Bindu is ACS, ALB and Area Director – Area 10, Division J
I joined Toastmasters because I was looking for a club where I did not have to sell anything. I was elated after achieving my MSc in Human Resource Management from Cardiff University and the prospect of returning to employment was exciting. Initially I thought a Toastmaster was the person who rings the bell in the city centre and delivers public announcements. However, after my first meeting I realised that this was something else and I was hooked. A Toastmasters club is a place where you can learn to speak better, to become a better leader and practise these skills in a fun, safe environment. People from all walks of life are Toastmasters. I was amazed at how eclectic the club was. Everyone was very friendly, and I was quickly introduced to a gentleman who was in charge of membership. He explained the benefits of joining. My mind was buzzing; what was “table topics”? It all felt very mysterious. Suddenly a gavel was heard banging on the lectern and the front of the room. Everyone became very silent. The meeting began.
Several years later, I was elected President of Cardiff Toastmasters. To be the first female president was an honour and by then the members knew that I was passionate about equality. I was determined to increase the membership and make the club available to anyone interested in becoming a better speaker and leader. At the start of every meeting, I imparted a few thoughts on Toastmasters and made a point of welcoming every guest. I always made sure that the atmosphere was positive, jovial and encouraging. We had a variety of speeches delivered along with educational presentations and evaluations. It was important to keep the energy levels up and our enthusiastic warm-ups were enjoyed by all. The table topics sessions were great fun and guests were invited to partake. Throughout my year as President I received great feedback and many members achieved educational awards. It was a good year.
Becoming Area Director this year has been a wonderful achievement. My aim is to make sure all the clubs in my area increase in membership as well as attracting guests at every meeting. There is a new club opening soon and I hope to encourage more to begin. Delivering the message of Toastmasters to everyone is key to the success of this non-profit organisation. Social media, word of mouth, newspaper articles such as this can only demystify the enigma that is Toastmasters. I would encourage you all to visit a club and see for yourself. Take that step. I did.