And so my Toastmasters Journey Begins!

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Timi Zvara

To start a New Year means New Year’s resolutions. You identify what you want to achieve and then you start to work on it.

When I decided to commence gym classes last year, I had a buddy to go with. Having a buddy helps me a lot, as it encourages me to stay committed. We meet before the class and go to the venue together, and I turn up as my buddy expects me to do so.

This year however, I decided to focus on a different goal, which was  to develop my communication and presentation skills. I felt I needed it for several different reasons. First of all, English is my second language therefore I believe there is  always room for improvement. Secondly, the more senior roles I take on at work, the more I need to present, negotiate and speak in public. Thirdly, I realised that it is an ability that can be learnt and with practice, can be significantly improved.

During my search for opportunities that could assist with my journey to become a better public speaker, I found WiBF Speakers – City Club. The Club gives me a structured way to practice prepared and impromptu speeches, and feedback on each speech is provided in the form of evaluations which supports my progress. I also have lots of ‘buddies’ to motivate me during this journey which is very encouraging. Simply put, it meets all my requirements!

I am committed to completing ten speeches this year and show continuous progress using my evaluations and wider feedback from the club. So far, I have delivered my ‘Icebreaker’ speech (speech #1 in the Competent Communicator manual) and it was too long. Upon reflection and through listening to my evaluation, I provided far too much detail, I didn’t make eye contact with the entire audience, and I was not able to stand firm on the stage. My goal was to not look at my notes, but I did this twice.

By the time I delivered my second speech however, I made considerable progress. To begin with, I completed my speech within the time limit, I stood firmly on the stage and made eye contact with more people, and I didn’t use my notes at all! What progress?! I was very pleased with how I delivered my second speech, and at the same time recognise that I need to speak more concisely, make more eye contact and use the whole stage.

My third speech will focus on addressing my weaknesses, and to do this I will review feedback from my previous speeches, to ensure that I show consistent improvement after each speech I deliver.

It is still a long journey ahead of me to reach my goals, but with the help of my buddies I know I can make it!

By Timi Zvara.

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