Custom Ceremony and Celebration

Merry Christmas & Happy Blandishmentarianism
Written by PJ Reece

Christmas 2013
Kay, Santa (Doug) and Sandy

Not only do I learn something new each Wednesday morning, but week after week I keep re-learning the best teachings that Toastmastering has to offer.

This morning, for instance, I was honoured to evaluate Christopher Kelly’s speech on “Decluttering,” during which I learned (perhaps for the first time!) how important it is to fake your way through a brain fart.

Only his second speech and Christopher shows a real talent for recovering from the mind going blank.  In the first instance, he reorganized himself by saying, “Let me tell you a story…”  When it happened again, he defused the tension by making us laugh about it.

Trust me, I know all about blanking out.  More than most!  And in the three years I’ve been a Morningstar, I haven’t managed my discombobulation with as much style as Christopher displayed.

What I learned was this:

The audience isn’t anticipating the speaker’s next thought.  No, we follow along.  We add up what’s being said.  If content is omitted, who’s to know?  Each of us in the audience, we’re empty vessels eager to admit whatever content is delivered to us.

Christopher kept on delivering and in the end his message was clear: “Clutter can prevent us from being our truest self.”

I spoke with Christopher after the meeting, and he expressed relief that I hadn’t trashed his speech.  On the contrary, I assured him, I was mightily impressed.  In any event, I explained that at Toastmasters we “evaluate to motivate.”


Above all we want to encourage each other to speak again, and soon.  And it’s not question of blowing smoke up each other’s you-know-what.  Mastering the art of public speaking is, above all, a matter of experience.  In my experience, something magical happens over time:

We begin to feel comfortable while speaking.

We begin to own the space, and then…

We start to have more fun than we ever imagined we could while standing naked in front of others.

Post Script:

Arriving home after this morning’s meeting, I logged on to my computer to discover my “Word of the Day”— Blandish—verb, to coax with flattery.

Well, as Mae West said: “Flattery will get you everywhere.”

Flattery isn’t quite the right word to describe a good evaluation, but it’s close.  Furthermore, that’s not going to stop me from using blandishment (n.), especially when I can make an even longer word out of it: blandishmentarianism.

And better yet—use it in this blog post’s title.

Season’s Greetings to all.  See you January 8th, 2014.





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