Fellow Toastmasters, regardless of our age and regardless of what we do while we’re still alive, day by day, we’re all moving toward the inevitable demise of the body we inhabit.
Although death isn’t the rosiest subject to discuss among friends, its contemplation highlights one of our most obvious realities:
We ain’t dead yet.
However, sometimes, for myself, when stuck in LA traffic, I wonder if death could be any worse. [laughter]
Regardless of such trivial tribulations, a more productive reality revolves around the notion of what you and I do, for each of these days while we are still alive.
American Philosopher, L. Ron Hubbard wrote: “A man is as dead as he can’t communicate. He is as alive as he can communicate.”
As Toastmasters, we embody that concept of aliveness rather profoundly.
As Toastmasters we influence others with communication.
As Toastmasters, we conceive and forward ideas into our environments via our work, by way of our community activities, and for a number of us, by way of the social betterment organizations and ideals that we forward.
As Toastmasters, we can rally together and submit a petition to eliminate LA traffic jams. [laughter]
OK, we may not agree that last point is the best use our communication capabilities. But as Toastmasters, would any of you agree that we ain’t dead yet?
Oh come on. Please give me a shout if you’re not dead yet?
Say again a little more lively, please repeat this phrase: WE AIN’T DEAD YET!
I would say that for most of us, we are truly alive.
Fellow Toastmasters, I propose a few more questions:
Is there a way we may utilize communication technologies to extend our aliveness?
a) How many folks here recall living in this world without a cell phone?
b) How many folks recall life before email?
c) How many people use the Internet in some fashion every day?
For many of us, it would be difficult to conceive of accomplishing as much in any single day that we do, without these communication technologies.
But at some point we had to learn about those technologies.
Fellow Toastmasters, my message to you this morning is that not only can we affect positive change through our public speaking and leadership skills, but we can leverage communication technologies to spread our ideas across broader horizons and far into the future.
We can use communication technology to let others know about the benefits of Toastmasters and even our Renaissance Speakers club.
In fact, I urge you to exercise your individual aliveness even further, by not only continuing to forward whatever messages you personally support, but by also increasing your willingness to learn about and embrace newer communication technologies that will lend greater power to the forwarding of your messages.
In the same way that a writer, a musician or a movie producer may record a message that millions of others may have the potential to experience into eternity, we can leverage the Internet, social media and video technologies to present our messages for others to read, listen to and/or view, today, tomorrow, next month, next year, ten years from now and for endless years into the future.
In other words, the ephemeral nature of our presentations may live on through technology and may be carried on to many others far and wide and into the future, with very little extra effort on our parts.
A number of us have already embraced these communication technologies. Several of us are beginning to do so. And others of us have the idea percolating in our minds that this may be something to consider at some point.
One simple way each of us can learn about and leverage our personal communication power, while simultaneously expanding the influence of this club, is by participating in the Renaissance Speakers Social Media efforts.
Your participation will open the door for technology to carry our messages further around the world and further into time, like a mighty digital Mississippi river carrying our words to every shore it touches, traveling out into all the oceans of the world, extending our messages into posterity.
Fellow Toastmasters, we can use communication technology to manifest an even greater aliveness for ourselves and our club.
Let me hear you shout out again this phrase: WE AIN’T DEAD YET!