Friday, 21st September had a session in store for us. That afternoon was an orientation session to introduce to us the world of Toastmasters International. This organisation is an empire set up over 90 years ago and has changed many lives ever since. The non-profit organisation has over 3,52,000 members and 16,000 plus clubs all over the world.
One of the speakers enlightened us about story of how this name came about which was very interesting. In American tradition, every solemn occasion is hit off by a toast. With so many underconfident people who couldnt give these in front of people, the founder Ralph C. Smedley felt the need to inculcate in people the habit of public speaking. Thus, came into existence, Toastmasters.
The event was held in our college by Dr. Bhusan Sarmandal who was the Area head of the Toastmasters club along with Mrs. Debahooti Basu. The organisation is broken down into districts and then areas and then clubs. It was a very interesting 90-minute meeting in which they told us all about the procedures of the club. From table topics to the ah-um counter, everything sounded fun.
They told us about how there were various contests and more, planned as a part of the club. They told us about the fact that all the clubs, irrespective of area, religion and everything else still followed the exact same standard procedures around the world. Dr. Bhushan talked about how it is one of the only organisations he has seen that has so much uniformity.
We saw from the way they talked that not only did Toastmasters develop effective communication in a person but also made them better people in general. The way in which they both conducted themselves with genuine respect and compassion for everyone was inspiring to watch. They give you all the skills you require to be a good leader and an effective public speaker.
When asked about who was the best speaker they had ever met, they both replied saying they were all leading speakers in their own styles. Each person had a distinct style and embracing that with sincerity is what made them such good speakers. They told us about a man with a stutter who won the Toastmasters International speech contest. Stammer in person and a riot on the stage. Hearing about this really moved us all.
We even heard the speech of one of the winners of this contest. From the get go it was extremely engaging. It seemed to have a little bit of everything. It was motivational. It was humorous. His speech had an impact on all of us even after we had left the event.
Our college will be starting a club right in the campus. When asked who all were interested in joining the club, many excited hands shot right into the air. Joining Toastmasters will be an exciting journey. It will be a huge learning curve for everyone who joins.Written By,