Learn and Grow

Tanya Hall, DTM
Program Quality Director

Do you recall the day you learned to tie your own shoes? You were getting ready for kindergarten and the prerequisite was to be able to tie your shoes. Countless hours of practice went into it: “Over, under, pull it tight, Make a bow, Pull it through to do it right,” and then one day it happened, and you were off to school!

Learning and growth is all around us and is met with countless hours of practice. We don’t have to be in school to learn, we just have to be open to receive the lessons. Recently I was having a one-on-one with my boss and he asked about my Toastmasters journey. He knew I had recently completed my second Distinguished Toastmaster and he asked me if I felt I was still learning. I simply said, “yes,” and thought the conversation was done but he wanted to know more. This led to a great conversation!

I shared with him how the program is built to provide growth and learning no matter what level you are at. It wasn’t just about giving speeches. Learning opportunities occur when we take on different meeting roles. I stressed that these skills can be applied to both our personal and professional lives.

I think we take for granted the lessons that we can learn from the meeting roles. When I am General Evaluator, I am managing a team of evaluators. After listening to their individual reports, I provide them with feedback to help them get better. This involves improving my effective listening skills and delivering effective feedback, both crucial for my team at work and at home.

The role of timer helps me understand what 1-2 minutes or 5-7 minutes feels like. We don’t have time cards following us around in our lives outside of Toastmasters, but knowing what the time range feels like can help us learn when we have talked too much or too little. It also teaches you appreciation for time management. Starting on time and ending on time – this small detail respects everyone’s schedule in a world where we suddenly have more meetings. Keeping our day on time is key to having a work / home balance.

As a Toastmaster, I develop my listening and time management skills, sure, but more importantly, my motivating and inspiring skills. From delivering opening remarks that set the tone for the meeting to that last minute prep –encouraging or inspiring someone to take on a meeting role that they had not previously planned to do.

Tying our shoes was once hard, but after much practice, we now take it for granted. Have you taken your agenda roles for granted? Are there lessons in the meeting roles that you can re-learn, improve yourself with or inspire someone else? Learning is all about becoming a better version of ourselves, take your next step today!

Comments 2

  1. Hi Tanya:
    As usual, always well written. The ‘shoe lace’ metaphor allows your purpose to be very easily understood. As a personal comment, I did learn to tie my shoes to go to grade 1 – didn’t have kindergarten back then. In my second year of university I learned the double bow trick to stop the first bow from coming undone. Born is Nova Scotia – it’s a ‘down homer’ thing.

    Bye until the next time, Norm

  2. Hi Tanya,
    Thanks for clarifying that we do not just learn public speaking at Toastmasters! By taking on roles that teach us about listening, time management and motivating others, we definitely learn (without noticing it) how to become leaders. This is SO important, and like you mentioned it, we might take it for granted.
    Thanks for reminding us about all the enriching experiences we share at Toastmasters, which make us become better versions of ourselves,
    Caroline Tuchscherer
    VP. P.R. St. Lawrence Toastmasters

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