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Tuesday, 30 August 2016 01:47

Have you benefited from joining Toastmasters or a similar social skills course? Could you share your experience?

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Ever been to a Toastmasters meeting? You should!To start off I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on the presumption in the question that Toastmasters is a social skills course. It isn’t. Toastmasters members do learn social skills by participating in the program but it is not a specific learning objective.

As a 22-year member of Toastmasters, so far, I continue to benefit from my membership.

I started off as a shy, quiet introvert. I’m still an introvert but am in remission with my shyness.

Toastmasters has served as a catalyst in helping build my self-confidence which has opened up numerous opportunities for me that would never have been available to me.

Once I was terrified of public speaking. Now I speak in public regularly delivering seminars and talks on my specialties. I have an emcee/event organizing business. I never saw that in my future.

From the activity of preparing speeches for my manual projects I have expanded my writing skills into creating and self-published four e-books. I specialize in the genre of self-help. If I learned how to do something that others can’t, then I have something marketable to share.

From a leadership skills development perspective, I have had lots of opportunities to develop my servant leadership skills. I have served as all seven of the club officer positions multiple times, as Area Governor X 2, as Division Governor X2, Lieutenant Governor of Education (LGET), District Governor (District 21) and Past District Governor. I have served in a leadership position for every year other than my very first one. I have held a leadership position in more than a dozen District conferences.

As for our Communication & Leadership Program I am working my way through our Communication manual for the 16th time. I have achieved the Distinguished Toastmaster designation (DTM) and completed all of the criteria except two, for my second DTM.

The question mentioned social skills development. I have certainly benefitted from that aspect. Highly developed communication skills are necessary to being effective in any leadership role, be it as a servant leader or a formal one as are social skills.

There have been a couple life-changing experiences along the way that have affected me for the better. Firstly, before I joined Toastmasters I was fond of a quote from Conan the Barbarian “That which doesn’t kill you … makes you stronger!” In hindsight, I see that was a very pessimistic, cynical perspective on life. It tended to set me up for conflict in every situation.

Over the years I changed my perspective to “That which challenges me … makes me stronger!” Definitely more optimistic. I have learned that opportunities can sometimes be disguised as hard work. I have also incorporated a Law of Attraction approach to life. I create my own reality. If I require an opportunity for a specific purpose, I put it out to the Universe and I get a response. I’m still waiting for that fame and fortune part, so Universe if you are listening … now’s a good time! Waiting, waiting …

In the early years as a Toastmaster member, while serving as the VP Education I discovered and embraced the concept of CANEI (Continuous an Never Ending Improvement) as promoted by Tony Robins and Brian Tracy. This has had a lasting effect in everything that I do.

While serving as District Governor I came to the realization that if I can do this job, what else am I capable of?

One of our Past International Presidents has said “that if you get everything out of Toastmasters that you can get out of Toastmasters … you will never get out of Toastmasters!”

There are still lots of activities that I can benefit from.

To start off I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on the presumption in the question that Toastmasters is a social skills course. It isn’t. Toastmasters members do learn social skills by participating in the program but it is not a specific learning objective.

As a 22-year member of Toastmasters, so far, I continue to benefit from my membership.

I started off as a shy, quiet introvert. I’m still an introvert but am in remission with my shyness.

Toastmasters has served as a catalyst in helping build my self-confidence which has opened up numerous opportunities for me that would never have been available to me.

Once I was terrified of public speaking. Now I speak in public regularly delivering seminars and talks on my specialties. I have an emcee/event organizing business. I never saw that in my future.

From the activity of preparing speeches for my manual projects I have expanded my writing skills into creating and self-published four e-books. I specialize in the genre of self-help. If I learned how to do something that others can’t, then I have something marketable to share.

