I joined Toastmasters in February 2018 with one intention — I wanted to become a better communicator. Today almost 2 years later, I am quite satisfied with my steadfast growth. Over the years, I also learned something from this platform that I never thought I would.
While attending Toastmasters’ meetings I learned that the basic foundation of Toastmasters can be used to develop an ace just about any skill.
Toastmasters meeting is held every week or biweekly, and in each meeting, you can take one role or the other to develop your communication and leadership skills. Come to think of it, if we can devote a certain time each week or each day for a specific skill, we can surely make improvements in its development. For instance, each week you practice dancing for an hour. Every day you write for 20 minutes. A constant drip of water wears a rock. And when you devote your time for a certain skill consistently, you are certainly going to make progress.
The moment you become a part of Toastmasters you are assigned a mentor. That mentor is your tutor, your first go-to-person in a new club setting, and someone who is honest with you.
Having a mentor helped me realize the dynamics of public speaking and speechcraft that I would have never realized on my own. I learn a new way to draft my content. I learn a new way of delivering. I could understand things from better perspectives. Every time I took mentorship over the past years, I have only moved forward.
The same is with every skill you are learning. When you take mentorship from the right person, you gain the possibility of filling yourself with insights for improvement that you might have missed out on.
The heart of every Toastmasters meeting is the evaluation session. If you are delivering a speech at the meeting, you are evaluated. If you are taking a role, you are evaluated. And not just once or twice, each time you speak or lead, you are evaluated. It might make sense to understand that it is not a random person evaluating you, but someone who has already delivered the speech you have delivered, already taken the roles you have taken, already done what you have done and gone beyond it.
Likewise, if you are trying to learn a new skill, getting evaluated consistently from someone who has a good degree of expertise in that particular skill can do wonders.
Always having something to look forward to
This is something I love most about Toastmasters. Here, you always have something to look forward to. Toastmasters has a long-range of educational programs. No matter how high you climb on the ladder of experience, no matter how many speeches you have delivered or the roles you have taken, there is always something to look forward to. Another speech, another role, another landmark.
I believe this is a crucial ingredient for improvement in any field of life. A reminder that no matter how high you go, there is always something to look up to, always somewhere you can improve upon.
Shraddha Shrestha, VPPR, Himalaya Toastmasters Club
Published in Inkspire Issue 2. Click here for the full newsletter.