I came to hear about Toastmasters in early 2009 from one of my friends who was working in an UN-affiliated organization. It was in June 2018 when I was asked to become a chartered member of KU-SOM Toastmasters club and I officially joined. I readily agreed and joined as a member of the club of my institution where I was associated for long in different roles. The motivation behind joining Toastmasters is my belief that knowledge won’t be sufficient if we can’t communicate well.
Being a teacher, I think I spoke well until I joined the club. For the first meeting, when I spoke, I became the king of Ah and Ums. Then, I tried to listen more rather than speaking. It’s essential to listen to speakers, and I soon realized that communication is not just about talking. It is so much about listening as well; not only hearing but listening to what is said and what is implied. I gained a lot in this aspect to patiently and clearly listen, which was invaluable in my day to day life.
It may look like a small thing, but it has made a lot of difference in me to avoid much miscommunication and misunderstanding. Even though I haven’t spoken well, my evaluator said that I have a good vocal variety and confidence. I realized that Toastmasters is the platform to improve and transform into a better version of ourselves. No one gets punished or suffers a charge for their mistake. Instead, they get appropriate and instant feedback on how they performed and are advised how they could improve further.
Yes, there are many ways to improve our communication and public speaking skills, however for me the preferred option was to join Toastmasters as I agree with DTM Ranjit Acharya, as he shared in Citation 2018: “Toastmasters are burning light having the power to make others burn and light unlike other institutions who give public speaking training, and are like bulbs that only light itself.” In my Pathways, I chose Leadership Development as I realized leadership and public speaking go hand-in-hand. Joining a Toastmasters club improved my outlook and attitude towards life in several ways.
Dipendra Karki, KU-SOM Toastmasters