My first-ever visit to a Toastmasters meeting was on the 16th of March 2017 and I attended the Midrand Groundbreakers Club. I was totally unaware that I was about to experience a groundbreaking encounter.
By the 1st of April 2017, I was the founding President of Midrand Groundbreakers, a role I suspect I was coerced into, ‘LOL’. I was oblivious to what I had gotten myself into.
Initially, my plan was improve my communication skills, but I found myself thrust into a leadership role. I have since learnt that you cannot really separate the two. People usually follow good communicators.
I continued as President until 30 June 2018 and in those 15 months; I discovered another version of Keamo I didn’t know existed. We often hear people say ‘know thyself’ and I spent most of my life not really knowing this Keamo. I learnt about my thinking style, how to handle conflict, how to influence people and most importantly, that leadership is not about position but influence. Toastmasters is a voluntary organisation, it is not your position as President that will get people to participate, but how you relate with them. I recall how in May 2018 I sighed and said; “ohhh now I get it, can I have another year as President?” I was getting the hang of this Presidency thing, but I had to move on and allow others an opportunity to learn.
I am not sure what I am doing now as an Area Director, but this role has opened my eyes wider.
It is not about self, but others, giving guidance, not instructions and support without interference.
As I travel on this Toastmasters highway, there are a lot of key road signs and off-ramps. At each stop and turn one learns more and most importantly keeps growing. I understand why they say; “This is Where leaders are made.” This organisation is not just about getting rid of glossophobia (the fear of public speaking), it is more than that… Leaders are being made here and I am one of them.
Keamogetswe Molebalwa CC CL
Midrand Groundbreakers Toastmasters Club