A few years ago, my company started at Toastmasers club in our retirement community for any staff member who wanted to participate. As the activities director in the community, I am one of the people who is regularly on stage introducing programs and talking in front of groups of residents. I thought, why do I need to join this program? Well, the answer was not far from the surface, once I took a good look at myself. “Because, I can be better!”
If you are like me, it is not a problem to introduce a speaker, entertainer, or to speak to “my” residents… or even to a group of fellow staff members. I use to be fearful when my boss was in the audience, but that is not the case anymore. When I asked myself the question, “Why join Toastmasters?” I realized that I am not be comfortable in other settings except the one inside my community’s four walls. I also felt that I had another weakness that could be reduced from joining the group, and that was to be sociable in situations where I was not the leader.
Toastmasters has a section of their meetings where members are asked to speak on their feet, called Table Topics. I found that this section of the meeting to be very helpful to me, because there are many times when I feel that unless I speak to the residents about a recent activity, their health, family or community issues, that I am uncomfortable in carrying on a worthwhile conversation. And of course, in a social setting outside of work, it is the same thing.
As you start the new year, I ask you, how can you step your game up? Have you taken a look at yourself honestly and found an area where you are uncomfortable or possibly even afraid? Those are areas within you that you can address this year! I’m sure you are great already – but in 2013, you can be better! For me, I will continue to work on my public speaking and one-one exchanges, along with other things. What will it be for you?
Joining the ToastMasters club at work has been an awesome opportunity for my personal and professional growth. Here are some free resources from ToastMasters that I found on-line. Also, take a look into the Resources for Activities Directors tab at the top of my blog for some books on becoming a better speaker, which are available through Amazon.
Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic. - Unknown