Chicago Multicultural Connections Club


Tonight at the Chicago Multicultural Connections club, I gave a talk on the importance of learning a foreign language in today’s global economy, and I’m planning to give tips based on my experience in learning several foreign languages.

The contents of the speech are described in the last post.   I wanted to give my impressions of the hosts, the club, and the members in general.   When I was the Chief Project Manager for the Professional Development Day in 2014 for the PMI Chicagoland Chapter, I chose “The Third Coast Goes Global” as the theme of the all-day set of workshops.    I got the idea from a history of the city of Chicago called “The Third Coast,” the premise of which is that Chicago is rapidly becoming the third most internationally-connected city in the United States, despite the fact that it is in the heart of the Midwest.

The Chicago Multicultural Connections Club is geared for those professionals who have come to Chicago from other countries, and for whom English is often a second language, AND those professionals who live in Chicago who are interested in making connections with those from other cultures and countries.   I gave a talk there tonight on learning foreign languages, and it was obviously not a difficult task to convince them of the importance of this–rather I spent time comparing techniques that are better for adults who want to learn a foreign language efficiently.

There were people who originally came from Mexico, China, Ecuador, Austria, and Americans who have lived in Singapore, China, Germany, Japan and other places around the world.   But no matter the geography, they all the same mental geography, in that they were enthusiastic about the opportunity to cross cultural and linguistic boundaries.   I hope that I can join the club sometime in the future, because the members seem like “my kind of people.”

Amy Segami and Paula are the co-founders of the group, and they both are passionate about creating an opportunity to make Chicago and even more international city than it already is.    I know Amy Segami from the Windy City Professional Speakers Club, and I appreciate her generosity in setting me up with this opportunity to speak for her Chicago Multicultural Connections Club.    She is a very experienced speaker, and she gave me valuable pointers on how to reorganize my material so that even more impact.

The audience consisted of about a dozen or so people, and the setting  with the scattered tables, chairs and couches was more conducive to conversation than a typical lecture room with rows of chairs.     When I opened up the part of the talk about foreign language learning techniques, I got a lot of participation, and there were a lot of questions at the end.

As a speaking experience, I would say it went as well or even better than I had imagined it, and there were no technical glitches or any problems that marred the experience, at least for me.    I am exhausted after returning home from the presentation, but I am very happy because I made quite a few multicultural connections of members in the club, and I gained valuable experience as a speaker.    I had been the Master of Ceremonies twice, but giving an hour-long presentation is a lot longer and more varied speaking experience than I have ever had before.    But I saw it not as an hour-long speech plus a Q&A session, as much as a series of mini-speeches than I strung together and practiced separately so that the whole thing came off seamlessly.    I know in the future I can handle speaking engagements of this length without any difficulty, and I look forward to my next opportunity!

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