By Bindu Cardoza, Area J10 Director
It’s not easy standing in front of an audience. There may be reasons for feeling scared. The crowd maybe hostile. Plenty of images can swirl through your mind. The dizziness kicks in. Nausea envelops your body. Your breath is heavy. Weights are pulling at your feet. You know you have one chance, one opportunity, one go. You step forward into the light. You take a deep breath in. You smile. You begin.
Public speaking is not easy. It takes a lot of guts to stand up in front of an audience. There are numerous ways to help you, to educate you, to make you believe that you can do it. But if you don’t have belief in yourself, then there’s no point. Being authentic is the key to success.
Toastmasters International is a phenomenon. Becoming a member is easy. Accepting the advice is another story. You see, we all want to be famous. We all want to hear the applause. However, no-one wants to be evaluated. It takes a special type of person to accept that they can improve on the advice of others. Others who are also developing their skills. Guests. Toastmasters. Friends.
My personal view of a Toastmasters meeting is that egos should be left at the door. Anyone entering the room, whether they are a member or a guest, should be treated with dignity. Every nationality, every gender, every ability, should be made welcome. Guests below the age of 18 should be able to attend so that they can see for themselves what is going on. The decision to join should never be forced.
Once you become a Toastmaster, the sky’s the limit.
Learning from each other. Evolving into a better speaker. Growing into a respected leader. Making friends with people who are all enthusiastic to learn. Forging alliances with likeminded people on a global scale.
Toastmasters International gives you the opportunity to find your true self, to expand on what you already know, to open your eyes to the power of communication, to become the leader you are destined to be. It’s an incredible feeling to be empowered, to have self-belief, to have encouragement from others.
Toastmasters should also adhere to the values of the organisation. Integrity. Respect. Service. Excellence. You do not remain with an organisation if you do not believe in their values. Toastmasters International is non-profit, there’s no salary to receive, there’s no financial gain. However, what you do receive is the confidence to be whatever you want to be.
It’s that simple.
You really do get out of Toastmasters International what you put into Toastmasters International.
Enjoying what you do is the key to happiness.
Making friends with people who are all keen to improve their communication and leadership skills is uplifting. Listening to each other’s opinions on best practice within Toastmaster meetings is enlightening. The skills developed can then be taken into all areas of your life. You see, if you strip away the politics, the religions, the egos, then the value of being a Toastmaster is immense and lifechanging.
What are you waiting for? Visit a Toastmasters Club today. Opportunities await.