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Into the Hearts & Minds of Toastmasters

Last Sunday, sitting around at different locations around the Main River, I finished reading the Toastmasters’ May 2016 magazine from front cover to back cover, and if I recall it correctly, it is the only time in my life that I have digested a whole magazine.

This May 2016 issue was the first magazine that I had received since joining Toastmasters and I received the June edition about 10 days ago. So before I delve into the second magazine, I would like to share my take-aways from the first one while the impressions are still fresh in my mind and heart.

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In going about sharing the highlights of the content, I would like to present you the parts that stiked the strongest chords with me. The first one was found on the welcome page within the words of the International President Jim Kokocki, a Distinguished Toastmaster. By quoting the Toastmasters founder Mr.Smedley, Mr.Kokocki wrote “the name Toastmasters Club offers a suggestion of a pleasant, social atmosphere, free from anything like work or study.” Also he added, “Toastmasters are optimistic, enthuasistic people working on their personal development and taking an interest in the self-development of those around them.”  And as an enthuasistic Toastmaster I proudly say that both highlights have been true in my club environment!   

Moving on, on page 7, there were 5 Tips for a Successful Presentation and the points 3 and 4 were interesting to me. Point 3 was “What’s In It For Me?” And here is the suggestion word for word: “Have your antenna up for WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). Tune in to what is important to your audience. Go into your presentation thinking, It’s not about me; it’s about the needs of the audience, and you will be focused and confident when speaking.” And I say, “Good to know!”

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Point 4 was “Questions are Opportunities”. This point was interesting to me because in our club environment, following prepared or impromptu speeches, there hasn’t been a time allocated for Q&A section. So when this section suggested “Look forward to questions during your presentation–they are the bridge to closing the deal”, I wondered if my club was missing something…

The next chord-striking tips were in “The Essence of Great Leadership” and there were 3 principles of more human leadership that I liked very much and they are the followings:

  • Establishing a mantra of key values–it’s the glue that holds all of us together.
  • Fighting complacency and the naysayers–Inertia is a momentum killer. So are those still desire the old ways.
  • Connecting it all to a higher purpose–Humans want to be part of a meaningful cause that’s bigger than themselves.

The reason that these principles striked chord must be to do with the fact that I have just stepped up to the leadership team, hence I need “reminders” for myself and my new team.

Turning the pages, there were many stories of current and past Toastmasters and I got a lesson from almost every one of them. The lesson I took away from Pauline A.Blachford, Competent Communicator, was, in her own words, “the key to giving a compelling presentation was to trust my material. I have the knowledge, experience and research findings to support my strategies. When I focus on the importance of the information I am providing–instead of how I am performing or how I am being perceived by the audience–my conviction shines through and my presentations are more convincing.”

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And there were many great stories about storytelling and below one titled “Storytellers who motivate” was my topmost favourite and I would like to copy the section word for word:

“Storytelling has changed my business and my life,” says Las Vegas hotel mogul Steve Wynn. Wynn believes that storytelling taps into the strongest force in the universe–self-esteem. For example, at the beginning of every shift at Wynn hotels, a supervisor asks, “Does anyone have a story about a great customer experience they’d like to share?” The stories serve to educate the rest of the team on model behaviors. More importantly, stories motivate employees because customer service heroes are recognized by their peers. Pretty soon employees compete for better stories. Recognition is a powerful motivator.” —and this lesson was my biggest take-away from the magazine! 

The last, but not the least interesting section of the magazine was the Technology part, where they shared the trends and products showcased at the Presentation Summit. And me having the hobby of designing PowerPoint slides, I thoroughly enjoyed this section. My favourite trend was that “today more presenters graphics-thumbs-220297give audiences access to their slides in the form of scrolling presentations. Speakers simply send out a link to their websites, where attendees can view the presentation by scrolling through it.” –Awesome, isn’t it?

And my favourite product is GoReact (www.goreact.com) and to quote the magazine, “This cloud-based application enables feedback, coaching and critique of videos of speeches and slide-based presentations. Recordings can be made on virtually any equipment, and coaching and feedback can be offered from anywhere with Internet access.” And the section also says that there is a recorder app of this application, which you can download from the App store. Cool isn’t it?

So this was my one-magazine-journey to get into the hearts and minds of Toastmasters around the world, and now I look forward to reading the June 2016 edition.

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Feel good! 

Bella

 

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