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Sharing my Toastmaster’s journey

I joined Toastmasters (TMs) in January 2021 and have now completed my 2-year and 2-month journey in Presentation Mastery Pathway. Overall, I have delivered 18 speeches in our speaker’s club and 7 speeches outside of the club.

Why did I join TMs? Probably, just like most of the members, to gain confidence and effective communication skills in public, learn how to craft a speech, and also increase my listening skills. I had fun taking part in nearly all club roles. I enjoy evaluating speakers, impromptu speaking in Table Topics and even taking a Toastmaster for the day role. However, I did not enjoy much timekeeper and grammarian roles.

My first year in the club was passive, super slow progress as our meetings were only delivered online on Zoom due to the Pandemic, and to be honest I did not enjoy Zoom meetings as much as I do now in person. Why? My listening skills were bad at that time, and I did not pay attention to speeches online and there were some occasions I had my camera off in meetings as I was cooking, writing emails, or doing other things instead.

Then, after the lockdown was over, I attended meetings at Burlington hotel in Worthing and things started to go so much faster for me …I have taken various club roles and delivered speeches every month as I simply wanted to wake up from the passive mode and make the best out of my membership. My listening skills developed to the point that I now listen to all speeches and pay attention to others in meetings.

I also took a part in club competitions 3x times. Last year in Table Topics, and the year before in International Speech, and just recently in Evaluation. I did not win yet but it was a good experience. I have also tried various international online clubs in Las Vegas, USA – Sydney, Australia – Dublin, Ireland – Prague, Czech Republic, and Budapest, Hungary. The Las Vegas club I attended for a couple of months as I found it very helpful.

In our club, listening to the evaluation of other speakers was incredibly informative. I personally, enjoy receiving feedback/evaluation from club members after I deliver a speech and I keep all the received feedback slips. All the feedback I have received was suggestions of things to improve. So, I listened and hopefully improved them such as gestures, eye contact, pausing, speech structure, stronger opening, and conclusion…Impromptu speaking was something I was so fearful of, but no more now I actually like it now.

I have learned a lot from the online Pathways programme, there is some useful information that can help you not only with the speech for that stage, but the information is also transferable to your life outside of Toastmasters.

My Mentor is lovely Cecily B., and she has been a real help on my journey, she supported me not only in the club but also outside of the club either as my evaluator or simply as a supporter or observer in my speech delivery. Cecily, thank you, for all your wonderful advice and guidance. 😊

What would I suggest to new Toastmasters? Do speeches, try various club roles, enter competitions, visit other clubs and, of course, the more you do the better you become at it. The more you expose yourself, the more your confidence increases. Everyone gets stage fright. Embrace it and make it work for you or it will work against you.

In conclusion, I changed so much since I joined Toastmasters, and in so many ways that I could never imagine. I certainly gained more confidence, and now I am able to speak in front of people without being too nervous or sweating too much like I used to do before.

Delivering speech after speech, I realized I needed less training and preparation. And when you have confidence in yourself, then everything in life looks easier. My overall perception of my growth as a Public Speaker and a Leader in my own business has definitely changed in 2 years. I may not be there yet, but I am certainly closer than I was yesterday.

I couldn’t have done it without my club’s wonderful support, understanding, and friendship! I highly recommend Toastmasters club to anyone seeking to improve their speaking/listening skills as you can gain those and so much more! 😊



Lenka Pagan
Lenka supports women to live happier and healthier life. :-)

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