Do you know what the world’s number one fear is? Fear of death? Fear of flying? No, most studies suggest that it is the fear of public speaking. Have you ever wondered, if you would be able to articulate your thought across to room of strangers and convince them to act? I haven’t. It wasn’t one of my biggest fears. I could speak to people at ease; I could make a presentation to a hall of gathering after taking in a few breathes. Mark twain once said, there are two kinds of speakers in this world, those feel nervous and the rest all are liars. I am not a liar, no one can deny not being nervous, but one can still make a neat presentation controlling their nervousness. I fall into that category.
One afternoon, I was egged to join a colleague of mine to visit Toastmasters club, a forum that helps to hone your speaking skills. With little option left, I trudged along to join a group of people seated formally. I won a ribbon for the best table topic speaker of the day. It helped me rediscover a speaker in me which I never paid attention to, but what impressed me the most was, the camaraderie in the room and the positive energy that exuberates in any Toastmasters club. I found it as an avenue to network with people. With time, I realized’ Evaluations’, makes Toastmasters unique. In this cut throat world, we have very little time to stop , acknowledge , correct and help our fellow human beings, the race is ran so hard that we fail to realize we have only created stampedes instead of leaving behind trails. This place is an exception, you enter a Toastmasters meeting, everything around you slows down, and you progress!
The entire program is so well thought of and structured that it can cater to anybody’s need. I didn’t have a need when joined; it catered to me as well. Toastmasters helped me understand my strength as a speaker and exposed the dents and holes that required immediate attention to make me a better speaker. Communication is a vital tool. I never knew saying it right made so much of difference in establishing our personal relations, winning deals in business, and sealing victories at work. The power to move the world lies in your communication, the ability to articulate. Over these two years, I have paused to observe many situations where, it is miscommunication that has lead to a grave issue, be it personal or professional life. It is sad that, most of us aren’t even aware that our simple unintentional words create havocs. Even if some of us do, we are left clueless, how to alter? We once again misinterpret it to be our behavior. Our behaviors’ are camouflaged by our words, shed the dry leaves, and use the power of words to reveal yourself. The art of communicating can be revered when the same message gets interpreted by different recipients in one and the only way you intended it to be.
How can I leave behind the leadership opportunities that a Toastmaster club offers you? As one focuses on communicating, even before one can realize, Toastmasters will groom the individual’s leadership abilities. I learnt the rendition of the word ‘Leader’ here. My stint at leading the club from front was the most rewarding experience, a leader can forge ahead getting the team together searching for higher ground or just stay still in the comfort of the past glory. Neither of this is as easy as it may sound. Any role that bestows responsibility will help you shape your personality. It did to me. I can add adjectives to my experience but to put it simple and keep it effective, I found the depth of many attributes associated with a leader.
Out of the many things that I learnt the most important learning is; to open the doors to a new world, it is just not enough if you hold the right key, YOU should use it.
I found Toastmasters to be the forum to communicate, collaborate and rejuvenate. June’2010 would earmark my three year journey with Toastmasters. What have I achieved? CC and ALB! Nah, the learning’s at every meeting can’t be accounted for in those education tracks. Experiences go beyond.
I take this opportunity to thank Expressions HCL Toastmaster club for nurturing me, wordsmiths club for accepting me as their own, Chennai Toastmasters for being there always, not to forget the Toastmasters from various other clubs I have been associated with.
Communicate sans barrier to live by your aspirations.