Give like the Dickens

There’s something special about Speech #10 in the Competent Communicator Manual. It’s the one all the others have been building to. If you’ve made it to 10, you’ve learned to stem the panic, to apply solid research, to focus your message, to control your voice, to use gestures that don’t look like tics, to use visual aids other than the sweat-blooms under your armpits, and to make a persuasive pitch for, well, whatever you’re pitching. Now it’s time to reach for the brass ring. It’s time to inspire.

This week Kate, who happens to be Vancore’s president, picked a perfect subject for her outshot: the “therapeutic journey” of one Ebenezer Scrooge, one of the great redeemed villains in all of literature.

People still read or watch A Christmas Carol in droves this time of year (okay, sometimes the Muppet version), Kleenex boxes at hand, because Dickens captured something universal and heart-stabbingly poignant about human nature. He made you feel for a scoundrel. He made you suspend your judgment of scoundrels in general, because scoundrels usually had their temperament thrust upon them. He made readers understand that it’s never too late for anyone to change for the better.

Kate, in her beguiling British accent, unpacked the Scrooge story, even bringing Freud in to the conversation. And then, emotionally, she doubled down. She got personal. She told how she was waiting at a bus stop recently when a stranger, a little short on his luck, tried to engage her. She didn’t brush him off, but she didn’t exactly give him all of herself either. She was stingy with her energy, with her smile. Kate is no Scrooge, but she wishes now she had let herself crack open a bit more. “Be generous,” was Kate’s message, to herself and to everyone around the table.

And on that inspiring note, Kate officially became a Competent Communicator. Not that there was ever any doubt.

From all of us at Vancore, the very best of the holiday season.

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About Vancore Toastmasters

Build your public speaking and leadership skills at a dynamic mid-week, mid-day downtown Vancouver Toastmasters club.
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