Last January 7, the seminar series we are having with priests and seminarians began. Mike del Rosario, the leader and initiator, of this project opened Day 1 after Archbishop Socrates Villegas gave his welcome remarks. A lot has been said that day but I’d like to zoom in a statement from Sir Mike’s opening spiel.
He shared a story of when he joined Toastmasters in one of the clubs in Baguio City. He met several seasoned speakers and speech champions. He said, “I want to be like them.” But years later, he realized that he did not become like them. He rather became a better version of himself.
That struck me to the heart! And this year, I would like to challenge you to become better versions of yourselves. Giving you this challenge comes with the challenge that I am imposing upon myself, too. Let’s all become better versions of ourselves.
How then can we become better versions of ourselves? There could be a lot of ways. Let me share three today:
One, practice. Nothing beats doing the real thing. Over time, we become better. I can still remember the first talk I gave outside Toastmasters. I had a stack of papers with me as I spoke in front. I tried to impress them. I shared some stories but instead of telling them, I read them. Oh yes, it was terrible.
But I kept on and continued practicing. I delivered speeches and presentations inside and outside of Toastmasters. I have grown. I have progressed in my development. Last Thursday, we had our Day 2 for the seminar series with the priests and seminarians in Dagupan. I gave the session on “Crafting How to Say It” or the use of words in one’s speech. I was so happy because they said they learned a lot. They also said, “It was fun and engaging.” Now that was a significantly better one compared to the first talk I gave.
Thanks to those periods of practice.
Two, receive feedback. I heard someone say, “Evaluation is the breakfast of champions.” Meaning, if we want to win in the things that we do, we better learn from evaluations or feedbacks given to us. If nothing is given, we ask for it.
While the general rating I had last Thursday was good, I greatly appreciate because a number of the participants also took time to give suggestions for improvement. From that, I realized that I need to work on my facial expression. This comment was also given to me before – most probably when I am telling stories or throwing some punch lines.
In Toastmasters, after we deliver our speeches, we receive written and verbal evaluations. The evaluations would cover on the speech content, organization and delivery among others. In my five years of membership with this organization, I have grown and become better version of myself because of the constructive evaluations I have receiving through the years.
Three, surround yourself with people better than you. John Maxwell was once sharing that you better be in a growth environment and one of the indicators that you are in a growth environment is when you are surrounded by people better than yourself.
In this project that we are doing, I am so blessed that the project leader and initiator – Mike del Rosario – is a wise man and a speech champion himself. Aside from his skills in speaking, he is also a successful businessman and a happy husband (I suppose). With the team is his wife, Ms. Angie, who is his partner in business and in life. She is also a respected leader in the organization. They make a terrific tandem.
Part of the project team, aptly called by Sir Mike as Toastmasters for Christ, are managers and consultants in their corporate functions, experts in their fields and are competent speakers too: Lin Lapitan, Beth Chan, Daryl Ponard, Virgil Garcia (President of Pines City Toastmasters Club), DTM Bubut Leano, DTM Beng Garcia (Division G Director), Jonathan Myl (Area Director) and Terry Ann Ravelo (President of Baguio Funshine Toastmasters Club).
Working with them in this endeavor means learning from them as well.
Three simple things: practice, receive feedback, and surround yourself with people better than you. I shared these three and with illustrations in the field of public speaking, but these are not just confined in growing our communication skills. I’ve heard it from men and women of success: these apply to other areas of life too. You may be aiming to become better in school, in your company, or in your business – these could be of help.
Give it a try. Together, let’s become better versions of ourselves!
(Chris Dao-anis/CPA, as an author and speaker, helps aspiring and young professionals become better communicators and leaders. His first book ‘The Gift of the Ordinary’ is available at Mt. Cloud Bookshop, Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Road, Baguio City and in Central Bookstores (Cebu and Metro Manila). For seminars and resources, visit www.chrispoweracademy.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.)