I started my toastmaster journey in June 2014 when I delivered my ice-breaking speech. Standing next to the lectern, I couldn’t imagine how Toastmasters club would transform my life in less that two years. Today I would like to share my experience with the readers of this amazing blog (thanks PR team for this initiative!)
I moved to Astana in October 2013. Desperate for new friends, I started to explore new opportunities which Astana offered to me. That’s how I came across ATC. I visited ATC on 8th of February 2014, but found courage to deliver my first speech only 4 months later!
Today I am a proud ACS and CL which stands for advanced communication silver and competent leadership respectively. It means that I delivered 30 speeches and completed 10 leadership projects.
My journey to ACS
The first ten speeches made me extremely excited (from CC manual¹)! I am a bookworm and love to share with friends what I learnt from books I had read. Usually, my audience consists of my dear husband, my close friends and social media followers. And now I discovered that I could share exciting things with new people who are eager to hear me! yay! )) Most speeches from CC manual were devoted to some book. For example, CC#2 – Defining decade, CC#3 – Food rules, CC#4 – Brain rules, CC#8 – The Honest Truth about Dishonesty, in CC#9 I used facts from John Maxwell’s book on leadership, in CC#10 – from Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping point.
I love reading so I never run out of ideas for my speeches
As for advanced manuals, I chose the following:
– Entertaining speaker – because some people at ATC said that my serious speeches sometimes made them cry and I wanted to learn new public speaking techniques
– Storytelling – one of the most interesting manuals to prepare and to listen to
– Technical presentations – very useful for work
– Speeches by management – I am being a career girl, couldn’t resist the temptation 😉
Right now I am working on Interpretive reading and Speaking to inform manuals.
Upon completion of these two manuals, I will receive advanced communication gold award. That will be le fin of my communication track.
From all 35+ speeches I performed my last one from CC is the most valuable for me. Title was Joy Thief and the speech supposed to inspire the audience to stop comparing their lives with the lives of others as this comparison steals all the joy and happiness.
How I prepare to my speeches
On average I deliver 2 projects per month (current ATC rules do not allow to perform more). The hardest part is topic selection, then I just prepare PPT if necessary and rehearse several times. I never write scripts (actually I did it only twice – with my ice breaking speech and with CC#10 because I was a contest participant and my team shared texts to get opinion from each other). Probably, some find writing a script a useful and important part of preparation but it never worked for me. On the other hand, during rehearsal I polish structure, think out new arguments and ideas. It also makes a big difference when it comes to time management.
My journey to CL
At first I found it useless – indeed, how one could become a better leader by being a general evaluator, let alone, an ah-counter??
But then I decided to give it a try. It turned out that my three most exciting projects started as a part of CL!
First, I was an editor-in-chief of August newsletter³. Totally new experience for me. I appreciate that I learnt new skills (like inserting a video clip into a microsoft word doc!)
Second, the whole new Samruk-Kazyna toastmasters club* was born due to a leadership project of a Membership campaign!
Third, I was honored to organise speech contest which became one of the brightest meetings of 2015 year. Everyone got some prize and most importantly everyone was cheered up by this blissful event. I even received a certificate for organising the best speech contest of the year!
Understanding the importance of CL was the hardest part, everything else was easy! I highly encourage fellow toastmasters not to underestimate this first ten leadership project. After all, Toastmasters is all about leadership!Some people think that ATC is a bunch of nerds. Well, I definitely am and never ashamed to admit it)) Mind you we have normal people around us, though nerdic type prevails – how else would you explain that the most visited social event is Что?Где?Когда? )))
You definitely need to be part of our big Toastmasters family! 😉