Club Information

Next Meeting:
22 August 2019

Meeting Time:
18:45 for 19:00, every 2nd & 4th Thursday of the month

(Mingle time from 18:30 to 19:00!)

RSVP:
easy-Speak

Meeting Place:
Tennis Pavilion
Morningside Country Club
De La Ray Road
Rivonia

If you are coming from Sandton on Rivonia road, turn left after the Engen garage into 7th Avenue, then left again into De La Ray

District: 74
Division: H
Area: 4
Club Number: 8217
Charter Date: 6/1/1991

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Toastmasters

Last year, I got an opportunity to speak at a women’s day event in August to 170 ladies. I was so nervous because I didn’t have a lot of speaking experience to large audiences. In my corporate past, I had done many presentations and I wasn’t a stranger to being in the limelight. But a 40-minute speech to an audience that size, was daunting.

The first thing I did was to find a speaking coach.  A friend recommended a coach that she met at a networking breakfast. I contacted him and set up an initial meeting to assess the fit between us. He provided me with a lot of tips on what makes a good speech and pitfalls to look out for. One of his first recommendations was to join Toastmasters so that I could practice my skills and grow as a speaker in a supportive environment.

I joined Toastmasters a year ago, with only three short months to cram in as much practice as possible before the big event. I visited a few clubs before I settled on Morningside, where I felt the membership base would provide me with a diverse audience in order to polish my message. I jumped into the speeches with gusto and I even visited other clubs to gain feedback on as many projects and aspects of speaking as possible.

My first speech was not great. I knew that I had to talk about my personal experience and I had to get comfortable with being vulnerable. I spoke about my experience of burnout and the impact it had on my life. It felt like a very heavy topic and that helped me to realise that part of my calling is to bring light to this serious issue. I was in the process of writing a book about burnout with guidelines on how not to get there. My aim is to help people to avoid the serious health issues I have encountered as a result of stress. I plan to steer people away from their lives falling apart and to show them how to avoid the suffering I have endured.

MatchesThe more I spoke, the more I learnt about how my message needs to change. Not only did the valuable feedback improve my speaking skills, but it helped me to improve the impact of my message. I took the learnings and incorporated them into my book. I rewrote half of it because of the insights I gained from my speeches and the evaluations at Toastmasters. This came as a complete surprise to me and I never imagined that the speaking would alter my book so much.

 

I met wonderful people who have fascinating experiences to share. I have been inspired, entertained and educated by the speeches I have heard at Morningside. I have had the opportunity to evaluate others, and this has enabled me to grow in further ways. I know that there are many aspects of my speaking that require more work. But looking back over the past year and the thirteen speeches I have done at Toastmasters, I’m so happy and privileged to have had this experience. I was able to try things that are well outside my comfort zone, such as a humorous speech contest. I experimented with topics that were in line with my profession and those that are outside it such as sports. I didn’t expect to grow quite as much as a person as I have done.

MicI did my speech in August last year and it was a resounding success. I felt nervous but I really enjoyed it. I spoke about my story of burnout and how I fixed my life. I connected with some amazing ladies and received wonderful feedback. It was a real push to perform the speech when I had not entirely recovered from my illness. But it was so rewarding and I would do it again.

I have now finished my book and it will be published in a few weeks. I am ready to spread my message and I continue on this path of learning and recovery. I joined at a time when I had been recovering at home for a long time. Toastmasters meetings were a way of venturing out into the world to test the extent of my recovery, and to engage with people again. I’m so grateful for the people I have met so far at Toastmasters and I look forward to all the inspiring and entertaining speeches to come, as well as the chance to grow further.

Kathy Mann, CC (www.facebook.com/kathymannwriter)

Toastmasters can help you grow

“If you’re not growing, you’re dying” – Tony Robbins

Whenever Goals are words without actionI tell people that I am part of Toastmasters, I get a myriad of reactions. Some people don’t know anything about it, so I get to explain the wonderful things that I have learnt at Toastmasters. Some people assume its all about getting over a fear of public speaking, and so I get to tell them about all of the other reasons why people join Toastmasters, and others are lapsed members who are reminded that they actually miss attending meetings, so I get them to revitalise their Toastmaster journey.

