My Amazing Toastmasters Experience - by Sharon Jenkins
I originally joined Toastmasters so I could communicate effectively with everyone in a work environment. Little did I realize how much MORE I would learn from the program. It has helped me in personal relationships and Toastmasters. By being a secretary at Toastmasters, I improved my listening skills and how to read in front of a group. I never realized how daunting this could be until I started reading aloud to many people! I improved my handshake! I can oversee a meeting - whether it's impromptu or not. I'm able to achieve this because I have learned how to use Robert's Rules of Order and adjust it accordingly to the meeting structure I'm in.
I can present logically and have learned how to use gestures and vocal variety to support my topic. Eye contact - how powerful a tool and it's such a small thing to do but it strengthens my message! Who would have thought that pausing in a speech could add strength and enlightenment to a topic!!! Pauses make a humorous moment even more effective.
My listening skills continue to improve because I need this ability to gently evaluate speakers and encourage them to go forward when they're worried they can't. I can and do take this skill when handling personal situations and it helps. It allows me to maintain relationships in a positive manner. It's similar to being a cheerleader and it starts with listening.
On a personal note, I've had the honour of being the Master of Ceremonies at my niece's wedding and a good friend's wedding. These two events were extremely joyous. On another note, I was humbled when I was asked to speak on behalf of a family at two funerals. This was difficult to do, but with my Toastmaster skills, I was able to present the essence of the person to family and friends. I was able to keep my composure and relay the stories family members had provided me with.
This is what Toastmasters has helped me with. I encourage and invite you to join us for a meeting. Come and visit and see what you can learn from this supportive, friendly environment!
First Oakville Toastmasters President