Harringtons laud public speaking club
Robert and Laurie Harrington accept public speaking awards at the Nov. 13 Toast of Lincolnshire Club meeting. Photo supplied.
Updated: November 27, 2012 10:34AM
LINCOLNSHIRE — Robert and Laura Harrington have a passion for helping people overcome their fear of public speaking. As members of The Talk of Lincolnshire Toastmasters Club, they are able to do just that, guiding people from ages 18 to beyond age 90 to become leaders. Robert and Laura say they are a team, encouraging each other to grow and give back to others what has been given to them.
Q: What inspired you to join The Talk of Lincolnshire Toastmasters Club?
A: My wife (Laurie) and I joined a little over four years ago. I had enjoyed speaking in plays and musicals, but those were saying other peoples’ words and thoughts. My wife had taken some speaking courses but had not felt comfortable in front of large groups and some high-profile clients. We had attended an open house for TOL, and as we both worked in the area at that time – we joined. The best decision for both of us was that one.
Q: What makes the club unique?
A: It’s open to anyone who wishes to improve their speaking or leadership skills. Toastmasters’ newly revised tagline, “Where Leaders Are Made,” emphasizes (speaking) being a learned skill. We draw from those living in the area and also those living in the surrounding communities. Some members come right from work to the meeting, returning to their home afterwards. All visitors are welcome.
Q: What are your future goals with the club?
A: Our goal for the future is to continue helping others to find their Voice and to step up to their leadership ability.
Q: How does the club benefit others?
A: Both Laurie and I have found this as a safe environment to practice those skills, build our confidence and deliver speeches on a multitude of subjects. Our secret is acceptance of the level our members come in at, and mentoring them to a higher level using prepared speeches and impromptu Table Topic off-the-cuff talks.
Q: What motivates you to reach your goals in the club?
A: My wife and I found out that the more speeches you do, the better you get, the more confident you get. What seemed impossible to us before, we now do with ease. Both of us have reached the Advanced Communication Gold Level this year. That required a minimum of 40 prepared speeches, and plan to complete the Distinguished Toastmaster Achievement by the end of 2012.
Q: In what town do you live?
A: Carol Stream, Ill.
Q: What draws you to the Lincolnshire community?
A: My Working for Aon Hewitt in Lincolnshire at first as an IT professional and lately as a Medicare Insurance Agent called Senior Navigators.
Q: Where are you from originally?
A: I grew up in Flint, Mich. and worked in Ann Arbor, Muskegon, Grand Rapids, Okemos, Kalamazoo before coming to Chicago for an IT job. My first residence was in the Arlington Heights area.
Q: What is your family like?
A: I am the second child of four. Dad worked for Buick and mother for NAACP, YWCA, International Institute and was a water color artist. She is 89 with Alzheimers living with my sister in South Carolina. My wife’s family is 15 kids strong — 8 girls and 7 boys, with her as the very middle child. All of her siblings are living all over the US. Her mother was the matriarch of her startup Catholic church in Lake County.
Q: What about Lincolnshire makes you proud?
A: My wife and I have taken adult dance lessons at Stevenson High School and held Toastmaster contests at both the Vernon Hills Area Library and the Village Hall. Each of these facilities show the level of caring and interest in education that we both admire.
Q: What is your favorite community event?
A: Plays at the Marriot are the best event that we have participated in, other than Toastmasters of course.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in town?
A: Wildfire, Cheesecake Factory, Big Bowl are ones our company has treated us to and all were excellent.
Q: If you were mayor of Lincolnshire for a day, what would you do?
A: Invite all the not-for-profit community and service clubs to come to a open house-publicity meeting or have booths at the Taste Of Lincolnshire Festival to let others know of those club services and educational opportunities that are available. I would even put notices out on the Lincolnshire Web Page of those clubs as well.
Q: What are you reading right now?
A: Just Finished the Hunger Games series, and knuckling down to get through the Series 6 Securities Study books needed for my new job with Primerica.
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: Dune or Avatar or Matrix series for me, and Little Big Man for my wife.
Q: What is on your iPod?
A: We have Color Nook and three laptops. The Nook is both our Reader and Sudoku buddy.
Q: What is your favorite vacation spot?
A: Honeymoon was in Cozumel Mexico with scuba suits, but cottage in Boyne Falls, Mi. is a close second.
Q: Are you a summer or winter person?
A: Our bikes ride easier in the spring and fall, but by getting out early, summer is good as well.
Q: What is your favorite Chicago sports team?
A: Cubs, and next the Bears.