Member Moment – That Thing Helps!

I would blame myself if I forgot two questions: “the why” and “from whom” I joined Toastmasters (TM). Both questions are answered by the following short story: I always admired the English-speaking skills a friend (called Lisandro) used to display. In order to improve my professional experience under a global world, I invited Lisandro to a coffee meeting in November 2018, clearly designed to collecting tips from him about how I could turn into a “global professional” although I have a few English-speaking skills. I am not native speaker of the language.

My friend stated that English language is crucial for a global career and one of the advices he gave to me was: “join Toastmasters! That thing helps”! It was my first time hearing about such a strange word but it sounded so interesting that I kept it in a special place in my brain. I was very anxious with the name (may be because I like the edible toasts) The same day I started to research about it.

Two weeks after I had my first experience as a guest in the Maputo Club. I visited as a guest twice, nonetheless, the decision to becoming a member came at the end of my first visit.

In December 2018 I joined TM and my goal was only to improve my English speaking skills. Quickly I’ve figured out another passion: public speaking, then I felt I could get more from TM and I embraced it by doing my best to participate in each meeting.

There are five aspects that make me thrilled in TM journey, which are:

a) the manner how meetings are structured from preparation to implementation – I would never imagine a software like easy-speak would easily help members to plan meetings, show available roles and make you an active participant of a meeting. On the other hand, easy-speak makes your fellow TMs aware in advance when you are not participating – what a great gesture of respect facilitated by a software!
b) there is always a role you can take if you aim to do so – It is just a matter of your choice. Very often, for many reasonable grounds, the fellow TMs will not grab a role for the next meeting immediately after the previous meeting ends. If you plan to take a role for the next meeting you can almost always do it after the meeting ends.
c) the available roles cover everything you need to follow your pathways projects – a meeting to have a Master of Ceremony (the Toastmaster of the day), this was predictable to a certain extent, but I couldn’t imagine you could have it in a meeting, someone taking care of the fulfilment of the schedule (“the time keeper”), someone counting the ah’s and hum’s (“the ah counter”) and someone writing down any particularly good or awkward uses of language (“the grammarian”) even without being an advanced English speaker. Having someone evaluating the way you delivered your speech is overwhelming – it’s like a mirror giving feedback to yourself. Above all, you always have an opportunity to speak, either delivering a prepared speech or grabbing a role. Toastmasters is a fruitful field of democracy.
d) Pathways learning experience – the base camp on pathways works as your classroom, your coach and your evaluator. In fact, it has all the resources you need to follow your journey. It gives you challenges; it guides you through accomplishments.
e) Toastmasters is the safest place to make mistakes – fellow Toastmasters show they do care about you! You will always receive positive feedback from the audience (through claps) and from your evaluator irrespective of the mistakes you have made.

I joined Toastmaster Club to become a better English speaker, but I got addicted to public speaking! Today I understand that Toastmasters is designed to make me a winner!

Dimétrio Manjate
Maputo Toastmasters Club Mozambique