Saturday, November 21, 2009

The joy of looking back: quotations from Dr. Ralph C. Smedley

Ralph C. Smedley (1878 – 1965) founded Toastmasters International, whose 85th anniversary was last month. He wrote a monthly column in Toastmaster magazine called Personally Speaking. In 1966 Toastmasters produced a memorial book with that same title, and the paperback version is still on sale. The book consists of a selection from his columns and other writings in the magazine. The last section is a list of 100 aphorisms and precepts, from which I have selected my five favorites:

"The greatest speakers have usually been remarkable for the abundance of their ideas and their economy of words"

"Learning to give a speech is important, but almost equally so is learning to listen critically, analytically, and then to give the speaker the benefit".

"Sometimes it pays to make yourself ridiculous, just to prove that you can."

"Fault-finding without suggestions for improvement is a waste of time."

"Knowledge inspires self-confidence, and knowledge plus confidence will overcome fear of the audience."

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