Have you ever witnessed a character in a movie or a book who was the embodiment of a stereotypical nerd? What was the character like? Sweet yet shy, someone who was surrounded more by books and less by people? Well, I am the real-life version of all those nerds. And for me, my greatest fear was public speaking. 

It was only after several ups and downs, a lot of thinking and planning, I gathered the courage to break out of my comfort zone and started a new journey ahead. To embark on this new journey, I decided to join a Toastmasters Club. 

Being the kind of person who runs away from mediocrity, I could never dwell into something with half a heart. Either it is 100% or 0%, but never in between. Therefore, I joined Toastmasters only when I was ready to devote the required time and energy to it.

When I first joined Himalaya Toastmasters Club, I was immensely anxious thinking and wondering about my betterment. I was in a constant state of confusion because I was not sure if I could become a better communicator and leader as I had expected. But due to my zeal to learn and passion for self-development, I started managing myself to attend each meeting of the club and utilized each session to the fullest. 

However, even when I was putting on every bit of effort possible, I had many battles to fight. To begin with, I speak fast and biologically I have a smiley face. Due to these innate characteristics of mine, I had great difficulty in exploring different types of presentation skills and speech delivery methods. While I could learn technical stuff with ease, I struggled with humour and drama. There were indeed many more hurdles. 

At Toastmasters, one of the most enhancing aspects for me has been the mentorship I have received. While I was new to the club, it was very difficult to understand the educational programs and how to go about those. Even when I prepared my speech drafts, I could feel that it needed correction but had no idea on how to make it better. My speech for me was like my child. It was difficult to figure out the flaws. Thus, having a mentor was a big help. It was my mentor who made my speeches better by giving me constructive criticism and suggesting points of improvements by digging deep into my speech. It was, and still is my mentor who makes me better by both encouraging me and critiquing me. I am very grateful to my mentor who has always been a focal point in my development. 

Today, with the help of my mentor, and all the opportunities provided by Toastmasters, I can find my vision of becoming better every single day. 

As I look back to my icebreaker speech and compare it with the most recent speech I delivered, I can gladly say that Toastmasters has helped me transform immensely. I am very positive that this process of growth will see new lights every day. 

Ashma Dahal, Himalaya Toastmasters Club 

Published in Inkspire Issue 2. Click here for the full newsletter.

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