Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Being a Toastmaster...

For all those new to the word “Toastmaster” before you start assuming anything by figuring out the literal meaning of the word let me tell you what it actually is. “Toastmasters” is an internationally renowned club that helps you improve your general communication (English) and leadership skills. Toastmasters is a unique club and members of the club world over, take great pride in proclaiming the fact that it is not just a normal club but a real stage where one can make mistakes and learn from it and become better with the wisdom gained. 

I have been involved with the Toastmasters through a designated club at my office. The club at Logica has moulded me, taught me and improved me at various levels through the last 15+ months. Sometimes you learn more without your knowledge and that wisdom goes deep inside you. I have felt the change. The way I stand in front of an audience, the way I speak with my body, the way I communicate professionally, the way I look at people and judge them have all vastly improved. Many a times a failure on stage, in front of many people hurts you. It de-motivates you and sends you into a shell. That is precisely what you learn to deal with positively at the TM club.

One may eventually ask is there anything on offer to the already proficient speakers of English and the answer to that question is a big YES. It does not matter how proficient one is in communicating with the world, there always is something to learn at the TM. Some experiences are best experienced than told. Being a toastmaster is one such. From a personal standpoint I have lost count of the number of lessons I have learnt over the past year and a half. At the TM club you can speak on topics of your choosing, anything under the sun to use the term. But the difference here is that there is a structure, a syllabus (yes you heard it right) we call it projects.

The meetings happen once a week and in each meeting you learn to mould your thoughts and structure them on a preset pattern and deliver them in the best way possible. With experience the difficulty levels increase. Every speaker would understand the beauty of this concept; increasing standards and challenges always leave your mouth watering. The very smell of challenge can be tempting. 

The best part of TM though is the way one is judged and evaluated. We do not judge the speakers through new people or highly expert judges but the evaluation is by friends, colleagues and fellow Toastmasters. Effectively it means that you are judged by people who know what it is to be standing where you are as a speaker and delivering. Life at the TM clubs is so wonderful. You get respect, applause, encouragement and at the same time you learn so many valuable lessons on how to be a better all rounder.  We know the world today revolves around leaders and in equipping yourself to face the world the TM will play a HUGE role.

At Logica the TM club has reached a landmark occasion. Tomorrow will be the 75th meeting of the club and somewhere deep inside me there is a tremendous feeling. I attended the Logica TM club first when the club was into its 2nd meeting and now today I am so glad we have made it to 75. To all of us who are associated with the club this 75 is more than just a number, it means 75 weeks of our journey towards excellence. To all the Logica TM members, all the best and Kudos. Take a bow folks. You deserve it!

To all the others who are not yet into TM, peek out guys. Check out at your offices, your divisions, Google for the TM club near you. Become a Toastmaster and trust me you will change into someone you have always dreamt of becoming…