A few weeks ago I accompanied my eight year old niece to a party and one parent asked me where I work. My niece decided to answer on my behalf
“She works for Toastmasters”
I was quite taken aback and I asked her “What makes you think I work for Toastmasters?”
Her response “You are always at a Toastmasters meeting, so it must be work because my mum is always in meetings and I am not allowed to disturb her unless its an emergency.”
I found this exchange interesting. I did not realise that someone was taking stock of where I spent most of my time. I explained to her that I don’t work for Toastmasters , I pay Toastmasters instead so that I can spent a lot of time at meetings. I have already paid for the next six months!She found my explanation quite puzzling . I told her I needed to meet with different people and practice how to speak and communicate and how to become a good leader and organise productive meetings.I gave her an example of when she was a group leader,she learnt how to deal with different noisemakers such that when she becomes a prefect she would know better how to deal with her school mates. She chuckled and confessed her strategy of dealing with the naughty classmates. I won’t divulge her secrets lest you go and tell her classmates.
Later she confessed why she refused to join the Public speaking club at school. “Everyone laughs at me because they know you are a Toastmaster. You speak so confidently and you even help other Toastmasters. They are always asking why I don’t have confidence like you because I live with you.”
My niece has a loud voice but somehow it becomes a whisper when she goes on stage. I encouraged her to join the club and tell her friends she is work in progress just like her Aunt who is still learning and will never stop learning. She only needs to compete against herself and be better than she was yesterday.
Linda Chimanikire, DTM