Meet Our Buddy: Irfan Ghaffar

Where are you from?

I was born in Pakistan.

Where do you live?

I live in Saudi Arabia.

What are your top 3 favorite activities?

My favorite activities are playing tennis, cricket and walking.

What brought you to Toastmasters?

I want to improve my public speaking skills.

Why Buddies?

I heard that Toastmasters club is the best place to improve public speaking skills. I googled online toastmasters club and selected Buddies because of its convenient timing. I found it better than my expectation because of professional meeting environment and nice and helpful buddies.

How much have you grown since your first Toastmaster meeting?

I have gain some confidence since I joined the club. I learned from the feedback about my weaknesses which I need to work on.

How is Toastmasters helping you in life?

It is a practice environment and people are from diverse backgrounds who are helping each other to improve and learn. This learning through teamwork is very helpful.

Who are your top 3 favorite speakers?

  • Steve Jobs
  • Martin Luther King
  • Barack Obama

What’s your top 3 favorite speeches?

I like all speeches of Steve Jobs. I am listing four favourite speeches below.

What kind of communicator and leader do you want to become?

I want to learn all style. However persuasive style is my favorite.

Where do you think you can go with Toastmasters in 12 months ahead?

I think I will be significantly better speaker in 12 months time.

Irfan Ghaffar

The Habitual Speaker

I’ve been wanting to create some good habits and ditch the bad ones as I looked back on the past year and realized how many of the bad ones I still struggled to detach from for years.

I just finished reading a great book on habits and am now thinking about how to build habits around improving as a speaker and leader. Although the book touches on a variety of examples around athletic training, specially olympians, whose lives are devoted to master very specific skills with the goal of reaching their peak performance. It wasn’t hard to imagine how to apply it on communication and leadership, something that I’ve been pursuing more purposefully for about 2 years now.

The book goes in much more detail about habits that I can ever share here in this tiny post, but the main one that stuck out to me the most is the four laws for building of breaking habits:

If the sound of that interests you, I recommend you check out the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear, and dive deeper into it.

When it comes to communication and leadership, specially Toastmasters and the places we might be focusing on implementing it. It can be easy for some people to aim for harder to build habits because they sound really good, though it doesn’t take long to start missing a day or two, as life unfolds and other things get our attention.

If I were to align the laws of good habit creation with Toastmasters, I’d say online meetings are the most obvious way it can get when it comes to honing your public speaking and leadership skills. Attractiveness can be based on the kind of people who are part of the same club that you aspire to be. Where if you join those meetings, you’ll more likely keep learning from those great inspiring and amazing speakers. Then, even if sometimes you don’t have the “perfect” speech prepared, you can still and should make the act of joining just for the sake of speaking on easier situations, even if it’s taking a smaller role that maybe you think it’s not as hard to you anymore, say the Timer or volunteering to answer a quick Table Topics question. As for making it satisfying, try to have as much fun with yourself as you can. There’s no right or wrong, good or bad when you’re in such a supportive and friendly environment as Toastmasters. Maybe you can tell yourself that you’ll go for a nice meal right after the meeting is over, or pull someone to the side and chat more about your goals and their goals, so you can keep learning from each other and building a stronger connection with your buddies and so on 🙂

These are just some quick examples I explored while sitting down to write this post, though I’m sure there are countless ways you can make the habit of joining your next club meeting without dreading it, and yet, even if you do. As the book teaches, we should go for it anyways because when building good habits, it’s important to suck up the “bad” or “boring” days and do it anyways, because the moment you stop doing something, it’s no longer a habit.

Meet Our Buddy: Hasitha

Interviewer Note: Hasitha is a member full of will and makes sure to get a chance to speak whenever he joins our weekly meetings. It’s great to get to know him more and get a sense of where he’s at on his journey and later on look back to see how far he was able to grow as a communicator and leader. I’m grateful to see Hasitha supporting our club as a member and can’t wait to hear more from his next speeches.

Where are you from?

Sri Lanka

Where do you live?

Sri Lanka

What are your top 3 favorite activities?

Playing Cricket, Reading books, Traveling

What brought you to Toastmasters?

fear of speaking

Why Buddies?

Friendly and helpful members on the club

How much have you grown since your first Toastmaster meeting?

