Do you ever wonder just how much you are getting out of your Toastmasters experience? It may be much more than you realize.
I have been attending a business resource group for the past few months. The leader of the group did a good job of keeping the meeting moving and on target. He may well have had some Toastmasters experience somewhere along the line. This gentleman passed away suddenly, so the cofounder of the group was at the meeting to oversee it this past week. She is hard working, compassionate and a person of integrity, but when it came to facilitating a meeting, she did not have the tools to manage it efficiently.
Had it not been for my Toastmasters training, I would have known things weren’t going well, but I would not have known what was wrong or what it would take to keep it on track.
In this situation, the meeting role which would have served this lady the most would be Toastmaster. As Toastmaster we put together the agenda and know where the meeting is going. Secondly, the Toastmaster establishes herself as a leader by being up front where she learns how to hand control of the floor over to others, and take it back as appropriate. The role also teaches us to be aware of the clock and keep things on or close to schedule.
This is just one example of how Toastmaster prepares us to be a speaker and a leader. When we are articulate and confident, interesting opportunities open up to us – to lead the invocation at a Chamber of Commerce event, the chance to emcee an event at church, or to be the featured speaker at a networking event when the one scheduled doesn’t show. There is a world of speaking opportunities out there. When you have practiced and developed a skill set at your club you can set yourself apart from the crowd by stepping up to a wide array of speaking and leadership challenges when they arise.
Toastmasters is about speaking and leadership. Both have individual merits, together they set you apart from the crowd. I encourage you to take advantage of some of the many leadership opportunities Toastmasters offers, from mentoring a new member to sponsoring a new club. If you really want to kick your leadership skills up a notch, take on the next District Conference.
Tell yourself “I am a Distinguished Toastmaster” and then take the steps to make it happen.
By Jodie Sanders