For some, it is nailing the number 10 speech from the Competant Communicator. For others, it is taking the stage at the World Championship of Pubic Speaking. And many are just looking to further their day to day communication skills for workplace advancement.
When I first joined Morningstars Toastmasters, the VP of Membership asked me why I was joining. I didn’t have lofty aspirations. I didn’t see myself taking part in contests or holding workshops.
My goal or Toastmaster “why” was a simple one — connect with people.
My life existed behind a screen of techonology. Conversation occured via email, chat and likes. I didn’t have to open my mouth, make eye contact or even respond in a timely manner for none of my communication was face-to-face.
Sounds like the ideal situation for people who are introverted or challenged by social anxiety. Take out the socializing and there is no anxiety! Makes sense.
However, social skills is a muscle that only gets flexed and stretched when done face-to-face. In order to get better at the awkward bits of interaction (small talk, confrontation and misunderstandings), we have to engage in awkwards bits of interaction. Makes sense.
Morningstars gave me a comfortable, safe environment to build up my confidence in communications. It has helped me flourish and excel in storytelling, impromptu speaking and early morning listening.
However, the morning sessions has also become another comfort zone. It has become a new screen of sorts that I find myself standing behind, shielding myself.
Sure, it’s social but I’m greedy. I want more.
My why. Why did I join? What do I want from my personal Toastmasters journey? Our personal development is as important as completing the manual projects. And sometimes we need “real world”experiences to realize how far we have come.
Recently, I eliminated some of my tasks that kept me behind the computer screen and actively sought situations that put me in contact with new people.
Tomorrow, I will suit up and put myself in a position that is FAR outside my comfort zone as IGAs newest cashier. I have the potential to meet 1500 customers a day. I will have the pleasure of small talk, discussing weather, vacation plans and bunions with strangers and friends.
I get to flex and stretch a muscle that Toastmasters helped me develop.
If you pop into IGA and see me there, use my lane. I could use all the practice I can get . . . and it’s always nice to chat with regulars!
It’s time for me to level up my communication skills to the real world.
What’s your why? How could you level up your skills outside the club?
— Submitted by Weegee S.