The Toastmasters organization is around 84 years old, but amazingly it is growing younger every day. There was a time only MALE population above the age of 18 could participate and sometime in 1971 the forum was opened to women but off-course for the ladies above the 18 years.
Much later members debated and the opportunity was extended to younger generation under 18 years; under an exciting word called Gavel …”Gavels Club”. Now you observe Gavel clubs in numerous schools and it’s an education to watch the younger generation sharpening their saw in communication and leadership skills. The simple premise for the Toastmasters movement is “age is no bar for sharpening your communications and leadership skills.” You may be 8 years old or 80 years young; you have the right to join Toastmasters forum.
I am a strong proponent of Toastmasters activities and I realized the real benefits after I started visiting and sharing my experience in non – Toastmasters forums and activities. I realized why there is no failure in Toastmasters but LESSONS; that’s the spirit with which members grow in Toastmasters. In a typical crisp statement; members empty their cup. Members begin unlearning old habits to LEARN new habits.
- Members unlearn their stage fright.
- Members unlearn their confused & stagnant mindset.
- Members unlearn being introvert.
- Members unlearn the art of speaking monotonously.
- Members unlearn the power to ignore good body language.
- Members unlearn the power to ignore the power of time management.
- Members unlearn the power to be ignorant of good habits that matters most.
Members may unlearn the old habits but they are replaced by better habits. I always wondered, what is the trigger for such a change; when change is difficult ? Until I read the literature highlighting research. And I would like to share two of them.
- The first experiment was conducted between two groups of students; group A participants were asked to appear for a test and participants in group B were given a candy each just before they entered the exam hall. The result reflected that people who received candy before the exam performed better than the batch who was simply asked to appear for the test.
- In the second experiment the research group conducted a test in the classroom. When the result arrived they simply instructed the teacher that student A, B and C were exceptional students. But also reprimanded teacher not to show any favoritism in their behavior or school work towards the bright students. A year later once again they conducted the test and amazingly students A, B and C performed much better than other students in the class. The icing on the cake is that the result earlier in the year had reflected them as average students. How come sudden improvement in the three students when teachers had refrained from giving any favours ? It only goes to prove that somehow the teacher had outwardly or inwardly reflected appreciation of the students. And that sub- conscious appreciation had impacted their performance.
The above two experiments and many other prove beyond any doubt that motivation, encouragement, compliments and happy positive environment produces better and faster results from the participants . And Toastmasters values reflect and practice the said principals. Consequently members in Toastmasters grow by leaps and bounds. There are no failures but lessons in Toastmasters.