President Opening Speech
306th Regular Meeting
When my sister and I went to beaches, we usually went strolling very early in the morning to watch sunrise. Then, we would sit on the rock by the beach, heads on our knees, humming to the sound of the waves. What do you think we talk about between the two of us? Most of the time, it was nothing. Because that’s our idea of doing something together – enjoying each other’s company in silence.
I used to feel guilty about not being able to start conversation with strangers, or making the conversation longer. Some people join sales and marketing because they like talking or the prospects of unlimited income. But in my case, it is simply to force myself into being comfortable about talking to strangers.
A few months ago, I chanced upon a book with the title Quiet, written by Susan Cain. Susan Cain writes about introverts. She said that it is ok to be quiet. It is ok to be absorbed in a book. It is ok to not like participating in group discussion. That doesn’t mean one hates human company. One might prefer to listen than talk. And some people proved to be more creative and powerful when left alone.
When I first join Toastmasters, I thought communication is majorly about speaking, talking and commenting. I mean, I know that 60% of our communication happens non-verbally. But I’ve never really imagined it Toastmasters way. How can one be so confident when giving feedback, speaking before an audience, and voicing opinion, yet the same person is so humble when listening to junior Toastmasters, accepting feedback and casual conversation? Then, I made the decision that that is the kind of person I want to be. So I stayed in Toastmasters and had surprised myself so many times during the last few years.
My fellow friends,
Plot your own journey in Toastmasters. As you continue walking, or running, or maybe climbing, you might surprised yourself too of how much you can achieve and break your own mental barriers.