One of the difficulties I experience at times is trying to be clear in my communication. I often find that, in my head, everything I want to communicate is easy to understand and organised, with a good logical flow from one point to another. However, as soon as I begin speaking, I realise this is not the case at all. Some may argue it is my nerves but unfortunately this argument just doesn’t stand because this “muddled” communication style also extends to other aspects of my life such as friends and family.
As I progress, through my education and into the workforce, this challenge is constantly there in my face. It has made me quite conscious of the way I speak, particularly in academic and professional settings. However, as I have always been a chatty gal with difficulty zipping up at times, it is clear that I am not fazed by this challenge. Before I started Toastmasters, my strategy dealing with this challenge was to push through, apologise, and check to ensure that the person I spoke with understood what I was trying to say. A tiring process for me at times.
Some of the great things that Toastmasters has given me are skill sets to help me clarify my thought processes and communication styles. Specifically, the structures I can use when communicating. For example, one of the structures I have learnt is the Point-Reason-Example-Point (PREP) method. That is, when delivering a short speech, first state a point of view. Then provide the audience with reason/s and give an example to elaborate the point. Finally, conclude with the point again. Having this structure has made me more confident when communicating. In other words, Toastmasters has given me skills sets I can use to overcome this challenge.
While I initially joined Toastmasters to work on improving my shortcomings, in the process I have come to meet many wonderful and exceptional individuals that inspire me one way or another. The friendships, genuine care in helping me develop as a person, laughter, social gatherings, as well as opportunities for me to contribute – these are a few of many reasons that keep me going back time and again. Toastmasters is a part of me, and will continue to be for these reasons.