Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Electric Toasters Blog 2.0

I believe it was on my first visit that current Treasurer Craig Jones delivered a speech outlining his initiative to ratchet up the Electric Toaster’s online presence. I remember it involved a big easel traced with diagrams sprawled over several pages through which he flipped back and forth, gestured with a lot of pointing. We in the audience nodded, grunting in agreement to this sentiment with a lot of head bobbing. Wrapping up his proposition, he asked of any volunteers, which was met with a lot of sideways glances in attempt to look away inconspicuously, acting as if deep in thought or suddenly late for a meeting. No?—that was just me then? In any case, that was in late March I think. 

Two months ago I presented my icebreaker speech. Though primarily focusing on my love for quantum mechanics, it incorporated my aspiration for writing with it. Afterwards Craig offered me the privilege and opportunity to contribute to this blog. There are two obvious inferences to be assumed, those being: (1) I accepted his invitation, and (2) I took my time getting this introductory post started (being this was two months ago). Sorry about that second bit. 

So a little about myself, my name is Ben. I turned 25 as of July, and have been a contractor at PGE for about two and half years now. After studying at PSU for two years I went broke and decided that an English degree with $40k of debt didn’t look like a promising future (though when able I’ve been taking classes in Computer Science). I tend to be shy around people I’m unfamiliar with, something I am trying to improve upon, which is one of the initial reasons I joined Toastmasters. 

There are several professions I’m personally enamored with (too many, actually); dominant among them is the aforementioned desire to write. Don’t worry, there’s no need to anguish in apprehension at the possibility that I might use an indubitably ostentatious display of flamboyantly superfluous vernacular in a meager attempt of pretentiously superimposing a fallacious air of sophistication—that would be erroneous.

It’s fair to say we come to Toastmasters looking to take something for ourselves. That obvious ‘something’ is, of course, to improve our public speaking skills. However, there are other motives that may very well bring us here as well. Some might include networking, leadership skills, buffing up resumes, making new friends, or even just going out and trying something new. Whatever your particular motivations might be, all different kinds of people come to Toastmasters for the same primary purpose.

Though speaking is central to Toastmasters’s focus, we should encourage and foster an environment that’s not only comfortable and friendly. Moreover we ought to strive for a club you can say you’re a part of, not just one you attend. In my personal opinion this contrast separates the clubs that thrive from the ones that merely survive. This is so because it inspires a sense of loyalty between members and the organization itself that is mutually beneficial. 

That having been said, it is this very distinction that ET leadership, my co-contributors, and I hope to help achieve for the Electric Toasters chapter. How do we aim to do this, you ask? 

1.     More, More, More! – The plan is to add a higher frequency of posts, spanning over a larger spectrum of topics, from a wider range of contributors (such as myself). 
2.     Member Networking – Did you know that Karen wrote a book about lighthouses? Or that ET President Mike invented his own gadget for keeping bicyclists safe? This kind of information should be available here for your perusal, and when possible we will endeavor to make it so. 

3.     New Member Introductions – Given consent, we will welcome new members to the club, offering them a proper introduction, supplying a little information about them (whatever they choose to share). 

4.     Typical Blog Content – Short essays, tricks and tips, 10 Steps to Blah-Blah-ing your Blah, all the usual suspects. Important announcements and other such bulletin board type material will be posted as well, where needed.

5.     Weekly Summary Reports – Pretty much explains itself; we’ll draw highlights on each speech, word-of-the-day’s, and so on (I’ll leave out the grammarian’s report). Honestly, this one’s a bit stickier, being as none of us will attend every week’s meetings, so count on seeing some inconsistency here.

Okay, so what are you trying to do again, you ask?

The goal is to make this blog a member-interactive experience. Something that’s not a strict exhibition to public speaking, but is inclusive to its members in such a way that if we're lucky we just might have people visiting one-tenth of the number of times they check their Facebook page. 

A little overly ambitious for sure, but that’s where we could use your help! if you’ve got something to say: a suggestion, a topic you’d like explored, a question to pose or advice to offer, or a story to share,  whatever it is let us know! Leave a comment if it relates directly to the post, or contact one of us directly. 

Thanks for reading, keep an eye out for more content heading your way!

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