Since its establishment in 1924, millions of people have joined Toastmasters intending to become better communicators. Amidst that glory and dream, many often seem to question – but how does one improve their speaking skills at Toastmasters?
I vividly remember the time when I had this question as a new member. I started working on my speech but got stuck too often. Two weeks had passed when I realized I just could not do it. One fine day while scrolling through Facebook, I saw one of my long lost friends from India, Rabin Shetty, posting about his achievement at Toastmasters. I casually requested him to help out and to my surprise, he readily agreed.
A casual exchange soon turned engrossing with me learning so much – how to use sticky messages, craft the stage, use vocal variety to enhance one’s message, and so forth. Amidst the multiple phone calls and blurry video chats, I realized that true learning at Toastmasters comes from its members itself. One can finish up projects and receive multiple awards, however, the true barometer to gauge oneself is the evaluation and feedback provided by other toastmasters. The education programs can list down objectives you need to meet, yet your peers will simplify those programs and customize the learning process. This is why the value of peer-based learning can be seen in each aspect of Toastmasters – from chartering of a club to award submission. Members not only rely on their individual strength but also upon the collective strength of all members.
To translate and preserve the essence of learning at Toastmasters, Toastmasters in Nepal has launched its Mentorship Program. This is where each member will be paired with a peer or mentor who can guide them in their journey. To make the program even more effective, the Division PQD team has been working to recognize members who will be able to provide valuable feedback to other members and to train these members on how they can help other members. Of the 23 clubs in the country, 13 clubs have embraced this and in turn, maximized the learning of their members.
There are more than 500 toastmasters in Nepal and each of them has the enthusiasm and hunger to become an effective public speaker. That peak of success will always be glorious, but the path to reach that goal will be easier when there are others to lend a hand. One does not just become better at Toastmasters, one becomes better with Toastmasters.
Sadikchya Singh, Program Quality Director, Division A, District 41