Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fussbudgets and Toastmasters

In his Peanuts cartoon strip Charles Schultz popularized the word fussbudget via the character Lucy Van Pelt. She always was offering advice, either for a fee or for free. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines a fussbudget as:

“one who fusses or is fussy especially about trifles.”

Toastmasters International has two roles in their meetings that are particularly suited for and desired by fussbudgets: the Ah-Counter (helping members off their crutches) and the Grammarian (the syntax sentinel). Some clubs combine them into an Ah-Grammarian role, which can be like a handing a young boy a double-barreled shotgun. There’s a good chance that eventually someone is going to get wounded.

In a blog post with the tongue-in-cheek title of What I Hate About Toastmasters James Feudo mentioned one member who took the Ah-Counter role outside of a meeting, and gave unrequested feedback to a professional speaker. It didn’t end well.

I began moderating comments on this blog after another Toastmaster nitpicked me with A Visit from the Lectern/Podium Police Patrol. Later he didn’t have anything useful to add about fear of public speaking. He just likes criticizing other people via negative blog comments.

Update: Also see So You're mad about something on the Internet...

The image of Lucy's booth is from Allen Timothy Chang.

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