James Clear explores how our environment affects our habits in his best-selling book Atomic Habits. If we want to read more books, placing books in various parts of our house can serve as a sign to our minds to read; similarly, placing notebooks and pens throughout the room might serve as a sign to write.
If you want to improve your leadership and communication skills, you’ll need to start with a habit. Toastmasters might be a good place to start.
While we may have always been told that communication and leadership are necessary abilities, we may not have always had the opportunity to put them into practice. Furthermore, these are talents that we improve through practicing. We may fumble and fall at first, making the initial step terrifying and frightening. This is where the environmental cue becomes even more important. You are permitted to go blank and forget your lines at weekly Toastmasters club meetings as long as you strive to take that first step.
This has prompted me to explore with speechcraft and other aspects of communication. With butterflies, boxes, and glasses, I’ve presented speeches. As part of my lecture, I set up the keyboard and played Mozart for the crowd. I’ve put on a magic hat and done tricks that I completely forgot about halfway through. Some of them were successful, while others were not.
When I found myself in a situation where there were leaders, I decided to improve on my leadership qualities by joining the club executive committee. I had the opportunity to reflect on my strengths and limitations as a communicator and leader in between leadership responsibilities, meetings, and actions. When I had the opportunity to serve as the division editor for Nepal in 2019/20, my relationship with material grew even stronger. Many doors unlocked themselves on this journey, and it was a nudge to open them, both personally and professionally.
Toastmasters’ philosophy is vast, but if I had to summarize it based on my personal experience, I would say it is the opportunity to try new things. There are a plethora of cues in Toastmasters’ Pathways education program. The ability to think quickly on your feet, the agility to detect compliments and recommendations, and the versatility to build various speeches all become transferable abilities. The teachings become inseparable as you figure out what works and what doesn’t for you. You take it with you wherever you go, at home, at work, and everywhere else.
Toastmasters has a long and illustrious history, with over 95 years of experience. You might want to dive in for the pearl, or you might want to dive in for a swim, depending on your ambitions, but the most essential thing you’ll find here is an environment in which to grow yourself. Can Toastmasters help you with all of these things and more? You are the only one who can tell.