The Toastmaster Effect
Updated: Dec 4, 2019
I’ve been at Toastmasters for almost three years now and I thought it would be nice to reflect on my life before & after Toastmasters.
Priyanka Version 1 – The Before
Now, did you know: According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. This means to the average person, if they go to a funeral, they’re better off in the casket than delivering the eulogy.
That was me, before I joined toastmasters. In fact, my first memories of public speaking take me back to my elocution class at school where each student was called upon stage to recite a poem of choice and was graded based on their delivery. The very thought of reciting a poem on stage in front of 50 other students was enough to send rattles down my spine. The roll call would start in an alphabetical order and one by one students would go and recite their poems. My name was called in the middle and I remember thanking my parents for naming me with the alphabet P because that ensured no matter which direction the teacher decided to call out our names (A to Z or Z to A), mine would always be in the middle :-) That’s how much I dreaded public speaking.
Priyanka Version 2 – The After
Fast forward to now and I am in my third year of TM, still flexing my speaking muscle.
In these 3 years,
I’ve had the opportunity to be the club President and learn invaluable skills in leadership and functioning of the club like People, Strategy, Marketing, Finance etc. which I can take back and apply to my work
Completed some Toastmasters manuals on Competent Communicator and Competent Leader which have given me access to 50+ projects to hone my speaking skills
Participated in speech contests and even judged some
Structured thinking has become a norm while talking & writing: Beginning, Middle & End
Writing has improved and I’ve translated most of my speeches into blogs
And above all – learned to wake up at the crack of dawn and be ready to deliver
On a lighter side:
Traffic signals are no longer boring. While I wait around at a signal, I see myself identifying potential speech topics… in fact most of my past speech topics, be it on self-driving cars, making coffee great again, zero-waste life, or facing your fear can be dedicated to a traffic signal in Wellington.
Evaluation has become my second nature. While listening to someone at work, I often see myself jump into evaluation mode:
Ah, Tim is using gestures well
She’s moving around and using the space well
She could add some structure to this.
Nice vocal variety there
So much so, that one day I ended up accidentally mentioning to my boss, I liked your speech today, I noticed you used voice modulation & had tremendous energy. Well, he didn’t ask for it 🙂 Of course, he was happy to know.
That’s a playback of my life before & after joining Toastmasters, and as you can see life has definitely taken a positive turn in the speaking department which I call the Toastmaster Effect.