How do you benefit from Toastmasters’ programs? Do you have a story to share with fellow members in our district? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a personal story to share. If your article is selected and published in our website or quarterly newsletters, you’ll receive a $25 Toastmasters gift certificate.
By trade, I’m an IT project manager. Leadership and communication are two must-have job skills for a project manager. Like most of you, I joined a Toastmasters club to learn communication skills. As it turned out, I found that Toastmasters was actually a better place to learn and practice leadership skills.
In other words, Toastmasters programs provide a safe environment for us to learn both communication and leadership skills. In Toastmasters, five clubs are grouped together as an Area (approximately 100 members), five areas form one Division (25 clubs, approximately 500 members), and the Founder’s District has 8 Divisions (225 clubs, approximately 4500 members).
To me, volunteering as an Area/Division/District Director is like leading a project with 100/500/4500 team members. Learning how to effectively communicate a vision to team members, motivate others to step up, work with difficult people and resolve conflicts can help you to develop your leadership and communication skills. Believe or not, I actually apply these skill sets that I have learned from Toastmasters into my day job. Applying what I’ve learned in Toastmasters makes me a better project manager.
Last year serving as the Lt. Governor Education and Training, I was lucky to have so many talented volunteers to serve as Conference Co-Chairs, LACE Co-Chairs, Chief Judges, Contest Co-Chairs, and others. As a team, we learned and grew together, motivated each other, and made mistakes together. Along the way, we had ups and downs in the process. But in the end, we all became good friends. Together, we were able to accomplish what we set out to do at the beginning of the year.
If I were to learn these same skills from professional workshops, it would have cost me thousands of dollars. I learned the skills for free from Toastmasters. Fellow Toastmasters, the real learning opportunities in the Toastmasters Programs is to look beyond clubs. Remember the theme for this year is “Join and Serve to Prosper.” Please contact email@example.com if you have further questions. You may contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are looking for opportunities to get involved.
Pan Kao, DTM, PhD
2015-2016 Founder’s District Director