Involvement At Emerald: Toastmasters Cleveland Club
Toastmasters, an international organization, seeks to improve leaders in communication through speaking and leadership skills. Here at Emerald Resource Group, Lead IT Sourcer Alex Krusinski is a proud member and Vice President of Public Relations for the Toastmasters Cleveland Club.
He shares his insights in an interview:
What went down at Toastmasters?
I was encouraged to attend Toastmasters by Mark Krusinski, in regards to fine tuning my leadership skills. I was a guest at Toastmasters for some time until I was invited to join the community. On my first day, I volunteered to speak in part of the meeting. My speech “What’s In My Closet” was received with much laughter, and the audience found it riving. That is when I realized that I could draw much value from being a member of Toastmasters. I eventually was able to give an icebreaker speech as well.
What’s an icebreaker speech?
The icebreaker speech is the first speech in a set of ten for all Toastmasters to complete. It’s a speech to introduce yourself to the group with no real pressure in terms of speech structure. For some it’s the most difficult, for others it’s the easiest. For me, I found it to be rewarding because it reiterated what I uphold most in life: the challenge of accomplishing goals. I spoke about my family and how they have always driven my goals. Their encouragement has molded me so that I am a person looks to exceeding my potential and reaching that next step in life.
How important is communication in a leadership position?
Being in a leadership position, you are not just worried about yourself. Those that surround you are looking to you for feedback, for innovation, and for the next big step to take. And this is done in how the leader communicates. It is the vessel in which the leader’s ideas, goals, and attitude are expressed to the team. If these are not effectively communicated to all the members of the team, the message can begin to crumble, we lose hope, and the idea is not executed. Communication is vital if a leader is seeking the support he or she needs in paving a new path.
What is one takeaway that you suggest to those seeking to improve their speech?
The most important thing is thinking before you speak. It sounds very simple, but evaluating your sentences before you say them helps you to think, “Okay, will the people I’m speaking to understand this in the clearest way possible? Or is there something I can change to communicate with them in a smoother transition?”
What is the one thing you enjoy the most about going to Toastmasters?
One thing I really like about Toastmasters is how much they value time. We are there for 55 minutes, and within that timeframe there is no fluff whatsoever. The meeting is constructed down to the last minute, which I am very impressed with; we are given an itinerary sheet and each part of the meeting is broken down by minutes to very strict timetables, in which we always uphold. To me, I appreciate Toastmasters recognizing that our time is extremely valuable and every time I go I know I am getting the most out of that hour. I encourage anybody to come check us out, Thursdays at noon on the second floor of the Cleveland Public Library – it’s free of charge!
Interviewed by: Sierra Prinzbach, Emerald Resource Group Intern