By Angie Richardson
So there I was, trying to follow my grandmother’s recipe for an amazing cake, and her spidery handwriting seemed to call for “a smidgen of nutmeg.” How much is a smidgen*? Is there even a place where you can find out what measuring spoon you use to get a smidgen? Yes, there is. And, if you go there, the odds are good that you can also learn the trick to kayaking, what “B&B” means to a sailor on leave, why “rhetoric” wasn’t always a negative word, and how to win friends and influence people, all in one day.
And it’s not just a place to be entertained for an hour! Networking, friend-making, self-discovery, and growing self-confidence also happen there — simultaneously. I’ve won awards for voice talent, sung in Sweet Adelines, written for colonels, edited for Ed Wallace, and played oboe. So you wouldn’t have thought I lacked confidence, but I did; unless I had a script, I couldn’t address the Planning Board or the City Council without self-medicating. But, thanks to Toastmasters, I’ve gained not just the ability but the confidence and enthusiasm to formulate and deliver an engaging, organized, meaningful three-minute speech to anybody … almost instantly.
Toastmasters, “where leaders are made,” is Dale Carnegie without taking out a loan. It’s Earl Nightingale light and it’s convincing without sneaky programming. Do you know what word was originally the third “R,” after Reading and Writing? It was Rhetoric, which is the art of speaking well and persuasively; universities once required four years of it for anyone who wanted to lead or to write well. Join Toastmasters, and you can become an Accredited Speaker or a Distinguished Toastmaster in a lot less than four years’ time.
Our nearest Toastmasters club, Northwest Tarrant Toastmasters, meets at Alba’s Italian Restaurant, 4601 Boat Club Rd., Lake Worth, from 11 – 12 on the 1st, 2nd, and 4th Wednesdays of the month. This coming Wednesday, the 25th of October, we’re hosting an Open House Reception during our meeting, and we’d love for you to visit and see what benefits membership may hold for you. We’re offering free, terrific carnivore and vegan food and both adult and unleaded beverages, because we can hardly wait to meet you! If you can, help us order the food and wine efficiently by RSVP-ing to 817-237-0060.
* According to my Beverly Hillbillies Cookbook, “A smidgen is just a teeny, tiny little bit. Three smidgens make one pinch. Four pinches equals a little bit. Four little bits equals one middlin’ amount. Three middlin’ amounts makes one right smart, and it takes five right smarts to make a whole heap. A whole heap is a heapin’ double handful; so work back’ards from there.”
- Azle resident Angie Richardson, sole talent at élan communications, still edits for Ed Wallace and writes for anyone who needs concise, professional communications.