Communication is the key to your success
Why are you so busy? Why are some people burning both ends of the candle and filling every waking hour with some activity or another? You can say that they looking for opportunities to better themselves and prove their worth. But I think there is a good place to look at and my best place is the Toastmasters club.
Toastmasters’ activity represents an opportunity. To discover your capabilities, hidden talents, and motivations. From my experience, as a dentist, I really do not speak very much outside the clinical context though I may be very well-versed with my diagnoses and treatment plans.
Asking important standard questions to derive a diagnosis and the right solution is very much the order of the day. Most people come to the dentist rather nervous to strike up a decent conversation. They want to get a painful problem solved.
Ever since I joined Toastmasters and participated actively in its speaking projects, I have improved tremendously in my presentation skills. I developed the ability to explain to my patients about their condition in a very succinct manner. Most disputes arise because of miscommunication and misunderstanding. Over 35 years of practice, I have largely avoided that and that was also how long I have been with Toastmasters.
You can say that Toastmasters was good for my business.
Socially, I have also progressed. Introverted and quiet for the most part of my early adult life, I knew that I had to get out of my shell if I wanted to ‘grow up’. The world out there does not know what you are thinking, and you learn nothing by keeping to yourself.
In Toastmasters meeting, members hail from all walks of life; engineers, teachers, financial analysts, secretaries, general managers, sales personnel, and many more. The onus was on each individual to invest time and effort and take his speech project seriously.
Each meeting was interesting as there were new and different things to learn from listening to members’ speaking projects. Because our backgrounds are diverse.
By following the objectives of the speech projects, and guided and evaluated by experienced members, we see how some novice speakers transformed into very good communicators and presenters over a period of time. Many enjoy advancement in their careers, a boost in self-confidence and happiness in human relationships.
Employers value, seek out, hire, and promote people who communicate effectively. Tell me if you can name a CEO who cannot speak well. Good communication skills are the key to a person’s success. Customers, employees, and the public are drawn to good communicators and Toastmasters present this opportunity because of its comprehensive training program.
Communication is key. In Toastmasters training, we not only learn to speak effectively, but we also become better listeners due to the need to give positive evaluations to speakers doing their projects for that meeting. A good toastmaster is a good listener. He learns to be sensitive to his audience’s needs and has the knack to motivate a speaker to do better the next time, encouraging him, highlighting his flaws for improvement, and yet not offending him.
At the same time, our critical thinking skills were also developed from the sharing of stories by people from diverse backgrounds. Given the positive tone of a Toastmasters environment, it is not surprising that most of us are positive thinkers, and some developed humor too.
There is also the opportunity to develop leadership skills. As the meeting needs an exco team to plan and run each meeting successfully, it is the exco team which consists of the President, Vice-President of Education, Vice-President of Membership, Vice-President of Public Relations, the treasurer, the secretary, and sergeant at arms (see to the logistics ) and they are the members who volunteered their services for the term of the year.
I have been a President of my club twice. Given this opportunity had groomed me into a more confident speaker. As a leader, I had to set a positive tone for every meeting as a leader and make sure the members were motivated to do their projects and do them well. So, every time we meet, we learned.
I learned not to depend on my script, holding onto it like a crutch. Every meeting required me to give an encouraging opening address and I had resolved to lose the script which I finally did for my term. Bravo!
I was also Vice President of Public Relations and learned something about publicizing the club to the other people through social media and emails. It was a new experience for me as I had to learn to be creative with my presentation and content. Other exco members were also learning new things in their portfolio.
The opportunities are many. Speech Contests are organized yearly to bring out the best of the participants. We had good laughs during a Humorous Speech Contest and the International Speech Contest is always motivating.
One member puts it well. On a Friday evening, when he is given the choice to turn up for a Toastmasters meeting or join his buddies for drinks to unwind, he always chose the former and never regretted it.
Let Toastmasters activity be an important choice in your life!