Toastmasters: a fun way to improve your leadership and communication skills
From Left to Right - Stella Odunwa, DTM (Division F Director; Dr. Abayomi Aiyesimoju, DTM (Program Quality Director); Issoufou Zongo, DTM, District Director District 94 2017-2018; Rokiatou N’Diaye, DTM, Club Growth Director; Chimaobim, DTM, Chairperson Local Planning Committee. during Toastmasters International DIstrict 94 Executive Council Meetings in Eko Hotel and Suites Lagos
There comes a day in a life of any professional to give a speech, present idea, offer an opinion, provide feedback, or facilitate a meeting.
Why this is critical to the career growth for individuals, it has over the years been a cripplingly terrifying experience.
According to Forbes, only about 10 percent of the world population actually loves public speaking or standing in a group situation without feeling nausea, panic attacks and extreme anxiety.
The good news however is even though that fear may be biologically ingrained in human, it is one that can be overcome flawlessly.
A position the members of Toastmasters International District 94, have promised to make a reality in not just Nigeria but West Africa at a just concluded district executive council meeting held at Eko Hotel and Suites Victoria Island.
The two days event entitled ‘Repositioning for Maximum Impact and Leadership’ that had in attendance members and delegates from other West African countries – both Anglophone and Francophone, they all agreed, for any individual to be successful, it is important to communicate effectively as this is the only way to get others on your side and be seen, admired and respected as a leader.
Speaking to BusinessDay, Issoufou Zongo, the District Director, said, “most leaders today are often evaluated by their abilities to speak effectively. If you listen to effective leaders, one of the skills they possess is their ability to speak in public, learning the art put you at the pedestal of success.
According to him since he joined the club over six years ago he has been able to master the art. “Like most people I used to be terrified of public speaking. Just the thought of public speaking was enough to upset my stomach. But with a little guidance and regular practice I have been able to tackle my fear of public speaking and now I regularly speak at local meetups and I also put on seminars.”
For Chimaobim Ezife the chairperson of the local organizing committee, “one can be a great person with an amazing experience, but a very boring speaker, without the necessary skills to move or motivate the audience.”
He noted further that to touch people and make an impact, there is need to be authentic, humble, and have a lot of charisma. “this art is as important as ever for business leaders because being an excellent speaker can motivate an entire workforce, unleash a wealth of new possibilities, and even rouse a generation.”
Welcoming his fellow Toastmasters, Ezife enjoined all not to relent in developing capacity for the service of the community in West Africa even as they continue to strive for excellence.
“Toastmasters is the fastest growing platform in Africa that provides a solid framework for leadership and communication, even as it plays a vital role in personal and professional development.
Abayomi Aiyesimoju, Division F Director of the district– while giving advise on how to speak flawlessly he said, ” before you speak consider do you want to challenge them, reassure them or inspire them? Then tailor your structure accordingly”
“If you can stand up and deliver a well-thought out speech that resonates,” he says, “you achieve instant recognition and add momentum to further your purpose and help others achieve theirs,” he added
In his Keynote address Amaechi Okobi, a marketing and communications professional stressed further that leadership is when a group of people are convinced and believe the leader cause and are willing to go the whole nine yards with him.
He therefore urged that Africans should begin to harness speaking and communications skills to effectively change the world perception of Africa with particular emphasis on Nigeria.
“Communications have become the two most coveted skills in recent times, Toastmasters is a diamond that is available for everyone.” he stressed.
He bared his mind on his desire to see a Nigeria President or African President who is a Toastmaster. Finally, he enjoined his fellow Toastmasters to strive to leave a legacy behind.
For Stella Odunwa, a person who is able to skillfully express himself or herself as an orator, especially early in life, is more likely to foster better friendships and relationships and build a larger network of collaborators.
Joining Toastmaster club, she said is a legacy that one can proudly passed on to the next generation “My daughter experience with toastmaster teenage programme did not only helped her understand what it means to lead from the front but also helped her easily recognized in the crowd anywhere she finds herself”
Other highlights of the event was a training workshops for participants on the ‘Road to Achieving Your Goals by Dunstanette Macauley, ‘Marketing is Fun’ by Ganiatou Sambaou, and ‘Toastmasters Pathways’ by Issoufou Zongo and induction of outstanding members into the club hall of fame.
Speaking on the relevance of the club, Public Relations Officer of the TM in District 94, Mrs. Florence Olumodimu, said the club gives individuals the needed skills for overcoming public speaking fear and becoming more confident.
Adding that the club strives to improve its members’ speaking abilities with board members, mentorship programs and area directors available for help to keep track of individuals progress and make sure the speech is concise and thorough.”
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