The link between writing on Medium and Toastmasters

My Toastmasters Series – Part I

Until a couple of years ago, I wasn’t particularly passionate about blogging. I was reading articles on Medium every now and then to learn new things, but I would never consider myself as someone who had anything interesting or innovative to share. But then in the last two years, something has changed and I have been publishing articles every couple of months.

So what’s changed? What convinced me to open up and share my thoughts, feelings and passions with the community?

In 2019, I only published two articles on things I had learned and done at work, mostly related with the Lean principles, one of my passions. However, the biggest change happened in 2020.

Towards the end of 2019 I started questioning myself and my public speaking skills. I thought I was OK delivering a presentation but I definitely didn’t consider myself a good speaker. And I didn’t think that was good enough for someone who was trying to grow as a leader. As someone who strongly believes in the concept of growth mindset and someone who’s extremely passionate about feedback culture, Toastmasters was the perfect solution for me.

Photo by Marcos Luiz Photograph on Unsplash

At the beginning of 2020, I joined a Toastmasters club, West London Speakers, who meet every fortnight in a pub close to where I live and work. Well, that was before the pandemic. Now, like everything else, it’s on Zoom. I will explain in more detail what Toastmasters is in my next post, but in a nutshell becoming a member of a Toastmasters club gives you continuous opportunities to flex your public speaking muscles as well as practice your leadership skills.

As a member, during 2020 I delivered 9 prepared speeches. Public speaking is a lot about vulnerability. You have to stand in front of a crowd (or a laptop camera) and talk about stuff that you have no idea if anyone in the audience will find any interesting or useful. And I prefer to go “all-in” which means in every speech I always share stories from my own experience, sometimes just something happened at work, other times something more personal.

What I learned is that people love personal stories. I also learned that although the topics I was talking about in my speeches were common topics, I was presenting them in a personal and innovative way, with a different angle, my angle. And this was something my fellow toastmasters liked.

In addition to that, when I prepare for a speech I like to write a script, so I thought I could just slightly tweak the language of my scripts and publish them as Medium posts. This allowed me to publish 6 more Medium articles in 2020 on a number of different topics.

In this post I’ve told you the story of how I ended up being a “blogger”. This is the first of 8 posts I am going to publish over the next couple of weeks on the topic “Toastmasters”. Whether you know what Toastmasters is or not, if you have an interest in public speaking and leadership or simply an interest in learning and self-development, in this series you will learn more about Toastmasters, why you should consider joining a club, a few tips on public speaking and of course you will learn a bit about me.

Stay tuned for my following post in a couple of days!

Passionate engineering manager with a strong technical background and a genuine interest in Agile leadership and Lean principles. Musician as a hobby.

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