To become a Toastmaster is to open the window to the world.

As Toastmasters, we have the window to the world opened to us.

History, agriculture, medicine, ideology, philosophy, psychology, etc., every culture from every continent, every art form conceived by humankind, the exploration of the seas and outer space, are all topics I have heard talks on in Toastmasters meetings and conferences.

When you open the window of Bangkok Toastmasters Club you can meet people from at least ten countries and most of the cultures of our world. You’ll hear wonderful tall tales and watch talented people speak extemporaneously with confidence, dignity and wisdom.

You will enhance your leadership and communication skills. You will end your day with gratitude for being part of an organization that encourages human achievement, understanding, and empathy. Then, you will go home and remember that day for the rest of your life.

The stories that grab me each week are the speeches contained in the weekly meeting agendas.

Each week, the meeting agenda includes at least three speeches.

Participants are at various stages in the Toastmasters experience. I am making my way through the first Pathways Path of the five levels of core competencies to achieve level 5 certification. Others have completed Competent Communication manual, have competed and won International and Evaluation Speech contests or are in the advanced tier. Their techniques are refined, but it’s the STORIES that tug at my heart.

This past week, Matt, our Club President, told a story entitled “Open,” for the specific purpose of evoking emotional responses by sharing anecdote about the effects of oil spills on birds and how his grandma nursing them back to health. He cited his grandma’s favorite quote: “Closed mouths don’t get fed.” The pearl of wisdom Matt is giving us is: “Stubborn minds learn nothing.” – Author anonymous.

Ajjima’s speech “Understanding Myself” told us her story of what happened leading to the decision to take the personality assessment provided by understandmyself.com. The results of the assessment help her understand her personality in great detail, and aid her substantially in her understanding of others.

Nawapon, in his speech “Communication with Aliens” talked about the different communication styles used by IT geeks and non-techies.He used the metaphor of a blank canvas. How does an empty canvas relate as a metaphor for communication styles? Communication is yours to do as you wish, meaning it is a blank canvas, you can decorate it with authenticity, love, empathy etc. You can also cover things up, make them look better or completely hide them but they are always a part of the painting. Understanding different communication styles and paying attention to which styles our teammates gravitate toward, can improve our interpersonal skills, build trust, and help us get more done with less frustration.

We each have a story. In fact, we have so many! Wrapped up in these stories is a world of wisdom that could be just the gem someone else needs to hear.

If you have never considered Toastmasters because you’re “not a speaker,” please don’t let that stop you. It is the imperfect but sincere and heartfelt stories that are massaging my heart and filling up my emotion tank week after week.

Our road to the life of our dreams? Let’s pave it with good and powerful intentions.

May we go forth with purpose and experience the joy of windows swinging open to our respective destinies.

Nuchanath Aumpradithpun Ph.D DTM

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