Hi everyone, I attended Chandigarh toastmasters (TM) club meet yesterday as a guest. I was really impressed by some of the speakers and not so impressed by some of them! To my pleasant surprise I was chosen to speak on a table topic and I am so glad that it happened as it save me around Rs 3500 and a lot of agony and pain in future!
Actually while speaking on the given topic I became aware about what I knew already – WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A GOOD COMMUNICATOR. And its NOT fluency! One of the most important thing to be a good communicator is clarity of thoughts. Now clarity of thoughts come from reading, writing and sharing/discussing, then more reading, more writing and more discussing and then doing it more and more (I want to write more and more a hundred times :-). So toastmaster may help you ONLY IF you have got this basic thing – clarity of thoughts and a lot of things to speak about i.e. knowledge.
In Toastmasters the language for communication is English which is very obvious as the group started in west. So people like me who don’t have English as their first language (and are really poor at English :-), toastmasters is not really the place to be! Why would you want to stand there for 5 minutes per week with your EMPTY HEAD and only say umh, aaaa (By the way standing silently in front of a large audience for 5 minutes can very therapeutic..But you don’t need to pay for it in country of 1.2 billion people :-)..
Some of us just fall for it by listening to some good speakers in TM without realizing that why they are good speakers! I would rather go and work as a volunteer for any NGO on every saturday and talk to people there only in English and improve on my communication in English. Also It would be better if I buy books worth Rs 3500 and then spend 1800 on books every six months (these are toastmasters fees) so that I read more and more. Also start my own blog and do such more meaningful things for me rather than just join the herd mentality!
P.S. Do go to toastmasters a few times as guests to get adrenaline rush and also to learn time management skills. These guys had their eye on the watch through out the meeting!! Even though i didn’t do well in my table topic speech, I was really surprised to see how accepting i was of myself as a human being and how easily i was able to concentrate on the NOW in next moment!