This is the fifth of a multi-part series.
Source: Rotary Down Under, regional magazine of Australia, March 2020
Trying Out – Keep learning new things
“As long as you live, keep learning how to live.” - Seneca
Learning affects our well-being in lots of positive ways. It exposes us to new ideas and helps us stay curious and engaged. It also gives us a sense of accomplishment and helps boost our self-confidence and resilience. There are many ways to learn new things throughout our lives, not just through formal qualifications. We can share a skill with friends, join a club, learn to sing, play a new sport and so much more.
We’ll Toast to That
By PDG Euan Miller, Partnerships Director, Rotary Club of Norwood, South Australia
Have you wondered why you can communicate effectively with your friends, how you can read responses in their eyes and influence their actions; yet when you are asked to speak to a group or a crowd, you find it difficult to do this without notes and find it impossible to measure whether your message is getting through? Not to mention the jelly in the legs and butterflies in the stomach!
Rotary has found a solution to help you by signing a partnership with Toastmasters International. Toastmasters, like Rotary, is club-based, American in origin, but now in 143 countries, and formed in the same year, 1905. However, it was ahead of Rotary when clubs began admitting women in the early 1970s and membership today is around 50/50 in most clubs.
Toastmasters has 1100 clubs across Australia, New Zealand and Oceania, with the majority in urban centres. They meet fortnightly and provide intensive instruction and practise in not only public speaking, but also effective communication and leadership, which includes mastering 300 competencies.
As part of the partnership, Toastmasters will develop eight structured communication and leadership development courses for Rotarians phased in throughout 2020.
From a club perspective, we are encouraged to form a relationship with a Toastmasters club in the same locality to explore opportunities of mutual benefit.
The Rotary Club of Norwood, SA, already has two mutual members with Adelaide Toastmasters club and encourages official visits of each other’s club meetings.
Each Toastmasters meeting involves every club member every meeting – there are no bystanders allowed. If you are not giving a four to six-minute timed speech, you will be speaking impromptu for two to three minutes, or you will be chairing the meeting, timekeeping or evaluating every presentation. This intensive, unrelenting practice, in a very supportive environment, soon shows noticeable improvements in each member’s skills.
Many rural and regional clubs will find it difficult to find a partner club. Here, the Rotary district can step in and arrange for links, especially for training and hosting the proposed courses.
I can assure you it does work. Before I became a Rotarian, I was a member of Dunedin Toastmasters for only two years. Within that period, I developed sufficient proficiency to win one of the Toastmaster national speaking awards. This is a partnership that will offer enormous benefit to Rotarians.