I’ve been a member of Everest Toastmasters Club for about a decade now and I have immensely benefited from the Toastmasters International program. When I started my career as a water supply engineer in 1988, I did not have the resources to learn the subtle art of communicating effectively and was simply ignorant of Toastmasters International. In our civil engineering fraternity, we were trained to believe that you only needed your degree and design skills to advance your career. Looking back, I vividly remember how nervous I was the first time I made a technical presentation using an overhead projector at our Pokhara office. My voice was shaking and I was perspiring so profusely that my perspiration just sweltered down to blur the whole graphics of the transparencies. It was embarrassing.
Since 2009, I have learned to tame the butterflies in my stomach whenever I speak or evaluate. I have now realized why Toastmasters International devised all the different roles in each meeting. I have also learned to shed my ego and take positive criticism about my speech in all humility, a life skill every individual needs to nurture in today’s world.
I have learned to be a better Listener, Ah Counter, Grammarian, Timer. My experience as the club’s Sergeant of Arms as well as Treasurer of the previous executive committee has embedded in me good money and office management skills. These are always required for effectively managing any organization. Through my entertaining, humorous, and storytelling speeches, I have slowly acquired skills to deliver punches, maintain effective body language, and use vocal variety without being nervous. As the VPPR of Everest’s current executive committee, I am constantly trying to acquire new publicity skills to add visibility to the club’s activities. Through all the role-playing and offices you hold, you assimilate the collaborative mindset that is important for successfully running any organization.
As human beings, we all are different and take different time to advance in our communication and leadership journey. I have seen many new members of our club who have advanced as better communicators and leaders in comparison to myself. However, I am patiently trying to improve my communication and leadership skills because I know that retaining this skill is like greasing your vehicle. As long as you grease the engine, your vehicle will run seamlessly but the minute you stop, your vehicle will break down. I recently took a higher position in a very challenging road safety project in Nepal. Initially, I was a little nervous if I would be able to do full justice to that position. But to my amazement, I excelled at the job. The Toastmasters’ skills just grow into you without you knowing. Happy toastmastering!
Subhash Dhungel, VPPR, Everest Toastmasters Club