Sometimes you just have to stand up, take a position and stay with it, regardless of the older (but not necessarily better-informed) voices speaking against your ideas. A FrontRange GoldMine blog with 666 members may not necessarily be a comfortable place to argue with those who have been in the business longer than I have. Especially when the group includes some superb, well-known industry experts and one self-admitted grump with a Grumpy avatar who speak as if they were in on the pre-beta tests of GoldMine Premium Edition. A few of them are actually published authors. In a word, they can claim to be more technically authoritative than I am. However, remaining silent is worse. I have to answer to myself just before I drift off to sleep at night.
Until recently, my points about integrating social networking with GoldMine Premium Edition at the heavily technically-oriented members of the FrontRange Community site have mostly been met with pushback.
Not that I did not expect that to happen. It’s just that very often the louder chorus of voices can easily drown out a soloist with the courage to speak up for change.
A fair estimate of the male to female ratio in the FrontRange GoldMine community site is about 10 men to every woman. And when a chorus entirely dominated by men spoke in doubt about the value of integrating social networking with GoldMine, it got rough and tumble. I pictured myself standing up and speaking directly and in person as a group. For some people, that might be a rather intimidating experience.
That was when my Toastmasters training kicked in, making the FrontRange community experience exhilirating, not daunting; exciting, not devastating.
I first joined Toastmasters in 1981. Since then, I have spoken to thousands at a time. I have spoken in front of strangers and in front of friends. I have spoken to hostile groups. Most recently, and in front of a virtual LinkedIn Toastmasters group of 5,773, I have been debating the value of a proposal being put to all of our voting members around the globe, including the Executive Director and those Board members present. Based on the Toastmasters International profile showing 53% of our members being female, I suspect I have been talking to more women than men. But again, it’s mostly men pushing back in public. Why that seems to be so, I am not sure.
The experience in each group gets my heart pumping. Sometimes I just have to speak my truth to power to answer to myself just before I drift off to sleep at night. Then I’m glad to be a Toastmaster.