When I joined Algoa I was assigned a mentor and her assistance went well with my first few speeches. However, mid-way through my CC, my mentor left the club and I was on my own.
Although I completed my CC – I soon realised that a mentor was essential to assist with my weaker areas. I found I had the topic ideas but just couldn’t get my speeches to convey the message I intended. A fellow Toastmaster, Megan, was really great at structuring speeches to be effective but struggled with coming up with ideas. We became mentors to each other and a mutually beneficial relationship developed.
I then volunteered to mentor a new member – expecting to assist her with her speaking development. Prim’s questions and techniques made me think about the way I prepared and presented and once again developed my speaking skills.
I know there are a number of other mentoring processes within Clubs such as the formal evaluation provided after each speech, the written evaluation slips from members and ad hoc feedback from experienced members. These are all hugely beneficial.
However my recommendation is, regardless of where you are in your speaking journey, find a mentor, someone who is available to give you specific input for the stage you’re at AND mentor – you’ll learn from both!
Belita Von Steiger
President Algoa Toastmasters Club