I recently joined Toastmasters as previously mentioned in Give Up Time Wasters. Being a mom and having a full-time job, I was not looking for something to take up more of my time. However, I saw it as another opportunity to stay on a positive, professional path, avoid burnout and get myself and message out there! Today, I am working on my Ice Breaker speech. Talking about oneself for 4-6 minutes may seem like a daunting task. But if it’s broken down into sections of reasons I joined, goals I have, and random facts about me, makes it flow a little easier.
Reasons I Joined Toastmasters:
1. To get tied to the community.
We uprooted our family and moved across the world (according to my parents). Because I had such a demanding former job, while going to school full-time, I never had the opportunity to get to know my town, events and activities, nor people. I thought Toastmasters would be a great avenue for getting to know other professionals and overachievers.
2. To help others.
I do have a lot of experience in speaking in front of an audience, being a leader and manager. I hope I can be a positive influence where others can also get ideas from to benefit themselves.
3. To help myself.
Learn from others. Everyone’s level of experience. What they bring to the table and can offer. (Give me ideas to blog about, duh).
Goals I Have in Toastmasters:
1. Work Hard and Play Nice.
I know that sounds like a cheesy statement you can find on a billboard. It’s a simple, yet significant goal. I put a lot of thought and effort into my work. I think if you treat others with niceness, it will not necessarily be reciprocated back to you (ha, we wish right?). But it will help you earn the reputation of being approachable. Never do I want others think they can’t talk to me because I haven’t had my coffee yet, I’m in a bad mood or irascible. Don’t worry, I had to google irascible too when I heard it. I’m trying new words on for size. It basically means easily angered. A close relative of hangry.
2. Get Comfortable in Being Uncomfortable.
Before I was officially voted in to be a Toastmaster, I was put on the spot having to give a random, Table Topics Speech! I would like to give a quick thank you to the gal who forced me talk 2 minutes about how I became the State Chess Champion. For the record, I have never played chess in my life. I never thought such a simple subject could throw me for a loop. But, it did and yet I had fun. I am really glad she got her fire poker out and used it. Life is all about spontaneous moments. So we should just buckle up and get comfortable in being uncomfortable.
3. Be Confident, Credible and Sincere.
Because I am an introvert, it does take me a while to warm up to people. This makes it more difficult to be confident. I have to keep believing my message. What I am trying to say is important. I boil being credible down to: if you can talk the talk, you better be able to walk the walk. If you say you’ve created a new leap frog game by incorporating a hoola hoop, you should demonstrate it. Then there’s the art of being sincere. Learning how to be serious, honest, tactful, yet show empathy and have an overall influence on your target audience can be a little tricky at times.
Random Facts about Me:
1. I used to run.
A lot. Before I had a kid.
2. I used to make cakes.
Like professional 5-tiered wedding cakes. Even cake pops before they were popular at Starbucks. Again, this was before I had a kid.
3. I love food prepping and making freezer meals!
For once, I can say I continued this more after having a kid!
In conclusion, sometimes life hands us unexpected changes. Maybe an undefined change in a business. Personal losses such as miscarriages and suicide. Or even exciting opportunities like moving for a new job, By joining Toastmasters, I saw it as another opportunity to stay on a positive, professional path when life does hand us those lemons. Providing some random facts about myself help break the ice in getting to know me.
By defining the reasons I joined Toastmasters and sharing my goals, allows others to help me reach them. Finally, the biggest lesson I had to learn before speaking in front of others, is just get over yourself. We are our own worst critics. Get over yourself and get out there!
Last but not least, what steps are you taking to develop your careers, personal/professional development, or steps toward financial freedom?!