Where has the summer gone? I had to check my calendar twice to ensure it really is September. I recall having great plans in the spring to be completely ready for fall activities, including the start to my Headliner’s Toastmasters meetings. I even fantasized about having a few speeches ready for September. Well back to reality…..
Even though I didn’t have any speeches prepared, it was great to reconnect with my group. We discussed our plans for the upcoming year, while munching on snacks and reminiscing about the summer.
Many people participate in Toastmasters to improve their public speaking skills. While this is an important benefit of Toastmasters, the greatest reward for me has been the improvement of my professional communication skills. I now recognize the importance of being prepared for meetings and don’t rely on my faulty memory to express important points. Appearing prepared and communicating in a professional manner builds creditability with your employer, colleagues, clients, and social groups.
I use to be the “umm” and “ah” queen. Now I express myself clearly using short pauses instead of torturing my listeners with long “ummmms”.
I will continue to participate in my weekly Headliner’s Toastmasters meetings to further polish and sharpen my communication and leadership skills. If you would like to see what a meeting is about and meet a friendly, supportive group for an hour each week, let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org or 204-988-1866).
A couple of weeks ago, I attended my Headliners Toastmaster’s meeting in the Women’s Enterprise Centre boardroom (I don’t even have to go outside into the snow to get to these meetings!). My fellow Toastmaster Glenn Bunston delivered an excellent presentation about his finance background, work experience and education. During his speech, he informed us that although it is possible to mathematically calculate and measure risk using sophisticated formulas, risk most certainly can’t be controlled.
His comment reminded me about all the work that goes into the development of a business plan. A business plan is a living document that explains the enterprise, identifies the business goals, and explains how these goals will be achieved. It also is a tool the entrepreneur can use to forecast potential risks, and minimize the consequences should those risks occur. While it is impossible to identify all potential risks and future problems, a business plan is an excellent tool to help a business owner calculate risk and avoid as many pitfalls as possible. A solid business plan is one element in an entrepreneur’s formula for success!