How did my Toastmasters journey start? One of my first days at TrueNorth, where I work as a Benefits Advisor, a lady came up to me and said, “since you are in sales, you will really benefit from coming to these meetings, each Monday, that will enhance your communication skills.” I soon learned that lady, Jeanne Guynn, was on the path to soon become District Director in Iowa (2017-2018), and I was starting my Toastmasters journey.
Toastmasters has certainly enhanced my communication skills. I contribute much of my success in my last two “Pull-ups for Tanzania” fundraisers to my ability to tell a powerful story. With the idea to “do something crazy”, I decided to do 1,000 pull-ups in one day to raise money and awareness for clean water in Tanzania. Last year, my team and I collectively did 25,000 pull-ups. The common thread? Both ideas had a powerful storyline that created an opportunity to capture people’s attention. That is a skill I have learned in Toastmasters.
Four years later, with much coaching from Jeanne and others, I placed in the Regional Quarterfinals of the International Speech Contest in 2019. I love competing. It is fun to compete but it is even better having the opportunity to develop new relationships.
What else would you like to add?
Everyone has a story to tell. Sometimes I feel like we wait on society or news media to deem a person as “successful” or “famous” before wanting to hear their story, but everyone deserves to tell their stories. That is what I love about Toastmasters. Any person in the club, whether a club officer or a newcomer, have the same exact platform to tell their story.
One other area I’d like to focus on is the value of constructive criticism. Who has been a part of a team or company where you have noticed a lack of healthy debate? (Hand raised). Toastmasters has tremendously improved my skill of being able to both “give” and “take” constructive criticism. I believe that is a difference maker in our world today.
Two things. First, I am excited to virtually watch the 2020 International Speech Contest at the end of August! Second, one day in November, my goal is to coordinate 50,000 pull-ups and raise $50,000 for clean water projects. Shoot me an email if you are interested in learning how you can join us in making a difference!