50%

How is Toastmasters helping you in life?

office meeting its very helpful

Who are your top 3 favorite speakers?

• Peter D’Almeida

• Dananjaya Hettiarachchi

• Jack Ma

What’s your top 3 favorite speeches?

• An Ounce of Consciousness Is Worth a Ton of Creativity

• Dananjaya Hettiarachchi World Champion of Public Speaking 2014 – Full Speech

• GREATEST SUCCESS STORY

What kind of communicator and leader do you want to become?

CEO of my current company

Where do you think you can go with Toastmasters in 12 months ahead?

yes

A Decade with Toastmasters

That’s it, the last day of the decade is here. Ten years is a lot of time if you put into perspective, if anything can happen in a few seconds what can happen in a decade?

Well, the world keep spinning and no matter where you look, things are changing whether we want it or not. That’s definitely true for Toastmasters with over nine decades of countless speeches and helping people find leadership opportunities to help them develop and grow.

Let me ask you, have you ever been to a Toastmaster meeting only to find out someone sitting next to you is about ten years younger? If you’re a bit like me, you might also wonder – “ah, I wish I got into Toastmasters at his/her/their age. I’d be nailing it by now!”. While that could be true, it doesn’t deny the fact that the next ten years ahead of you can be used for the exact same purpose as if you’ve joined Toastmasters a bit younger.

The truth is, it doesn’t matter that much. What matters most is actually not even what you do in the next decade or the brand new year that’s ahead of us. It’s what you do today; right here, right now. Are you preparing for your next speech? Good. Are you jotting some ideas down for what you want your next message to be? Good. Are you practicing at home in front of the mirror or to your family members? Good.

This should not be a shocker to people, but being part of Toastmasters doesn’t make you any better at communication and leadership. Now, consistently joining meetings and devoting time to yourself, others and the community as a whole is what does. Whether it’s an OK speech, a good speech or an excellent one, or whether you’re the Timer at the meeting or some other role you’re not too excited about, it’s still something and that’s worth nurturing and celebrating. How else do you think Toastmaster became what we know of today? All thanks to people who showed up and supported in any way they could.

As far as the entire Toastmasters ecosystem goes, a lot has been done since Ralph C. Smedley founded this organization we appreciate so much. Below is a sample of what has been accomplished in the soon-to-be-last-decade:

https://www.toastmasters.org/about/history/timeline

Almost 100 years of Toastmasters and it took one man to believe in the power of his community and way after his passing on planet earth, we still benefit from something that started in a small room with a handful of man trying to improve their speaking skills. Let me repeat, it took only one man, one person, to believe and take consistent action. One speech at a time, one meeting at a time, making the best he could on a single day. That by itself is to be admired.

Let’s all make today a day for this community that’s been helping us so much, if we do that a bit each day, I assure you won’t regret when you look back a decade behind.

Thank you members and specially, thank you Smedley.

Meet Our Buddy: Tricia Grow

Interviewer Note: “Trish was one of the first speakers that stood out to me since day one at Buddies. While I still wasn’t sure whether online Toastmasters was for me or not, having her as part of our meetings gave me more certainty that I’d be surrounded by people with the skills I was looking for and eventually grow more. Thanks for all your support and commitment to our club, Trish.”

Where are you from?

Born in Rochester, Ny

Where do you live?

York Springs, PA

What are your top 3 favorite activities?

Reading, Speaking and Teaching

What brought you to Toastmasters?

I felt I needed to share my stories with others

Why Buddies?

Misako invite me to help boost this club and it’s still one of my favorite clubs

How much have you grown since your first Toastmaster meeting?

Leaps! I was not capable of speaking in front of more than a handful of people without feeling ill.

How is Toastmasters helping you in life?

It has grown my leadership skills, I feel more comfortable being in the lead

Who are your top 3 favorite speakers?

Darren Lacroix, Joyce Myers, Aaron Beverly (fellow District 38 member)

What’s your top 3 favorite speeches?

I have a dream; If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed; I see something in you

What kind of communicator and leader do you want to become?

A better one

Where do you think you can go with Toastmasters in 12 months ahead?

I hope to have competed in Paris at the 2020 International Speech contest!