Did I Stutter?
Posted April 6, 2012on:
I have been attending a lot of Toastmasters meetings lately. As part of my role as Area Governor, I visit each of the clubs in my area at least twice a year, as monitoring visits. This means offering support and guidance so club leaders can make their clubs the very best they can.
I have tried to visit each of my clubs more than the minimum required. That’s the best way to lend support and see what the pulse of the club really is.
Last week, I visited a corporate noon time club. Corporate clubs in Toastmasters are unique in that they are only open to employees of the sponsor organization. Many companies pay part of member dues, and let them conduct (and attend) meetings during the work day, usually lunch time.
This meeting was to have two planned speakers. The first person was planning to do a Powerpoint presentation and was trying to get it ready before the meeting actually commenced. The technology wasn’t cooperating and she was unable to get her images to project on the screen.
After several attempts, finally something appeared on the screen. But it wasn’t what she was expecting. The screen was flashing very fast and the images were jumping all across the screen. She was getting frustrated, and finally someone else came up and tried to help her.
He did something and the screen continued freezing up and jumping back and forth, all staggered and unclear. Someone from the audience found this particularly funny and yelled out, “Did I stutter?” and laughed out loud, poking the guy next to him, getting him to laugh too.
I was sitting across from these two guys and felt my face flush and my chest and shoulders tensed up. I did not like what I had just heard. It was just an innocent, ignorant comment, using the phrase “stutter” to denote something negative, to be laughed at.
I didn’t say anything, as I didn’t want to draw attention to myself nor embarrass this guy.
What would you have done?