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Cheers to Us – March 9, 2016

by on March 10, 2016

Systematic Approach

It was September 2001 and I was just starting a new business providing leadership and sales training for corporate clients.  I had just completed a workshop and the participants had completed the evaluation forms that seem to be standard after workshops.  As I read through the feedback, I realized that there wasn’t a single thing in any of them that would help me improve my presentation skills.    I needed something more.

Years before, I had heard about Toastmasters and I decided to check it out. I remember my first meeting like it was yesterday.  The friendly reception by members around me, the inclusive nature of being invited to introduce myself and take part in Table Topics.  I was sold.  If you had a similar experience in your first meeting,  then you know what I mean when I say that I knew Toastmasters could help me take my presentation skills to the next level.  I joined right away to start that journey.

I discovered a well-thought-out, systematic approach to developing my presentation skills and I found that my people skills were getting honed as well:  listening skills, critical analysis, providing feedback and meeting organization were all enhanced just by taking an active part in meetings.

You may also understand what I mean when I add that I knew I would never get anything out of this systematic approach to self development if I didn’t stay actively involved in it.  Just knowing it existed wasn’t enough.

Over the past 15 years, I have seen people come and go in Toastmasters.  Some left because they had achieved what they set out to do, some moved away or had the priorities in their life shift but most . . . . just faded away.  It sneaks up on you.  You miss a meeting or two and before you know it your life has sucked up that hour or so a week you had set aside for self improvement and suddenly (it seems) there isn’t time for it.

In over 35 years that I have been involved in one way or another with self improvement programs,  I haven’t seen another with all of the elements this one has.  That systematic approach is just the start,  mutual support and encouragement is strong as well and the opportunity to practice your skills with an encouraging and supportive audience takes this to the next level.

If you are someone who has let the busy-ness of the world steal Toastmasters from you, don’t let it happen!  Go to Easyspeak, if you have been assigned a role, confirm you will be there.  If you have no role yet, take a vacant one. Come to next week’s meeting and do yourself the good that you intend!

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