As evolution in nature tells us, variation and feedback is the winning formula for success. We’ve created another unique, memorable and productive Toastmasters night. I love how every meeting is different… pushing us slightly outside our comfort zone… and giving us immediate feedback… so we’re able to evolve into a better version of ourselves.
If this is something you want to experience, let us know and we’ll invite you to an upcoming meeting.
As Johnny Manolelis said, real leaders don’t need to use force. They lead with their powerful presence, which pulls you in, instead of pushing you. They break and change the rules of the game.
But leadership starts with yourself. We are the CEO of our own lives. We have habits… which are part of the “primitive mind” as Mel Colgar calls it. When the habits no longer serve us, we need to change our habits, which in turn, change who we are… or do we need to change who we are, to change our habits? Who is controlling you… your primitive mind, or your executive mind?
When we join Toastmasters, it’s usually because we want to break the habits and rules that we’ve placed on ourselves. And that’s what three people recently did. They broke their own rules and decided to join our Toastmasters club.
Please welcome our newest members, Eran Halevi, Jenny Li and Matt Anderson! We’re glad to have you as part of our family, and we look forward to working with you on your journey of personal and professional growth.
The Icebreaker is the first speech you deliver as a new member of Toastmasters. I loved Matt Anderson’s Icebreaker, titled “Being Prepared”. Very humorous and plenty of golden advice.
Here’s a shorterned version of his speech:
I live, breathe and studied motor sport (car racing). A fundamental principle that is vital to motor sport is preparation, often referred to as the 5 P’s: Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. The sport is very competitive, and small differences often decides who is the winner. Not only that, you’re putting the driver’s safety on the line, and small differences can also lead to catastrophic events.
When it comes to public speaking, we’ve all had our share of “I wish I could have done different…” moments.
I was invited to give a best man speech to at least a hundred people. I was honored, but also experienced lots of pressure and anxiety on the special day. It was all I could think about on the day.
The Father of the Groom delivered an absolute cracker of a speech. Then my turn… I had one shot… one opportunity.
My predicament is best paraphrased by 90’s Philosopher, Eminem… “He’s nervous, but on the surface he look’s calm and ready… His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy.”
My speech went “okay”. But I knew that I definitely needed to improve.
Fast-forward to today, I’m about to get married to my fiancé. That’s great… because now I have to deliver a speech at the wedding!
And here’s why Toastmasters is key. It helps me develop skills for the big day; reduce my anxiety when I’m about to deliver a speech; and gives me the opportunity to practice, so it becomes automatic, and allows me to enjoy my day.
I also enjoy the journey of preparation. That’s what life is about… enjoying the moment.
While I’m focused on one major event, it’s also developing skills which are useful in many other areas of life.
For example, during the weekend, I had a mic unexpectedly shoved under my nose. I was being interviewed for my views on a sporting event. Thankfully, I had just joined Toastmasters and I recalled my experience with Table Topics where I was given plenty of feedback on how to improve. It was what got me through the interview.
It’s like athletes (like Usain Bolt) always say… “The race is won before you step on the track”. When you step onto the track, you’re just claiming the prize. Whoever did the most preparation and training wins.
Aside from the Icebreaker, we had four other speeches. Mel talked about dieting and how it’s harder than it seems. Clare talked about the good old days which is actually now. Johnny and Jagath gave two very different angles on leadership.
“What Type of Leader Are You?”. That was the question that Johnny wanted us to contemplate. “Do you lead with power, or do you lead with force?” Johnny saw two types of leaders. He used to be in the army, where the leader was in reality a follower of rules, and they would raise their voice to ensure everyone followed those rules as well.
Johnny concluded his speech asking the audience to do one thing. Think of that little rule… and try to break that rule.
Christopher Tso delivered an educational workshop on Pathways, which is an education program designed to help you build the competencies you need to communicate and lead.
Every speaker was evaluated, and received plenty of useful tips on how to make their speech more effective. And every evaluator was evaluated by a general evaluator. As one visitor commented in awe, “it’s like the hunter being hunted”.
Want to know how you can be part of this amazing experience? Visit us at an upcoming meeting or contact us for more information.