Rotary Minutes – Jay Zenner

When you have zig-zagged through a number of careers, are collecting Social Security and still don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, a five minute portrait of yourself means you have to be very selective. Such was Jay Zenner’s dilemma in presenting his story. Jay chose as the central theme in his story BS, which he described as the two initials widely recognized by all English speakers to be “persuasive communications, rhetoric, propaganda or spin.”

The problem was that Jay spun a little out of control and went way beyond the 5 minute time allocation and jammed the time on several important announcements, two new member inductions and a very interesting speaker. This kind of thing actually happens more frequently than we would like to admit. Aside from the problem of someone spinning BS out of control, it also illustrates one of the limits of the meeting format.  In a large very active club there is a lot to jam into that weekly hour. The speaker, Anton Zuiker, the Director of  Communications in the Department of Medicine at the Duke University Medical Center, spoke of creating online communities. Allen Cronenberg’s program report has been published here on the site.  This was a very appropriate topic because it provides one solution to the limits imposed by the club’s once a week for one hour meeting limitation.

With the new website we have the basis for adding that dimension to the Club’s communications. What remains to be seen is not whether this will happen, but when.  As Professor Tippett proved in her presentation on the Millennials who will become the next generation of Rotarians, this kind of communication is second nature to them. Whether a critical mass of current Rotarians can be nudged into this form of community building remains to be seen.

In the meantime maybe President Don should empower the Sergeant-at-Arms to use a hook to get BSers to surrender the microphone.

Jay is meanwhile prayerfully beating his chest and mumbling “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa,” which is all he remembers from a year of high school Latin and several years as an altar boy.

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