Creative commentary plus crafty composition

What’s in Some Words?

In looking through our Toastmasters club file of words of the day, as individually used in our meetings over the years, there are some interesting revelations.

Words chosen by members, in turns as ‘Wordmaster’, show quite a range of choices, from relatively familiar to quite obscure, as well as varying degrees of efforts made in their presentation (font size, definition, etc.).

While seemingly an obvious step, the use of a very large font so the word could be easily seen around the table has not been a given. That alone can affect the frequency of its use.

Having a word test (so to speak) each time, as part of meeting structure, is intended to help broaden the vocabulary of attendees. Thus, the challenge to do so depends on one’s involvement in the meeting, and the extent to which one is nimble enough to use the highlighted word appropriately.

As in any group, some historically make more of an effort than others to step up to the challenge; some who do take the challenge still stumble with pronunciation or proper usage – but at least they’re trying.

Here are some examples of words chosen for a day (with my perspective on their degree of challenge via 1 – 5 scale, & presentation). In recent years, it’s become customary to try to have the word relate to its meeting theme.

  • ABODE:     commonality = 3     presentation = use of colour & images
  • ACTUATE:     commonality = 4     presentation = large, bold font & borders
  • ACYROLOGIA:     commonality = 5     presentation = large font, details in bold
  • ALTRUISM:     commonality = 3     presentation = example of not using a noticeably large font, and not prioritizing the supportive detail
  • ANAMNESIS:     commonality = 5     presentation = large, bold font & borders
  • ASPIRATION:     commonality = 2    presentation = large, colour font & simple layout
  • AUDACIOUS & AUDACITY:     commonality = 3     presentation = uneven
  • BESTIR:     commonality = 4     presentation = large font, concise look
  • BUOYANT:     commonality = 3     presentation = large, coloured font, focus on definitions
  • CHOCKABLOCK:     commonality = 5     presentation = word highly visible but look could have used more sizzle for difficult-to-use word
  • CHURLISH:     commonality = 3     presentation = large, colour font & effective framing
  • CLICHÉ:     commonality = 3     presentation = bold font & unusual use of colour in sample sentence to emphasize word
  • CONVIVIAL:     commonality = 4     presentation = two versions, one portrait (unusual) and one landscape, large bold print
  • CONSTRUE:     commonality = 3     presentation = minimal detail but large print
  • CORDATE:     commonality = 5     presentation = bold, colour font & definition illustrates limited opportunity for use of word
  • CORNUCOPIA:     commonality = 4     presentation = unusual colour font & note re Latin root of word
  • DELUSION:     commonality = 3     presentation = unusual font contributes to conceptualize word meaning
  • DIVAGATE/INDIGATE:     commonality = 5     presentation = example of two similar words which emphasize impact of different prefixes
  • EFFICACIOUS:     commonality = 4     presentation = large font & minimal additional detail
  • EMBLEMATIC:     commonality = 3     presentation = large colour font & colour in detail
  • ENTHUSIASTIC:     commonality = 1     presentation = good spacing, but limited focus on word itself
  • EPHEMERAL:    commonality = 4     presentation = large, lower case (unusual) font & fading print detail
  • ERUDITE/ERUDITION:    commonality = 4     presentation = both focus on large font & visibility of detail
  • EXORDIUM:     commonality = 5     presentation = large font & another illustration of definition limiting opportunity to use word
  • EXPEDIENT:     commonality = 3     presentation = bold, colour font & use of borders to separate detail

You get the idea…

Imagine how you might try to incorporate these words in a self-improvement meeting.

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