I was a ‘born introvert.’ At school I would not volunteer to ‘read things out in class’, at parties (even as an adult) I would only talk to people I knew, and at meetings at work I would have an idea though I would be too nervous to speak in front of others.
What led me to Toastmasters?
It was a chance meeting with a former work-friend, Wendy White in 2008 who was then President of a Toastmasters Club. (Wendy is currently District Director of District 70 in Australia).
I saw the changes in her (from when I knew her previously) and suspected that Toastmasters had something to do with this.
So what is Toastmasters?
Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. It has 313,000 members around the world in 14,650 clubs in 126 countries.
Members improve their speaking and leadership skills by attending the meetings on a regular basis, either weekly, fortnightly or monthly depending on the individual Club and applying themselves through the Educational program.
I joined Toastmasters in March 2008 for the following reasons:
1. To gain a greater general confidence
2. To improve my photographic judging evaluations at Camera Clubs
3. To overcome nerves
Joining and putting myself well and truly into the programme has been a life-changing experience because it has helped me in 18 different ways/areas of my life i.e.
It has helped me in the following ways:
– gain greater general confidence
– am able to control my nerves prior to and during photographic judging/speeches
– am able to take photos in front of others without getting nervous
– am now able to walk up to strangers and introduce myself
– has improved my networking/business capabilities
– have no fear of speaking in public
– have no fear of taking on leadership roles
– has made me a better leader
– it has made me a better listener
– to evaluate better
– I can now ‘think on my feet’ better (impromptu speaking)
– improved my performance at job interviews
– has enable me to write & deliver coherent speeches
– has enabled me to win speech contests (who would have ever thought)!?
– has improved my writing capabilities to the point that I am now in the process of writing a book
– has given me the confidence to start writing poems (133 at last count)
– has opened up ‘outside of Toastmasters’ speaking opportunities including me being able to accept an MC role at a wedding & being able to speak at community clubs
– has enabled me to have a positive impact on people within and outside Toastmasters
As with life in general, the learning never stops! In all of the above areas there are still improvements to be made but when I look back I am thankful I had the courage to walk through the door of a Toastmasters Club.
Members, both experienced and new will be there to support you and cheer you on!
Whether you are an employee or are in business for yourself, consider visiting/joining a Toastmasters Club.
It will change your life for the better!
Click on http://www.toastmasters.org to find out more and ‘Find A Club’ in your area.
To your Success!!!