Viewpoint: The Courage to Conquer Tough Times!

Viewpoint: The Courage to Conquer Tough Times!

A message from our International President

I recently received an e-mail from Immediate Past District 14 Governor Joy Lewis. Part of it read, “The troubled economy will undoubtedly take its toll on our clubs, but I think troubled times are the prime time for Toastmasters. We all need to take time in this downturn to think of self-improvement. We shall certainly have to promote that aspect of the Toastmasters experience.”

Troubled times are the prime time for Toastmasters! Evidence of that is an article I saw the other day in The Wall Street Journal. It showed a photograph of a man and described him as an attorney, recently out of work. To give himself an edge, he had enrolled in a speech class at a local community college.

During one of my district visits I was speaking with a man at the Midland, Michigan, chamber of commerce. He was sharing with me how he had asked a very successful business executive how he had done so well. The executive responded, “I learned to articulate my thoughts effectively.” Wanting to know more, the man asked how he accomplished that. The executive answered, “I joined Toastmasters.”

I was watching the television game show Wheel of Fortune the other day and heard the host, Pat Sajak, ask one of the contestants a question. This contestant was a recent college graduate, fresh on the job search. She provided such a quick, articulate response that Mr. Sajak actually made a big deal out of the fact that she had not been briefed on the question and was so articulate in her response that anyone looking for someone in her field should give her a call! That’s what the ability to think on your feet will do for you. That’s what Table Topics will do for you! How many people looking for jobs today need that skill?

Stanford University research tells us something we already know: A person’s business success is only 20 percent attributable to his or her technical competencies; the other 80 percent is a result of personal competencies, which include communication skills. We offer what people need – especially in troubled times!

Unfortunately, often when times are tough, many people pull back on any activity they consider non-essential, including Toastmasters meetings. But Toastmasters is absolutely essential! Now is the prime time for us to encourage anyone we know who could benefit from Toastmasters training to stay a member or become a member. Effective communication and leadership skills, along with self-confidence, are the attributes that will give anyone an edge. Today a lot of people need that edge. No one develops those attributes like Toastmasters. Now is the prime time for Toastmasters to give everyone The Courage to Conquer Tough Times!

Jana Barnhill, DTM, Accredited Speaker
International President