If you ask for buzzwords in today's business world, you'll always hear the terms "networking" and "communication". This weekend I had the pleasure of attending a convention dedicated to both these concepts.
Nearly ten years ago I stepped tentatively into my first Toastmaster meeting, somewhat assured that I was a good communicator but far less confident that I was ready for what was involved. I've never been disappointed that I made the decision to hand over my money and begin my journey. As a business owner, the knowledge and practice I've had in communicating my message has opened doors to work opportunities; as an individual, I've learned how to express my thoughts more clearly. I've even gained the confidence I formerly lacked when setting personal boundaries.
Above everything else, though, has come the realization that when it comes to conveying any message it's the ability to touch the hearts as well as the minds that really matters. Case in point: the winner of the weekend's international speech contest was an older gentleman, a successful businessman and experienced speaker. He wowed the audience with his presentation. The third place winner, by contrast, has been a Toastmaster for less than six months, was in his twenties and just beginning his professional career. He was loud and expressive. His message left us with mouths opened and hearts touched deeply.
I came home determined to keep learning but even more, to set my heart on living in such a way that the words I say are authenticated by the life I live.
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my [firm, impenetrable] Rock and my Redeemer." (Psalm 19:14 - Amplified Version)
PS: I'm giving a speech tomorrow evening, time to go practice vocal variety and body gestures.