By Tulia Lopes, DTM, VPM at M.E.A.T
No matter how much experience you might have in a topic or field, if you are not fully prepared, you mostly likely to fail, partially or totally. Fortunately in my case, this time, it was only partially.
The past Saturday I was the ToM (Toastmaster of the Morning) in my advanced club, the M.E.A.T. (Munich English Advanced Toastmasters). And, as you know, being a Toastmaster of the day requires a lot of preparation. You are the “Master of Ceremony” of the meeting. Your job is to
make sure the meeting runs smoothly, everyone is on time, and feel supported. It is NOT your job to try to steal the show and be centre-focused. Your success is based on the whole meeting success.
As we are an Advanced club, my role of preparing the meeting was quite easy this time because our VPE, Zsofia Bodo have everything so well organised and everyone is so proactive that when I looked at the agenda, to check if I had to contact members to fill some of the roles, to my (great)
surprise, every role was already taken and the meeting was ready to run. Wonderful!
“The devil is in the details”!
What do I mean?
As everything was so well prepared I relaxed, completely, and, forgot to check certain details… It was only when I started introducing the participants in their respective role I was taken by surprise that I haven’t done something that is SUPER important when you are introducing
people… which is… to check the pronunciation of their names…
When I stumbled pronouncing the first surname, I mentally decided to skip them all.
So, I introduced people only by their first name…
Well, it might seem not a big deal in a Toastmasters club context. But in fact, it IS! People’s names (and surnames) are precious. They are their identity, and they should be “honoured” by a proper introduction.
And, of course, if I say that being a Toastmaster of the day is the equivalent of being a MC, Master of Ceremony, in the professional world, pronouncing people’s name incorrectly is very bad and unprofessional, and skipping their surnames is out of question!!!!
Well, lesson learned. That is also the beauty of Toastmasters’ environments, even when the worse happens, nothing really happens, everything is feedback and learning.
I got my lesson here!