Post written by Moira Beaton DTM, Vice President Public Relations
This series of ‘Toastmasters Journeys’ is meant to help, inspire, amuse and give courage to those who are setting out on their own journey, or those who have been on the journey and have faltered along the way and need picking up.
Neil MacLure ACB CL has been a member of Toastmasters for 12 years. He was a member of Capital Communicators in Edinburgh until 2009 when he co- founded Waverley Communicators with Moira Beaton.
Here is his story:
It has taken me more than a few years to get to Advanced Communicator Bronze, mainly because in my early years I put a lot of effort into leadership roles at the expense of making progress in my own speaking.
When my duties were eventually over, I even considered not renewing my membership. I became a sometime member instead of a regular member.
Then I read an article by the international president Michael Notaro in the September 2011 Toastmaster about building a better personal brand.
“Are you a a reliable consistent Toastmaster?” he asked.
No I wasn’t.
He went on “nothing kills a brand like sporadic bursts of activity interspersed with extended absences” .
I realised then that I was only letting myself down. So I began to attend the meetings more regularly.
At the same time my good friend Eu Jin Teh challenged me to complete my Advanced Communicator Bronze by June 2012. It was the push I needed and I am grateful for that degree of caring in Toastmasters.
The Bronze Award
I found every speech project from the Entertaining Speech and Storytelling manuals challenging in that they all had different goals requiring a specific approach, i.e. specific type of content or style of speaking.
None of them were particularly comfortable to prepare and my mentor Moira had to keep me on track in line with the project objectives and away from my comfortable track where I was prone to wander.
It has been a satisfying journey. I have learned new skills and it has reinforced, for me, the power of maintaining a mentor relationship throughout the journey.
What is next for me?
My next two manuals are Interpretative Reading and Speciality Speeches.
I know I still have basic issues to deal with, such as poor voice varaition, even after being a member for 12 years and I am considering redoing some of my earlier speech projects in an attempt to polish these up.