Joining Toastmasters amidst the Lockdown

I always thought I was good at speaking until I joined Toastmasters- which is the wisest decision I made in lockdown. I craft educational experiences as a lecturer in the classroom for undergraduate and postgraduate students. Amid current circumstances, virtual classes have become a dominant trend in the contemporary scene. I was in the transformation phase to digital learning and sharing platform.  For my lockdown appetite, I had piles of books to read, and some selective online courses in the pipeline. Suddenly, something popped in the Facebook- story of DTM Saurabh Lohani. It read “ Does any enthusiast wants to get membership at Kathmandu Toastmasters Club?” My first thought whispered in my head– ‘Go for it, it will groom you’. Immediately, a second thought followed – ‘I am in teaching field which by default makes me speak’. Something was dragging me from courageously moving ahead. And then, one fine day my husband said ‘If you want to unlock your potentials  in speaking, go for Toastmasters without hesitation.’

This time I put my mind and heart together and went for the membership process. With the help of incredibly supportive members, lockdown did not become a barrier for me to get a membership. I have attended meetings for a couple of weeks till this early June 2020.  From guests to members to club officer, from Table Topics speakers to seatured speakers, everyone has astonished me with their impromptu and organized speeches. I too have started lessening my Ahs, Ums, like, unnecessary pauses, hesitations, so and focusing on spontaneous discussions, all of which I am also taking back to my classrooms. Now, I have been able to combat the fear of speaking by taking roles as far as possible in virtual meetings. Overcoming anxiety is only the tip of the iceberg, I want to be a better public speaker, boost my confidence, sharpen my leadership traits, improve improvisation and connect with like minded people of Toastmasters’ fraternity and beyond. 

Why didn’t I join Toastmasters earlier? It is much required in our teaching community. I am really influenced by young minds, experts and intellects, and most promising members who don’t fear how they speak but believe in doing better each time. I am hopeful this community will help me to learn, unlearn, and relearn my speaking skills.

Sarala Karki, Kathmandu Toastmasters Club

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