The Honourable Janice Filmon, C.M., O.M.
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
Fort Garry United Church
Monday, May 13, 2019 – 7:00 p.m.
Friends in public speaking, members of the Winnipeg Toastmasters Club – it’s a pleasure to help you celebrate 75 years of self-improvement and community leadership through communication.
Here in Winnipeg, in Treaty One territory and in the heartland of the Metis people, the spoken word has been bringing communities together since time immemorial.
Speakers have informed and inspired others. They have united communities. They have nurtured understanding and empathy.
For 75 years, they have done so with clarity and confidence thanks to the experience they’ve gained from the Winnipeg Toastmasters Club.
I’m honoured to be following in the footsteps of Manitoba’s 13th Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Roland McWilliams, who attended the banquet that launched Toastmasters in Manitoba in 1943
I imagine those first Manitoba Toastmasters were people just like you. They came together to launch this club because they wanted to be better public speakers – perhaps for work, perhaps for volunteer occasions, or for personal and social reasons.
Maybe they’d had to sit through a rambling or mumbled speech that seemed to go on forever without saying anything.
Or maybe they’d had to make a speech themselves and had felt that familiar sensation of a rising heart rate, sweaty palms and tightened throat.
There’s an old joke from the series Seinfeld that comes to mind. According to surveys, more people say they fear public speaking than fear death. So if they’re going to a funeral, they’d rather be the person in the coffin than the one doing the eulogy.
But like you, these early Toastmasters knew that no matter the circumstances, the spoken word can bring people together in shared emotions or awareness like nothing else.
By practising and developing your public speaking abilities, you have greatly added to your leadership skills.
At work, in the community, in your volunteer activities, you have the potential to reach the people around you – to share your thoughts and touch their hearts.
I invite you to think about the ways you are already using your abilities to increase understanding. As we celebrate this anniversary, I urge you to keep using these skills to make a better, wiser, healthier Manitoba.
Congratulations on 75 years of the Winnipeg Toastmasters Club. Thanks to all who have worked to make this club a success.
May the years ahead give you more great things to talk about.
Thank you. Merci. Meegwich.