What toast has to do with Public Speaking – Toastmasters Tuesday

On a hot and muggy May evening, I stumbled into an even hotter and muggier top floor of a co-working space in Brussels. I had signed up for a Communication and Leadership Training via a MeetUp group. The event was hosted by a Toastmasters club.

In my tired and sunburned brain, I was wondering what toast had to do with communication and leadership and how do you master a toast. . That’s when I discover that there is a global organisation dedicated to empowering individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders, called Toastmasters International.

So what is this Toastmaster International? According to their website, they are a world leader in communication and leadership development bringing together more ha bogomil-mihaylov-519207-unsplash357,000 members in local clubs all over the world. Their local clubs hold frequent meetings in which members can train their skills in impromptu speeches, the so-called table topic, or with prepared ones.

Just recently Toastmaster International launched a new educational programme called Pathways. In the programme, you can follow one of ten learning path which trains you up to 300 distinct competencies. Some of the different tracks are Dynamic Leadership, Motivational Strategies, Innovative Planning and Team Collaboration.

The club I joined is called Atomium Toastmasters of Brussels after the symbol of the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair and is  Dutch and English speaking. The members create a cosy and compassionate environment which is extremely welcoming and supportive.

I felt welcome and secure from the first meeting on. It feels more like a small bubbly family despite the necessary formality of the exercise. Never was a speaker let down or received a harsh and unjustified evaluation. Everyone values the efforts and development of the others. The speakers are cheered, and all new members are encouraged to get in touch with a more experienced speaker to be their mentor.

I was toying with the idea of joining a public speaking training for a while by then. Many people told me that I am a good speaker, but it all was more intuitive than planned. I was interested in systematising my approach and using it as an effective tool in my practice. Maybe even training people in public speaking myself down the road. Beyond that, I developed in recent years the longing to share my story with a broader audience. As trainer and facilitator, my role is more neutral and passive, but I also wanted to put myself out there and speak about topics that matter to me.antenna-503044-unsplash

So why I am sharing this with you here? As I mentioned in my last week’s post, I want to widen the scope of Affective Facilitation to give all my interest a home in it. Also, I believe Public Speaking is strongly connected with Facilitation as practice. We as facilitator stand in front of groups and speak all the time. To communicate effectively and efficiently is a crucial skill for us. We are not of any help to our participants when they can not understand the meaning and purpose of our input or questions.

Therefore, besides sharing the speeches that I will give at our Club meeting, I will share tips and tricks for public speaking, other fantastic speaker’s journey, and how to use public speaking in our facilitation work.

Are you fond of public speaking or do you prefer to be in the audience? What do you always wanted to know about public speaking? Leave me your answers in the comments below.

Love and appreciation!

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Toastmaster Tuesday will be a bi-weekly instalment. So you can expect the next TT on Tuesday the 13th of November.

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Where we go from here

Ufff, it has been a while since I wrote here last time. I had a rough summer, but also I felt kind of stuck with Affective Facilitation. I enjoyed writing this blog a lot but just focussing on facilitation and education made me feel caged in. I struggled to sit down and write even, so I had a long list of topics scheduled. With every week I did not write it became worse. The guilt of not posting added to the pressure. I was about to give up on Affective Facilitation…

Last week, I sat down with my flatmate, and we had a conversation about where we wanted to develop professionally. I shared my thoughts about this blog with him. My biggest issue with posting here is that how it is set up now, I am only focussing on the facilitation niche. That feels not enough!

I am not just passioned about facilitation but also about arts and crafts, politics, languages, cooking, public speaking, activism, painting, self-care, mental health, chronic illness, communication, mathematics, and and and and…

Therefore, I decided to open up Affective Facilitation to other topics as well. I will still look at them from the holistic approach that is inherent in my approach to Affective Facilitation and how these topics can contribute to a person’s life and the greater global community.

Of course, the main focus of Affective Facilitation remains on my work as Trainer, Facilitator and Visual Practitioner. These practices were the reason why started this blog and which I aim to develop into a sustainable profession for myself. There are an endless amount of topics I still want to write and discuss with you about. So this topic will remain and most likely represent the main content.

The first topic I want to add is Arts and Crafts. Who follows me on social media, knows that I am an avid Bullet and Art Journal user and I want to bring that to this blog as well. I am thinking of sharing tutorials, plan with me’s, video and so on. Currently, I am toying with the idea of creating my own journals and maybe offering them for sale.

As a third topic, I want to offer my public speaking a home at Affective Facilitation. I recently joined Toastmasters International and would like to share my journey here. As public speaking is firmly connected to facilitation work, I think it will represent a strong enrichment of my content here. I plan on sharing both my speeches and what I learn along my way with you here.

And there is think pieces. This topic is a placeholder for all the other issues that are burning on my mind. Some of them will be more political, others about books, music or films and others about living with chronic pain and mental health issues. I want to keep that open for whatever comes up and catches my interest.

So how will I do this? I plan to dedicate certain days to one topic. For now, the writing regarding facilitation will stay on Wednesday as you are used to so far. For next week, I plan to introduce the Toastmaster Tuesday additionally. This is meant to be a biweekly series in which I speak about my public speaking journey.

So, what do you think? Do you like the new approach of Affective Facilitation? Are there topics you would like me to write about?