Toastmasters International not only eggs you on to speak but also gives you confidence to face people
How many of us can come in front of an audience and speak on a topic on the spot? When was the last time you voiced your opinion in a meeting, without the fear of being ridiculed? Trishma Pinto, a member of Toastmasters International quips, “In such circumstances, we often run out of good ideas and words, resulting in embarrassment. Almost all of us develop cold feet when asked to speak in front of a crowd. It also happens occasionally in a one- to-one conversation.”
“At Toastmasters, one has the freedom to introspect. You have the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them, which gives people the confidence to improve their performance, each time they make a speech or presentation.”
A Toastmasters club meeting consists of three parts — prepared speeches, evaluation, and table topics. “Prepared speeches provide an opportunity for members to research and present topics. The Table Topics session requires the speaker to speak impromptu on a particular topic.
The comprehensive ‘Communication and Leadership Programme’ makes the art of speaking and listening more enjoyable. It does not comprise traditional classroom learning methods, but envisages and puts into practice an area where each member learns by observing the other and offering constructive feedback.
Sakina B.M., a fellow Toastmaster says, “The journey of two years in Toastmasters has been very enriching. I still remember the first time I attended a meeting of the Mangalore Amateur Speakers Club. Speaking before a small bunch of people was a frightening thought. With Toastmasters, we are reinventing ourselves with new skills.”
Trishma Pinto is the president of St. Agnes College and attributes her success in the presidential elections to her participation in the Toastmasters programme. Though she had been active in public speaking and compeering in school, it was here that she honed her communication skills. “Toastmasters is not about public speaking only; it involves integrated learning. You learn by participating. During a meeting, you will have different roles to play such as speaker, evaluator, grammarian, timer etc. It provides scope for continuous learning.”
The Educational Programme encompasses a two-pronged approach. The club organises various activities addressing social concerns such as water conservation, global warming etc. Delia Reynal D’ Souza says, “I have grown as an individual — from being a shy teenager to a confident person. I no longer shirk responsibilities, and take up every challenge as a new learning experience. Every moment at Toastmasters was challenging journey.”
The Toastmasters International has a foothold over four clubs in the city — Winner’s Club, Mangalore Toastmasters, Evening Club and INFYnity (Infosys Toastmasters). The president of Mangalore Toastmasters, Anita Cordeiro says the heads of the different clubs co-ordinate and organise various activities like speech contests and conferences.