Where Toastmasters has brought me..
This post is a continuation from the last one, to talk about Toastmasters club.. And specically the kind of experiences and opportunities it gave me..
Being a semi-regular attendent of the club meetings (it was first year and I really didn’t have anything better to do), I was encouraged to take up the position for the club ex-co in my 2nd yr.. After much convincing I agreed, and together with my good friend who’d introduced me to the club, I stood for the ‘elections’.
I rememeber, due to some last minute changes, my election which was supposed to be a walk through (the old ex-co had planned it all), I had to stand up against my own mentor from the club. It was a wierd election speech if you’ve ever seen one. Finally, I was voted in as the SAA (Seargent-at-arms) and thus started another ride.
Being in the exco was fun and yet challenging. Managing people was hard, but successful meetings and growing members made us feel really great. We ourselves got loads of chances to become TME (Toastmaster of the Evening) and TTM (Table Topics Master) and as Evaluators as well. That was a great time to learn organisation, logistics as well as communications and public speaking.. Though we did not get to do many projects ourselves..
In my 3rd year, I went for exchange to Copenhagen. During my 6 months there, I managed to attend 1 meeting of the only local Toastmasters club. It was a bilingual club, with alternate meetings in Danish and English. I managed to attend the English meeting and take part in not only the table topics but also be the ‘Ah counter’. It was a very different experience.
The next few years were the busy years. With other commitments, my time in Toasmasters reduced to just attending meetings. Though I managed to attend quiet a few workshops, do a few more projects, take part in a few competitions, visit many other clubs. I was just trying to keep up with Toastmasters rather than acheiving anything.
Last year, two very enthusiastic ladies in my old company decided to start a Toastmasters Club inhouse. I was really excited. I attended all the meetings and was ofcourse nominated for the ex-co again having had Toastmasters experience before. It was great to see a club starting form nothing. We put in loads of efforts to spread the word, get more people in, get them excited, teach them the way of Toastmasters and make them grow.. We had to create the club culture, and induce enthusiasm into the members.
Toastmasters has really brought me a long way. The thing I learnt there don’t just stop at public speaking and communication, but are lessons in life itself. It is there I have heard some of the most motivating and also the most heart-breaking speeches.