The Toastmasters credo is Where leaders are made . Developing our qualities as Leaders is a long process which can be difficult at times. We sometimes encounter self-resistance within ourselves that we must overcome: We are facing limiting beliefs that are sometimes deeply rooted. And we grow, we develop our roots, we nourish our self-confidence.
Before starting this “Toastmasters” journey, you must obviously start by entering a Toastmasters club. And what brings us there is most often a need: to face stress, to learn to speak in public, to gain or regain self-confidence . Sometimes we get there by chance trained by a friend and we stay there for the positive energy that reigns in these clubs. An energy with quasi-therapeutic virtues. After a burnout or a hard blow in his life, the atmosphere that reigns in these clubs acts as a soothing balm for the soul and for the heart.
Once in a club, the activity of a Toastmasters member consists essentially in following the path laid out by the “training path” chosen among the 11 possible. This involves, among other challenges, preparing and giving speeches at club meetings. The very first of these speeches making it possible to take that first so difficult step, the one which consists in breaking the ice .
Speaking in public, rehearsing, practicing, benefiting from constructive criticism, putting into practice the advice received, these activities bring rapid progress, and even more beneficial, they bring a strong sense of progress . Self-confidence is dramatically increased.
This newly acquired confidence and self-confidence can and should grow and strengthen to better withstand the real jolts of life. To do this, you have to face greater challenges: practice and expose yourself to more complex, more stressful situations, with more at stake. And surprise yourself to discover that you can handle these situations well.
A first level of exposure is to take roles in meetings.
Small “” roles such as controlling time, counting hesitations and blunders, or monitoring spelling and grammar. These roles, however small they may appear at first, help to realize the time and importance of mastering it, to realize that everyone makes mistakes big or small and that this idea should not stop us. to get started. They also help develop attention and the ability to “listen” to others at several levels (content, form, grammar …) and this simultaneously .
Then we can take more “ thick ” roles such as the roles of evaluator, general evaluator or evening facilitator. These roles allow, for example, to develop our capacity to provide both critical and constructive feedback to others. Something that is learned little by little over time and that no “Management” school course can really integrate. They also and above all allow, for the last two roles, to practice team leadership and to measure the impact that we can have on a group on the scale of a few hours or a few days.
To go further, you have to practice taking responsibility over a longer period of time … on the scale of a year. And for this it is possible and planned to take a role of club officer. It’s part of learning Toastmasters. Contributing to the proper functioning of a team, whether you are the leader or not, allows you to test yourself in “ almost real ” conditions on a one-year scale: take initiatives, improve small things or propose large projects, lead others behind you, build small or large teams, organize them, unite them, motivate them …
These roles are extraordinary opportunities to experiment, to discover a lot of things about yourself, and about the impact you can have on a project or a team when the time factor takes hold. importance.
Take responsibility for the smooth running of the administration, manage logistical or cash flow aspects, public relations, welcoming guests, monitoring members’ memberships, their mentoring, educational paths for members and planning parties and finally the club presidency: each of these roles allows us to develop one of the facets of the leader that we can become.
At certain times it will be experienced as almost too easy, at other times it will be experienced in the effort and the struggle against oneself. In any case, it will be at least formative even when “you already know how to do” quite simply because you can experiment on yourself at Toastmasters without taking the same risks as in “real” life.