This is not a particularly great picture of me but last night, I was thrilled to receive my Advanced Communicator Gold certificate during our Toastmaster meeting. This was one of my goals – to complete forty speeches.
It’s been almost three years of the Toastmaster experience for me.
I didn’t have any idea of what I was getting myself into when I walked into my first Toastmaster meeting. What I do remember is that I was warmly greeted by a number of members and before I knew it, I was asked to participate in Table Topics. The topic for the evening was “favourite author” and I was so nervous about standing up and speaking, I started talking about Beatrix Potter — and it’s her illustrations I love, not her writing!
Three years of weekly meetings, four terms of executive responsibility, speech competitions, mentoring many new members and building strong friendships — now I look back and reflect on my Toastmaster experience.
It’s been good. Really good.
It’s the details that I’ve particularly enjoyed – learning all the little nuances of public speaking and leadership.
Certainly a highlight for me has been the mentoring opportunities because I love coming alongside women, helping them set challenging, personal goals and encouraging them to soar.
I’ve heard many gifted speakers and I’ve thrived on evaluating new members’ first speech – the infamous Icebreaker.
Our Toastmaster club has provided so many unique opportunities to be sensitive to others’ needs, to write, practice and present “out of the box” speeches and to meet people whom I would not otherwise meet, given that I travel forty minutes to the meeting location.
Toastmasters has been an adventure – challenging, rewarding, productive, memorable.
I love what Shawna Grapentin says about adventure.
“An adventurous life does not necessarily mean climbing mountains, swimming with sharks or jumping off cliffs. It means risking yourself by leaving a little piece of you behind in all those you meet along the way.”
Yup. Looking at life this way, Toastmasters has definitely been an adventure and I am thankful for the gift of wonderful people I have met along this journey. I have been inspired, stretched, challenged, loved and encouraged – and I hope I have left a little piece of me in others’ lives.