Today, I want to share with you Toastmasters’ treasure vault. I have been a Toastmaster for more than five years. Why that long? Because I have been benefiting from it in ways I never would have imagined.
It is for this reason that I liken Toastmasters to a treasure vault and that joining Toastmasters is like having an access to that treasure vault. Toastmasters is where you can find gems of communication and leadership. It is a treasure vault where you can find the fundamentals of public speaking and leading. It is a treasure vault where you can extract knowledge and skills that you can apply not only in Toastmasters but in your respective jobs and causes in the community.
But just like other treasures, there are a lot of misconceptions about Toastmasters. These thoughts are hindering people from accessing the treasure vault of Toastmasters. These thoughts are not entirely false but they are not entirely true either.
As a Toastmaster who have benefited from this treasure vault, I would like to share with you an access to it. But before anything, it is important that I dispel the three misconceptions about Toastmasters.
First, Toastmasters is not where people learn how to toast.
I have met people who think that people learn how to toast in Toastmasters. And they mean toasting a bread or giving a toast and wines are served. But no, we don’t do that in club meetings. Go ahead and laugh but people really thought Toastmasters as that. I know, I was one of them!
As to giving a toast, that is just small part of the very big program. Since giving a toast is a form of a speech, we learn about it but there are a lot of speeches we learn: informative, persuasive, inspirational, technical, management, entertaining, public relations, speaking on TV and many others that are applicable in different fields.
Second, Toastmasters is not only for the elite and eloquent.
I first thought that only those who are very good speakers that will be admitted in Toastmasters. But I was wrong. I have met different kinds of speakers of different levels. I have met people who are really good, some who are good, and others who, just like me, are starting to learn the basics.
Toastmasters is a learning environment and if there are elite and eloquent, it is because they have benefited from the program. If you are advanced in communication skills, you can join and even level it up. If you are a beginner, you can join and advance. If you are a pre-beginner, you can join and begin your learning journey.
Toastmasters is a place where people learn communication and leadership skills – in a safe and friendly environment – not by merely listening to lectures but by actually delivering speeches, taking on leadership roles and receiving constructive feedback.
Third, Toastmasters is not only for the outspoken extroverts.
I thought that Toastmasters only favour those who are outspoken and with extroverted personality. I was wrong. The truth is people of different personalities can benefit from Toastmasters. I, myself, am an introvert who simply learned to speak up as necessary, to be sociable as appropriate, and to be outspoken as required.
Sometimes we fall into the prison of personality spectrums. At times, we confuse shyness and introversion which are two different things. (Read about Susan Cain and her book Quiet.) We think we are only good in technical things and cannot develop our soft skills. We forget that communication and leadership skills are necessary across fields. And these skills can be learned – one tenet at a time.
Years ago, I had limited my access to Toastmasters’ treasure vault. Only when I realized I was wrong that I was able to gain access to this treasure vault that offered a gargantuan wealth of learning materials, opportunities and mentors in the form of magazines, manuals, club meetings, conferences, speech contests, professional speakers and leaders that have helped me grow and enhance my skills.
In the past, I was poor in these skills – even just in terms of speaking to my colleagues, clients and college crushmates. But with the help of Toastmasters, I was able to connect and articulate with my big bosses, clients and colleagues, and to different audiences.
Today, I continue to learn. I continue to access Toastmasters’ treasure vault. If you want to level up your skills, you can join me in our club meetings at Pines City Toastmasters Club every 1st, 3rd, and 5th Friday (6:30PM) at McDonald’s Insular. Take a look at this treasure vault I am referring to. Yes, you’ve got to take a look. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or visit www.toastmasters.org.
(Chris Dao-anis, as an author and speaker, helps aspiring and young professionals become better communicators and leaders. His first book ‘The Gift of the Ordinary’ is available at Mt. Cloud Bookshop, Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Road, Baguio City and in Central Bookstores in Cebu and Metro Manila. For talks, seminars or speech coaching, email him at email@example.com. You can also help him publish his third book by pre-ordering your copy. Visit www.chrispoweracademy.com/livinglarge. Pre-orders until July 31 only)