Did you know that famous individuals and celebrities have suffered from Glossophobia or the fear of public speaking? Richard Branson, Julia Roberts and Harrison Ford were just a few of them.
Dale Carnegey wrote the book “The Art of Public Speaking” way back in 1915. Ralph C. Smedley formed the Toastmasters Organization, also in USA, in 1924. The purpose of this organization is primarily to assist those with communication and public speaking challenges.
When one refocuses the lens upon oneself, the first step of zoning in and identifying the fact that one does in fact have public speaking challenges, is usually the hardest. It takes great humility to accept and address this fact, and even greater courage to seek help from appropriate credible sources.
In my journey of almost six years in Toastmasters, I have slowly but surely rediscovered my true strengths, and areas for improvements. This essentially helps boost my self-esteem and enables me to capitalize on my own unique capabilities. Although the journey has been an arduous one, it has been fascinating too. Plenty of time was invested for self-improvement, persistent hard work and relentless effort but to me, it has been totally worthwhile in a safe and supportive environment.
Apart from the technical aspects of crafting a speech and developing presentation skills, the fellowship and camaraderie developed not only throughout the country but around the world too, has truly been an enriching experience for my personal growth. The sense of belonging to a global family is indeed comforting.
In addition, for me it has also been a journey of Self-Acceptance. Although the recognition and awards are exhilarating, feeling comfortable in your own skin, flaws, accents, quirks and all is immensely liberating.
Nevertheless, we all care for each other and are grateful for each other’s company, offering a helping hand, beyond Toastmasters, no matter which part of the world we are in. Ever since the onset of the pandemic last year, most clubs have opened up their doors through virtual platforms, bringing us all much closer together.
To conclude, let me remind you of a slightly improvised quote by the great philosopher Socrates. “The secret to change is to focus all your energy not on changing your old self, but on building a New, More Powerful You.”
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