From a leadership skills development perspective, I have had lots of opportunities to develop my servant leadership skills. I have served as all seven of the club officer positions multiple times, as Area Governor X 2, as Division Governor X2, Lieutenant Governor of Education (LGET), District Governor (District 21) and Past District Governor. I have served in a leadership position for every year other than my very first one. I have held a leadership position in more than a dozen District conferences.

As for our Communication & Leadership Program I am working my way through our Communication manual for the 16th time. I have achieved the Distinguished Toastmaster designation (DTM) and completed all of the criteria except two, for my second DTM.

The question mentioned social skills development. I have certainly benefitted from that aspect. Highly developed communication skills are necessary to being effective in any leadership role, be it as a servant leader or a formal one as are social skills.

There have been a couple life-changing experiences along the way that have affected me for the better. Firstly, before I joined Toastmasters I was fond of a quote from Conan the Barbarian “That which doesn’t kill you … makes you stronger!” In hindsight, I see that was a very pessimistic, cynical perspective on life. It tended to set me up for conflict in every situation.

Over the years I changed my perspective to “That which challenges me … makes me stronger!” Definitely more optimistic. I have learned that opportunities can sometimes be disguised as hard work. I have also incorporated a Law of Attraction approach to life. I create my own reality. If I require an opportunity for a specific purpose, I put it out to the Universe and I get a response. I’m still waiting for that fame and fortune part, so Universe if you are listening … now’s a good time! Waiting, waiting …

In the early years as a Toastmaster member, while serving as the VP Education I discovered and embraced the concept of CANEI (Continuous an Never Ending Improvement) as promoted by Tony Robins and Brian Tracy. This has had a lasting effect in everything that I do.

While serving as District Governor I came to the realization that if I can do this job, what else am I capable of?

One of our Past International Presidents has said “that if you get everything out of Toastmasters that you can get out of Toastmasters … you will never get out of Toastmasters!”

There are still lots of activities that I can benefit from.

as originally answered on Quora.com

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Rae Stonehouse

Author Bio:

Rae A. Stonehouse is a Canadian born author & speaker. His professional career as a Registered Nurse working predominantly in psychiatry/mental health, has spanned four decades.

Rae has embraced the principal of CANEI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement) as promoted by thought leaders such as Tony Robbins and brings that philosophy to each of his publications and presentations.

Rae has dedicated the latter segment of his journey through life to overcoming his personal inhibitions. As a 20+ year member of Toastmasters International he has systematically built his self-confidence and communicating ability. He is passionate about sharing his lessons with his readers and listeners. His publications thus far are of the self-help, self-improvement genre and systematically offer valuable sage advice on a specific topic. He is a long-time member of Kelowna Flying Solo Toastmasters and is the driving force behind its long-term success. 

His writing style can be described as being conversational. As an author Rae strives to have a one-to-one conversation with each of his readers, very much like having your own personal self-development coach. Rae is known for having a wry sense of humour that features in his publications.

Author of Self-Help Downloadable E-Books:

Power Networking for Shy PeoplePower Networking for Shy People: Tips & Techniques for Moving from Shy to Sly!

PROtect Yourself!PROtect Yourself! Empowering Tips & Techniques for Personal Safety: A Practical Violence Prevention Manual for Healthcare Workers.

E=Emcee SquaredE=Emcee SquaredTips & Techniques to Becoming a Dynamic Master of Ceremonies.

Power of PromotionPower of Promotion: On-line Marketing for Toastmasters Club Growth

 

Phone Rae 250-451-6564 or info@raestonehouse.com

Rae’s social … are you?

Twitter: http://twitter.com/RaeStonehousehttp://twitter.com/RaeStonehouse

Linkedin? Rae is http://www.linkedin.com/in/raestonehousehttp://www.linkedin.com/in/raestonehouse

Copyright 2015 & 2016 Rae Stonehouse. The above document may be freely copied and distributed as long as the author’s name and contact info remain attached.

To learn more about Rae A. Stonehouse, visit the Wonderful World of Rae Stonehouse at http://raestonehouse.comhttp://raestonehouse.com.