How to be a successful Toastmaster?
A copy of the article which got published in Chennai Speakers Forum & TCS Maitree Orators Toastmasters Club Newsletters.
It was the year 2010, I was serving as the President of Chennai Toastmasters Club. A guest in his mid-20s approached me at the end of the meeting and asked, “Sir! I’m completely impressed by the meeting. Can I complete the entire course in just 1 year? I’m very busy with lot of other activities and I want to complete this course soon”.
He is not an exception. Very recently, I was approached by a young toastmaster who said “Sir! I am doing my under graduation now and I have lots of spare time. I want to complete my DTM in the next two years”.
I have seen several toastmasters who want to complete their speaking projects and leadership assignments, soon. Public Speaking and Leadership are skills that are developed by practicing, participating and performing. There are absolutely NO SHORTCUTS. If there is one magic pill that you can swallow before going to the bed and wake up as a competent speaker the next day morning, everybody will be a competent speaker today.
(Also read: Keeping the Commitment)
So, how can you get the maximum out of the toastmasters program? The fullest benefit of toastmasters program can be achieved only when you follow the 3Rs:
Being regular is the most important trait of a successful toastmaster. What happens to an athlete, when he/she doesn’t exercise regularly; when he/she doesn’t attend practice sessions regularly? Mastering the art of public speaking is very similar to sports – it requires regular practice. What better platform can you get to regularly practice your skills than a toastmasters club?
· Regularly attend club meetings
· Regularly take a diverse set of roles in the club meeting
· Regularly deliver speeches in your club and in other clubs
· Regularly participate in contests and benchmark your performance
· Regularly take leadership roles in your club and outside your clubs
Performing adequate research is important for any assignment that you do – not just in toastmasters. Charles E. Jones, a famous author said "Five years from now you'll be the same person you are today except for the books you read and the people you meet”. It is very true. As a toastmaster, we need to develop habits of reading books, reading newspapers, attending educational programs, participating in contests and continuously learning new things by research. Research helps us to discover new ways of doing things, it helps us to constantly innovate and discover a BETTER YOU!
(Also read: CC Project 7 - Research your topic)
Our District 82 Champions TM Alexandar Babu, and TM Guruprasad delivered a 7 minutes humorous speech to win the prestigious 1st and 3rd positions respectively in the district conference, Reverberations 2012. Can you imagine how many times they would’ve rehearsed before their most memorable performance at the District? They rehearsed at least a 50 times for months together, before their final performance at the district. If great champions have to rehearse for at least 50 times before their performance, how many times should we rehearse before giving our speech at the club? A successful toastmaster, rehearses multiple times before they do any performance in toastmasters.
Let us take the following resolution to become a successful communicator and a leader.
I’m a toastmaster…
I participate in meetings, but don’t precipitate
I’m always prepared, so I’m not afraid
I help others to perform, so that their skills can reform
I give everyone a pat, that’s the best way to get them to act
I’m a toastmaster …
I remain positive, even if my blood group is negative
I treat everyone fair, they being a guest or a DTM doesn’t matter
I’m ready to serve the club, because my heart says so with every single lub-tub
I’ll follow the rules, as it helps the club to reach its goals.
I’m a toastmaster!!!