“What can I Contribute” beats “What’s In It for Me” Every Day

I belong to an organization of about 260,000 members called Toastmasters International. Its core values include “integrity, dedication to excellence, service to the member, and respect for the individual. ” One demonstration of service to members—the High Performance Leadership project—gives experienced members an opportunity to identify an opportunity to serve any community, and to choose and lead a team to carry out the service leadership mission.

Enter Attila Nemes, a member of the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center Toastmasters club. Because the club attracts a high number of members whose native language is not English, many discover they are not even able to pronounce each other’s names correctly. Some, out of frustration, change the name they were born with to an American-looking and American-sounding name. Hungarian-born Ph.D. Nemes has assembled a team with a daunting task: to help members of the club learn to say each other’s names in a comfortable, no-akward-moments way. In a group that includes members from the Indian subcontinent, from Europe and from the Far East, it will be a challenge. As a professional, he will receive no compensation for leading the project team. He could have chosen a project far more related to his field of expertise. He chose to contribute to a cause far different. One that has potential not only for about 35 people, but also for a far wider group. The project is on its way.

What will be your contribution to make the world around you just a little bit better?

Watching 24 x 7 x 365


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To Skype and FaceBook Together…or Not

Recently I discovered a solid business reason for using Skype. A company from BanglaDesh and my company are collaborating on a project together, and Skype is a convenient, economical way we can stay in touch. As a FaceBook user, I was fascinated to see on my Skype page an option to “Connect your Facebook account to message your friends from Skype and see their News Feed.” And of course, the “Learn More” link only said “Enjoy the magic of video calls when you and your friends are logged in to Facebook. ”

As a partner in a systems integration company, I love it when apps come together and play nicely with each other. However, just yesterday I had extolled the benefits of LinkNotify. I had proclaimed that LinkNotify is a fast read, that it sends me an eMail three times a week with current links posted by friends and/or organizations I had “LIKED.”  As an example, I pointed out that Nimble had posted a FaceBook link to the the July 6 LA Times piece “Facebook details Skype-powered video calling, group chats” and how I had received a report on July 7 from LinkNotify. I had immediately returned to FaceBook to see a comment about starting a group to enable chatting. Earlier in the day, a friend from the Philippines had posted a link to the FaceBook announcement, so that made me twice as interested. A 10-second scan of the LinkNotify report had just saved me a 30-minute check of links posted by all my FaceBook friends. It all looked like so much FUN!

However, I had also said that I had killed off all my time-wasting FaceBook games and apps. Considering that LinkNotify is a business-oriented app that allows me to skim through the links my FaceBook friends have posted without my being slowed down by the posts about what they’re eating or watching on TV, I asked myself the obvious question:  Would SKYPE also do that for me? Not that I could see. So for now, unless my Nimble buddies can show me a good reason to the contrary, I think I’ll pass on the Skype-FaceBook integration opportunity. 


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