By Kai Rambow, Accredited Speaker, Past International Director
“Tonight, Kai was giving a speech on speaking to inform,” my evaluator
began, “I don’t know why he did, because he already does that well. I’ve never
heard you give a speech with emotional content or humor, and I’m challenging you to deliver your next speech in either one of those areas.”
Strong, direct words for an evaluation? Perhaps. They were delivered by a fellow club officer and friend – and, I needed to hear them. I’m glad I received the feedback – and accepted the challenge.
Do you remember when you first received feedback in Toastmasters? Probably a nerve-wracking experience, as you hoped your evaluator would be fair, helpful and kind. As time progressed, you became much more comfortable with receiving feedback from others.
Some people resist improving their skills; others incorporate feedback quickly. Recently I evaluated an Icebreaker from Daniella, a new member. She gave a very impressive speech, diminished by rocking from side to side on her feet. Daniella knew it before I mentioned it, and she had video recorded it. I asked her to watch the video and specifically pay attention to all the things she did well and how distracting the rocking was.
Imagine my surprise when the following week, during Table Topics, there was no evidence of Daniella ever having rocked on her feet. Impressive implementation of feedback.
Feedback Beyond Toastmasters
Feedback can be so valuable that experienced members seek it in other areas of their lives. An obvious one is delivering a work presentation and getting input from experienced evaluators before ever speaking in front of employees and bosses.
While most of us joined primarily to present better at work, there are plenty of opportunities to benefit from feedback. For example, thinking Toastmasters ask for input to help successfully navigate difficult conversations: “Here’s my situation…If it were you, what would you say?”
There’s almost no limitation to where preparation and practice aren’t beneficial to communication, provided we’re smart enough to ask for feedback. Experienced Toastmasters know what we learn in our clubs can be applied in all kinds of situations.
Feedback in Your Life
When I started to contribute to our local publication, doing the photography and writing travel pieces, I also began to receive suggestions from readers. Listening skills honed at Toastmasters made it easy to hear what people had to say.
Some of the suggestions, required my best feedback and implementation skills. “You want me to do what?” I asked. “Kai, I know it doesn’t sound like it, but it really is fun.” The suggestion? Taking a guided swamp walk in the Everglades. Yes, literally walking in the water with alligators and water moccasins.
Accepting challenges has resulted in using feedback to enrich my life. It’s the theme of my upcoming keynote: Old at 30 or Young at 90? – It’s Up to You! Using photography and writing from his experiences, Kai will share how to embrace feedback for a more adventurous and fulfilling life. Toastmasters isn’t just what happens at your club. It can be so much more, and you can learn how in this visually rich and fun keynote.
To catch this keynote, Old at 30 or Young at 90?, mark your calendar for District 48’s spring conference, May 1-3, 2020.
About Kai Rambow, Accredited Speaker / Published Author / Award-Winning Corporate Trainer / Award-Winning Photographer
An experienced speaker, Kai has delivered over 2,700 programs to more than 250 clients across North America, in South America, Europe, Australia, Asia and the Caribbean. Clients have included AT&T, Capital One, Disney, GE, General Motors, IBM, Kraft Foods, Lockheed Martin, Mercedes Benz, Pepsi-Cola, Procter & Gamble and The Prudential.
In addition, Kai has authored over 400 published articles. Earlier in his career, Kai served as both Associate Editor and Editor for six professional publications.
Kai reflects, “I’ve had the privilege of interviewing Stephen Covey (The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People), Zig Ziglar (See You At the Top) and Harvey Mackay (Swim with the Sharks) for articles I’ve written.
He is one of the rare few Toastmasters to have earned the Accredited Speaker designation. Toastmasters International created the Accredited Speaker program as a way to recognize those speakers whose speaking skills are of the highest caliber. Fewer than 75 people out of over 350,000 members worldwide have ever earned this designation.
Kai also served in leadership roles in Toastmasters serving as Club President, District Director and on the International Board of Directors. For his distinguished service, he was awarded a Presidential Citation and has twice earned the Distinguished Toastmaster award.