Improving my evaluation skills, that is my reason for joining Toastmasters in April 2008. Being a single parent of three young, hopeful, adventurous, and determined children, I felt the most pressing need was to be able to give them informed, effective, and compassionate evaluation of their ideas and plans of action, as well as helpful feedback on the results of their endeavours. I wanted them to be more realistic in their expectation and self-criticism, so they could always approach future goals with enthusiasm, not beat themselves up about past setbacks, and to be armed with useful recommendations for improvement of effort.
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Toastmasters' is truly the safest place, not just to gain and exercise these skills, but to experiment with new ways of handling issues, and new ways of presenting information that may better suite the topic or audience. Everyone in Toastmasters wants each other to succeed, and our ability to support one another in those efforts improves with every meeting we attend.
vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv vvvvv Joanna C.
Now that I have more confidence in putting my thoughts, not just into words, but to organize them in ways that other people can follow with ease, I am eager to participate in meetings, and conversations. In the past, I had resigned myself to be a bystander, a wall-flower, even when I disagreed, or had an idea I thought might be helpful, or funny. More comfortable using a wider range of vocabulary, as well, some words I was familiar with already, but did not use myself, I was not even aware I had been limiting my vocabulary. Not any more, thanks to the Toastmasters' Table Topics and Word-of-the-Day initiatives.
vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv TT. Catherine
Once familiar with Toastmasters' programs, I became hopeful about building the other skills I lack. Toastmasters' clear paths of progress in a number of self-directed areas have made what, for decades, seemed an indefinable, overwhelming impossibility, not just possible, but even fun, with peer-to-peer help and encouragement.
The formality of meetings took some getting used to, but once comfortable with them I went out a limb, and became part of the club executive. Both these ongoing experiences have made it possible for me to expand, little by little, on my knowledge of parliamentary procedure. Being able to recognize when and how it can be used is not just a powerful tool, it allows me to remain focused on the issue at hand, not distracted by how to proceed. This knowledge has helped me encourage my children to actively contribute in school, social, and community clubs and events.
Some people race can through the programs very well, but I want to take my time and get the most out of each project. A believer in life-long learning, I plan to continue to build on my communication and leadership skills through participation in Toastmasters.