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What do we gain from effective communication?

The quality of our life is determined by the way we communicate with others. What we get from life is also determined by how we communicate with others. That is what I have learned from my five years of consistent personal development.

Those who are blunt with their communication rarely get what they want because I was blunt too, until I learned to communicate differently.

My relationships with my three sons, parents, friends and others improved dramatically when I adopted a more effective way of communication.  I have been getting more of what I want nowadays from my brilliant and effective communication skills.

I had a strong vision to become a public speaker whilst recovering from the sudden lose of my big brother. I read about joining Toastmasters to realise my dream that I had written down as my long term goal at the beginning of this year.

I was very fortunate to have found Toastmasters after reading “Make a Great Speech” by Jackie Arnold. I picked up the title from visiting the huge book store named Foyles in London with my sweetheart back in November 2015.

I attended a number of Toastmasters meetings on a weekly basis at the beginning of January.  I finally decided to join The Clyde Communicators Club at the end of February which was set up in January. I knew that joining a new club would be more beneficial for me as I could relate to our new members more compared to the other more established club which I had attended. The more established club had many advanced speakers whom I could not relate to and that meant I was unable to build a connection with them.

I quickly settled into my Toastmasters club and felt I had found my niche after losing a huge part of myself after losing my dearest big brother who was my one and only lifetime companion. I took on weekly roles to help run the club smoothly and I learned many new skills within our club and found my self confidence on stage.

I loved the educational system that Toastmasters has in place to help and support their members to make slow yet great progress as they work through their two workbooks when they join as members. Members work at their own pace and they have the support of a mentor within the club who is there for them from the beginning.

We are sent regular updates about our club’s meetings via emails and this is a great way to stay in touch. We are also sent a monthly magazine to keep us up to date with what is happening at Toastmasters worldwide.

I attended our area speech contest back in April and picked up many valuable skills for delivering the best speech ever. We have national and international speech contests that we could attend too. I am seriously considering attending the November one in Ireland to continue learning and meet new people who have similar goals as me.

I took the opportunity of delivering my first prepared speech in March,  when a club member was unable to deliver their speech due to unexpected circumstances.  I had only one day to prepare for my speech yet that was no problem for me. I knew what I wanted to talk about and what to include into my speech. The speech has an allocated time of seven minutes and it was my first experience ever of having a group of people paying full attention at what I was about to share with them.

I was fortunate to have gained many valuable skills during my personal development that helped me to be confident on stage and I received great positive and encouraging feedback from all the members who fills in a evaluation form. This allows us to see what we did well during our speech and what we could do to improve.

For my second prepared speech, I worked on it for three months as I wanted to put more effort into it. I found it rather difficult to talk about the important things in my speech and what to leave out. I also needed to organise my speech which was my project objective that we follow from our Competent Communication Manual.

Three months of planning, preparing and practicing yet only seven minutes of allocated time to deliver our speech. There is a Chinese saying that goes something like this “one minute on stage, ten years off it”. I realised what it meant after I delivered my second prepared speech last Tuesday evening.

There are loads to remember whilst delivering a speech and our nerves can and does get the better of us when we are not aware of how to handle them constructively.

I felt rather calm and collected as I was about to deliver my first prepared speech back in March. However, I was feeling so nervous as I was walking to our meeting last Tuesday evening. I used affirmations to calm my nerves. I also used deep breathing to gather my thoughts.

I missed out on a few sentences that I had practiced at home for over a month yet it was not important because I felt I had achieved my objective from our manual. As it was my second speech, I was willing to forgive myself for the tiny mistakes and errors. I am still a baby learning to walk on the stage at Toastmasters. Being too harsh on myself would only have a negative impact on my future speeches.

I thoroughly enjoyed being on stage for the time I took to deliver my speech which was just over six minutes.

I had inspired my audience with my speech and I felt so proud of my huge achievement!

Every member who delivers a prepared speech gets their feedback from the person who evaluated their speech on the evening. The evaluator fills in a section of our Competent Communication manual in relation to the speech project. There are ten speech projects for members to work through and when we complete all ten projects, we are presented with a special name badge.

The exact same happens when we take on roles within our meetings to help run the evening smoothly. Our leadership skills develops from taking on different roles to help our Toastmaster of the evening get the meetings off the ground.

Everything we do at Toastmasters is evaluated and this helps us to improve and become a better Toastmaster.

We learn by doing and the only way to know how well we are doing is by receiving feedback from our fellow club members.

My third prepared speech is scheduled for the beginning of August and I entered into our Humourous Speech Contest which takes place at the beginning of September. There are lots of planning, preparing and practicing to get on with and that excites me!

Our club was chartered and we had a celebration dinner this month with our members to celebrate our success. The first twenty members who joined received their Charter certificate and I was fortunate to receive mine!

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I am excited about my future at Toastmasters as I am learning so much and making consistent progress. I have been so blessed to have found such a supportive club to help me realise my long term goal!

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