The world needs leaders. Leaders head families, coach teams, run businesses and mentor others. These leaders must not only accomplish, they must communicate. By regularly giving speeches, gaining feedback, leading teams and guiding others to achieve their goals in a supportive atmosphere, leaders emerge from the Toastmasters program. Every Toastmasters journey begins with a single speech. During their journey, they learn to tell their stories. They listen and answer. They plan and lead. They give feedback—and accept it. Through our community of learners, they find their path to leadership.
We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.
Toastmasters International Core Values
Four guiding principles that have been in place since Toastmasters was founded in 1924:
Experiential learning – By giving speeches and fulfilling leadership roles, you practice and improve.
Peer feedback – Grow and improve through honest and supportive peer evaluation.
Mentoring – Experienced mentors encourage, guide and support you in your goals and help you to achieve more than you thought possible.
Self-paced program – Develop skills at your own pace and comfort level.
Club Charter Date: 11 Dec 2016
How do we learn? When we are small, we learn a lot – at that time, the entire world is unexplored – our elders know it and we do not – as a result, we make a lot of mistakes which are tolerated by both our parents as well as our teachers.
Formal learning, at least in the Indian context, ends once we become adults –society, as well as we ourselves, expects that we know a lot (are supposed experts in some field or the other) and are expected to behave in a certain way – all prim and proper. How can that be – if a PhD takes about 5 years to complete and can be started only after post-graduation, and even after a PhD, you are a deemed expert on some very narrowly defined topic? PhD’s themselves are humble because they know that they do not know far more than what they know. Society’s expectations coupled with lack of avenues to learn lead us all to playact – all adults are children acting as adults waiting/dreading to be found out. How do we get out of this situation where we have caught a Tiger by the Tail?
Acknowledgement is a good starting point. It forces us to look the situation squarely in the eye. Acknowledgement leads to action – this comes in many forms. Some people discuss and debate topics within the family or with close friends/colleagues, read newspapers and journals, follow and observe what is happening around – all of these are means to enhance learning. After a point, these ways start feeling inadequate/repetitive –the sameness of the group leads to only one side of a debate getting discussed; sometimes, the inherent power equations/dynamics of the group lead to certain holy cows being left alone. A Toastmasters Club comes in as a good forum for Adult Learning: The club is a microcosm of society; it is a virtual rainbow – members come from diverse backgrounds; you Learn by Doing. You also have the option to attend meetings in other clubs to encounter/explore different points of view.
The Argumentative Indian loves a good debate. Hence, in India, there is more Talking than Doing. There is a safeguard in Toastmasters against this tendency as well – the club meeting (as well as contests/conferences, etc.) is an event. The smooth flow of the event is a Moment of Truth; it requires a lot of planning & execution. Roles have to be assigned, commitment sought from role players. You have to negotiate with people for the most precious resource they have – time and focus.
If you do this consistently over a period of time, you are learning important lessons of leadership. Magic starts to happen.
Some Six months after joining Toastmasters, you run across an acquaintance that you have not met in a while. He/she says – something has happened, you seem more confident, I cannot place my finger on what exactly it is in your manner, but you seem a better person for it. This is when you realize that you have struck gold.
We will turn up this Sunday to pursue our pot of gold, will you?
“There is a Pot of Gold at the end of the Rainbow”