So, this always gets me thinking about my own journey. Some days I want to stop because of a myriad of reasons, from work to lifestyle to saving money. But I am always brought back to the benefits that I get for a mere $90 a year.

Four things that I enjoy about Toastmasters:

  • I get to practice speaking in front of a captive audience, boosting my confidence.
  • I get instant feedback, that motivates me to keep growing and learning.
  • I meet new people, expanding my network both professionally and personally.
  • As a committee member, I get on the job leadership experience, as well as learning new skills around public relations, from advertising online to web design skills (limited of course, haha) and I get more opportunities to write, something I used to love but have found “life” excuses to help me avoid it.

 

Toastmasters can help you achieve your goals

“A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline” – Harvey Mackay

So, its 2017. A new year, new you right? Even if you aren’t into resolutions, I’m sure you have goals that you’d like to achieve this year. But having an idea / goal in mind, is one thing. Execution is everything, but without adequate preparation, focus and determination, it is nothing.

At Toastmasters, you can get an opportunity to practice these skills.Reaching your target

  1. Preparation:

If you are a member of Toastmasters, you are given projects that you need to complete in order to be deemed a competent or advanced or distinguished communicator. In order to complete these projects, you will need to prepare a speech, ensure it is within the allotted time and that it meets the project’s requirements. If it is another role, you will still need to prepare equipment such as the Timer stopwatch or read up on the project requirements for an evaluation or find a word of the day.

As a committee member, preparation is key in enabling your function to run smoothly.

2. Focus

When you come to meetings, you give undivided attention to the meeting, teaching you how to let of of distractions for 2-3 hours. Depending on the role you are playing, it helps you improve on your listening skills. And if you are delivering a prepared speech, you learn how to focus by drafting a speech with an introduction, body and conclusion, that all ties together and is within an allotted time.

As a committee member, your function requires you to focus on a specific area / skill, and whilst we do help one another out, it does help you to see the value in tackling one task at a time.

3. Determination

Getting up in front of people to speak about something intimate is never easy. Coming to meetings after a hard day at work or home, especially on cold winter evenings, is no walk in the park. Juggling work, home and Toastmasters can be tricky. However, these all help in creating a determined mindset, that helps to build a more resilient person who can get back up, despite what life throws them.

 

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So if you are wondering “how can I juggle Toastmasters amongst all the things that I am doing” or that “I already can speak in front of people, what benefits will I gain here?” Come and join us for a meeting one Thursday and see for yourself.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were saying one thing but were getting the complete opposite response? I know I have. It happens when I am pitching ideas at work or when I’m asking for clarity about a product in a store. Some days, I wonder if I am speaking English…

When I first joined toastmasters, I thought it was only for those who wanted to get over their fear of public speaking, which of course was my priority at the time. I soon realised that through Toastmasters, I was getting a whole lot more than that. I was learning how to communicate in a wide variety of ways. From giving feedback, to managing my time, and giving a short report or an impromptu speech. I was being taught how to communicate in a myriad of ways. Which I suppose makes sense, right. When we communicate, its not always a prepared speech – unless of course that is your job. It’s impromptu reports to colleagues or your boss, it’s feedback on a project or process that you’ve been involved in, it’s requesting information, it’s buying something and making sure you have the right thing.

This is further exasperated with the influx of information that we receive daily, from the listening to the radio to reading news on social media or watching your favourite series, we are constantly on. And to counter that, we are finding shortcuts to communicating abbreviating words or terms to a few letters such as brb (be right back) or lol (laugh out loud). And depending on your perspective, upbringing, or country, you could easily miss someone using such colloquial terms.

Human beings communicate verbally, non-verbally and through script. So, how can we ensure our message is being understood, given all the other distractions.

Well, one great way for honing all 3 modes of communication is through toastmasters, even script, after-all your evaluation is usually written down, isn’t it 😉

But of course, I am biased 🙂

Vice President Public Relations

Charlie Luzuka

Toastmasters

The roles during a toastmasters meeting