Are you looking for a place where you can:
– Talk (and have people listen)
– Listen (to interesting things)
– Learn new words
– Correct people on their use of words without being called a Nazi
Then Toastmasters is for you! I recently joined Toastmasters at work and it was a lot of fun. The first meeting that I went to had one of the presenters giving a speech about a “Day in the Life of a Commercial.” She talked about how she uses her phone as an alarm clock [AT&T – Your world, delivered.] Then she has to let her dogs out [The Humane Society – Celebrating animals, confronting cruelty.] Next, she makes a pot of coffee [Folgers – Good to the last drop!]… You get the idea. Goodness, she was so animated as she was telling us about her day and she used the intonations of the actual commercials a lot of the time, too. We were laughing so much when she talked about her heart burn medication [Side effects include: headache, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, dry mouth, confusion, lethargy, agitation, rash…] Goodness, wouldn’t it be better to have heartburn?
Aside from some wonderful speeches, there are also other components of Toastmasters that appeal to me. One of the things that I look forward to experiencing each time is the presentation by the Grammarian.
As the Grammarian, I will be listening for poor usage of grammar as well as exceptional instances of word and grammar usage. I have chosen a “Word of the Day” which is ________. (give word, what it means, and an example of how to use it in a sentence.) I will listen for the proper usage of this word throughout each person’s speaking time. I will give a report during the evaluation portion of the meeting.
As I learned about the role of Grammarian, I started thinking about all of the wonderful words that are out there that are not often used. Defenestration. Couched. Cognizant. Untoward. The challenge, of course, is that the word of the day should be able to be used and easily incorporated into a speech. When my computer came up with yet another error, it was in danger of being defenestrated. The IT crowed couched their response in technical jargon. They should be cognizant of their audience and whether they are fluent in geek-speak.
I’d be an awesome (read: terrible) grammarian…
What are your favorite words? How would you use them in a sentence (or two)?