Build your confidence with us

Dear friends,

My name is Bruce Yu, and I’m the current President of Buddies Online Toastmaster Club. Days ago, our Vice President of Public Relations invited me to write something about communication and leadership skills which we’ve been practicing in Buddies. I’ve been thinking of what my essay should cover and how to help you learn more about Buddies.

As you may know, Toastmaster International is a non-profit organization and it mainly provides a positive and supportive learning experience to all its members to improve their public speaking skills and transform them into leaders. It has thousands of online, offline and hybrid clubs, Buddies is one of them, an online club.

I believe if you are here reading this, you would probably be interested in what Buddies can support its members to grow and how it can transfigure its members into excellent speakers and powerful leaders. So finally I’ve decided to share my personal observation to tell you how amazing it feels to be a buddy.

There are 4 advantages Buddies has to help its members grow rapidly and professionally.

1. A professional educational system

Toastmaster International provides a comprehensive and systematic educational system that helps its members to accelerate their professional and personal growth. Once becoming a member of Buddies, you will be able to access all materials on the Toastmaster International website to soar in your chosen path.

2. A team of encouraging and supporting officers

In order to maintain good meeting quality and steady members’ growth, Buddies officers aim to meet the members’ skill building needs. Buddies provides various programs to boost members’ morale and solve members’ problems, including but not limited to mentoring programs, diverse workshops, speech-a-thons, speech contests and many more.

3. A stress-free environment

Members are provided with a positive and supportive learning environment so that they can practice and learn from their mistakes. Learning from mistakes is a faster way to master new skills. During meetings, speakers are given valuable feedback from evaluators and the audience, so they can grow accumulatively and steadily.

4. Other supportive services

We have created a series of services to assist all the members along with their journey in Buddies.

a) A speech scheduling system, in which members can sign up as a speaker, evaluator or a meeting facilitator;

b) An effective communication platform, where members can communicate without abrasion, share ideas, and practice impromptu speaking skills.

 c) Meeting invitations and meeting minutes: members would receive an invitation before each meeting to prepare relative information to the meeting theme and a meeting minutes after every meeting to recap, most importantly, meeting recordings would be shared among members to review and refine their skills.

Are you expecting to have such an amazing experience with us?

Are you eager to grow yourself in a vibrant circumstance?

Are you ready to explore the fun and learning something new with us?

You are welcome to join our meetings and enjoy the time with us!

Written by Bruce Yu

Visualize your path across all domains, including oratory

Powerful visualization. I fancy those words. Just the mere syntactical representation impresses the underlying meaning. Linguists refer to such words as autological. “Powerful” sounds powerful. “Visualization”, likewise, immediately acquires some multi-dimensional aspect.

Visualize something you desire. Really strain to construct a strong visual. It’s a strain on only your imagination. It will cause you no harm. Be content. But do that, and you will, in all likelihood, attain it.

The key lies in the visual. The strength must be such that it becomes very realistic. And whatever reality preceded quickly becomes legacy.

Now. The merits of a powerful visualization apply as much to your communication abilities as to anything else.

In Toastmasters meetings, I observe much speech critique. The evaluation role, in fact, is among my favorites. Gesture less, gesture more, gesture meaningfully, modulate or calm that voice, slow down, increase the pace, pronounce that differently. I’ve heard such words, and many others of purpose. I’ve said them myself.

But I believe such critique secondary in impact. Secondary to what the speaker really desires, or rather, to the visualization the speaker domesticates.

Not every speaker carries a visual. I can understand that. Many don’t know what they really want besides to better speak. That notion of ‘better’ commonly associates with characteristics of generally accepted public speech. But what does that mean to you?

You might identify certain role models as exemplary public speakers. Perhaps you’ve become accustomed to watching seminars of your preferred success coach, whose communication traits you identify with effective communication. Or maybe you defer to motion pictures as a model for impactful deliveries.

As for myself, I experiment with varying presentation styles, some of which have notably deviated from my genuine preference for ‘less is more.’ I prefer less overall motion for greater energy concentrated in the face and vocals. Note, I emphasize energy, not volume.

With that in mind, I’m seeking to scale back down to the minimal of gestures. And then reiterate, transitioning from one extreme to the other as the two trajectories gradually converge.

On the flip side, not only do I find myself lacking certain affinity for meaningful gesturing, but don’t particularly appreciate gestures in general. I don’t have the desire to adapt that presentation method as a permanent characteristic, be it considered indisputable in effective communication. Nor do I seek to capture grand audiences with sensational oratory. My ambition I focus on a more intimate scale.

Each type of stage caters to a subset of presentational qualities, not all universal. And each effective speaker best conveys a style not necessarily held as a standard. It’s about what works for you. And the more parameters you conceive around what you want, the easier you’ll arrive at a concrete visual.

My strongest visuals of effective speech I identify with reserved yet impacting figures. Have you watched the early film noir of Hitchock, Wilder, or Goulding? You would often observe a personage to hardly move a muscle or blink, yet transmit raw, explosive energy; energy seemingly concentrated above the neck, but originating from deep within. This approach is by no means exclusive to traditional cinema, but I more associate it with that period. The technique represents what I arrived to identify as the strongest visual of a powerful speaker. And consequently I find it most natural to assimilate.

The visual may originate from even a literary source. If created with sufficiently descriptive finesse, a character can evoke an image of colossal impact. You can realistically imagine this person, with all the corporal and vocal particularities.

Once you have the visual firmly welded, you may still find your physical self misaligned. I certainly experience this to varying extent. But fear not. It will arrive with time. You will converge with your visual if it’s one you believe in. Be persistent, and return to the visual daily. Make it a ritual. Whatever your pursuit, have a visual.

Written by Vitaly Parnas