Good leaders are good communicators – in person and online.

Your boss wanted you to give a product presentation to a client 300 miles away, and Skype was the only way to do it, will you be able to do it? Or here’s another scenario. You applied for a job and the employer wanted to conduct the interview through Zoom. Can you do it? Yes, definitely! Because we are Toastmasters. By attending club meetings, we have delivered prepared and unprepared speeches in front of an audience, and have taken meetings roles which all have developed our communication skills and confidence. Though these scenarios are not what we usually encounter in our weekly meetings, having the basic skill set can get us ready when that challenge comes.

But guess what? With technology taking the lead in business, the workplace, and even in education, our communication skills must also adapt with technology. We must be able to communicate with our clients, business partners, colleagues, classmates, and teachers with ease and comfort, not only in person or through Email, but through online video calling as well. With ease and comfort, we mean, being able to log-in the application, take a call, appear proper and relaxed, and communicate effortlessly to someone on the other line. Now, the question us, can you do that?

Maybe, nobody has ever thought about this before. Maybe one is not too anxious, or too anxious to do a speech online than to a live audience. Maybe one thinks he’ll never use online conferencing. Maybe one thinks this is not what Toastmasters is about. Maybe one thinks she will never use this skill in her life. BUT WHO KNOWS? With the virus situation we have now, everything has turned into digital and online. Online shopping, online bookings, online classes, online jobs, and most of all, online meetings!

Skype, Zoom and Hangouts for example bridge the gap between cities and countries for people to see and communicate with each other seamlessly. Most Toastmasters clubs use Zoom in their online meetings and have seen an added benefit to what they gain from Toastmasters. DTM Thanoo appreciates it because he can join club meetings anywhere in the world. “The more club meetings I’m exposed to, the deeper knowledge I acquire.” TM Nam has become aware on how she should appear on video. “I discovered my best video angle which I never knew I have.” TM Brian enjoys the company of other Toastmasters from other clubs in Europe and the Middle East. “Such exposure adds to my cultural understanding.” TM Rob whose startup has branches around Asia, has learned more about doing online meetings which he can use with his staff and partners. And finally, TM Michelle finds joy in video conferencing. The 70+ technology ignorant retired teacher has become tech savvy. “I will use zoom to talk to my grandchild in New York.” And so many other testimonials from Toastmaster members who are students, parents, professionals, entrepreneurs, retirees to name a few.

As Einstein once said that in every crisis, there’s an opportunity. Let’s explore what we can gain from online meetings to make our Toastmasters journey more memorable and fulfilling. Talk to your club president and check when is your next online meeting, and talk to your club treasurer this week to renew your membership before it’s too late. See you online!

By Brian Arthur Tallador, ACB/ALB
District PRM ’19-’20

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