker’s future improvements.
We need recommendations much more than commendations! We believe evaluation is NOT just a summary. Let’s get to the point!
Analytical suggestions need to be tactfully provided in a professional manner.
We CUT members need to sincerely serve speakers by providing them with high class evaluations!”, they said.
At CUT, every helper explained the role at the lectern which I though was good.
Plus, all helpers spoke in his /her own Original way and told the audience about the role.
“We CUT members pursue originality”, they said.
Especially, the Ah-Counter, Frank remembered all participants’ names and pronounced them correctly and clearly when he made the Ah-counter’s report.
He was a hotel sub manager in lower Manhattan.
He talked to every attendee during the intermission and asked for their names, and accurate way to pronounce them in their original languages.
We had people from America, Poland, Russia, China, India, Taiwan, Pakistan, Africa and Japan!
“Marc, we hotel clerks need to know and pronounce names of the guests correctly. That is the least courtesy we can provide with them”, he said.
I saw professionalism and sparkling intelligence in his eyes.
What do you think about Frank’s sincere attitude?
In our meeting, we sometimes do not correctly announce the name of our honored guest.
I believe it’s indispensable for us all to look after him.
At CUT, I learned their sincere courtesy and originality.
Even if they stick pretty close to the modus operandi of TMI, they positively make proper modifications to the meeting, e.g., helpers explain the roles in his/her original way at the lectern, and evaluators try to focus even more upon points for improvement in individual evaluations.
Plus, sincere courtesy in welcoming honoured guests from all over the world.
Even though in Japan, we rarely have guests from so many countries at a meeting, we need to pay careful attention to the names of our guests.
Also, I believe their kind, genial smiles and heartwarming “Welcome!” are exemplary.
Last but not least, you do NOT need to be a Columbia University student to be a member of CUT.
That’s why I could join.
If you are interested, why don’t you join us?
Columbia University Toastmasters Club,
Lewisohn Hall , in the campus of Columbia University.
2nd and 4th Saturday from 15:00 to 16:30 (check with the club calendar in advance)