Come join a Toastmasters club!
Heard of Toastmasters? Ever wondered what it was?
Did you know that we now have the first Toastmasters company club in Unilever in Europe set up at URDV in Vlaardingen? Here is a personal story about one of the founding members of our club “Unilever Toasties” and information about clubs you can visit.
“My Toastmasters experience” by Chiharu Inoue, Research Scientist in Vlaardingen
Several years ago I joined Rotterdam Toastmasters club. My terrible fear and stress when speaking to an audience gradually relaxed through practicing at twice monthly meetings and I gained much more confidence since then. I even performed on the stage of a public speaking event ‘Pechakucha20x20’. Beside my Toastmasters friends, my colleagues also noticed that my presentation skills significantly improved at work. In Toastmasters meetings, a person is able to practice all elements of public speaking at their own pace (e.g. body language, speaking with objects, getting to the point, etc.) and additionally work on their improvisational speaking abilities.
I further realized and appreciated that Toastmasters offered me skills to organize and facilitate various events. With my new skills, I was able to organize many charity events, together with Japanese friends in The Netherlands, to help people after the March 2011 horrific earthquake in Japan. These events required communicating with various people and applying different leadership skills such as time management, motivating people, team building and so on.
From my experience, I think Toastmasters is a fantastic opportunity for UEN members to improve self-confidence with communication and leadership skills, as well as meet new people in a friendly and supportive environment. And this is also one of the reasons why 3 years ago I took up the challenge of setting up a company Toastmasters club at URDV with the help of another colleague who is a long-term Toastmaster (Mia Benjamin). With currently around 20 members (there is still space for many more members!), we are helping fellow Unilever colleagues develop themselves professionally, often in agreement with their line managers and personal development plans. A truly fantastic win-win situation for Unilever and the company’s employees!