In the Club
IW Chief Accountant Wood Chhy explains his newfound hobby
Let’s do this, I think
That would have never entered my mind had I not become a member of Beacon Advanced Communicators Toastmasters Club about seven months ago.
Instead, I would have thought, Are you kidding me?
My chosen profession is accounting. I love being an accountant, love numbers and love American history. As chief accountant, I take pride in overseeing our accounting department while working behind the scenes with our staff to ensure that Indianapolis Woman continues to provide quality products and services. I appreciate Laura Kruty, our managing editor, for providing me an opportunity to write about my newfound hobby –– public speaking.
Why of all things, have I chosen public speaking as my hobby? My wife, Sreymom, suggested I might actually enjoy it. I looked at her like she must be joking.
Sreymom knew I couldn’t care less about public speaking, let alone making it my hobby. Many people would rather die than give a speech, as the saying goes. She pointed out that I like American history and that I like to help make a difference in people’s lives. Most great leaders are great speakers; their voice is their link to greatness. Theodore Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr. were two of the best at using public speaking as a forum to deliver their messages.
My wife was on to something wonderful.
I decided to give it a try.
The mission of Toastmasters is to “provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every individual member has the opportunity to develop oral communication and leadership skills,” which foster self-confidence and personal growth.
I visited Beacon Advanced Communicators Toastmasters Club after searching online about public speaking. That night, I heard three speakers who blew me away. They entertained, excited and engaged me with their presentations. Their personal stories and humor stirred emotions.
I was immediately hooked and decided I wanted to be a part of it.
Beacon provides an excellent support system through mentoring and encouragement. Membership consists of professionals with various backgrounds who have been involved anywhere from two months to 20 years.
The world of public speaking
Of course, nothing worth pursuing always goes smoothly. A proverbial twist and turn always seems to await.
Picture a child who has fallen down on the floor while he or she struggles to learn how to walk. The child’s mother acts as a support system, encouraging him or her.
I am that child as I navigate the twists and turns of public speaking, and Sreymom is my support system. She’s always there to support, encourage and cheer me on. She is the pillar against my self-doubt and the motivational force in my life. She listens to all my speeches regardless of the topic.
My experience with public speaking has been very positive. I’ve discovered that I have many subjects about which I could speak. My messages usually focus on inspiring my audience to engage in positive activities. I know every time I’m scheduled to speak, I have an opportunity to excite and energize audience members to make a difference in their lives or their loved ones’.
I’ve made a lot more progress than I initially thought I would. The positive feedback and evaluation from our members invigorates me. The excitement of being told that I stepped out of my comfort zone and experimented with body language and vocal varieties feels fantastic.
I know I’ve turned the corner.
Beacon has met –– and exceeded –– its mission as far as I’m concerned. When I attend our weekly meeting, I feel like I’m among friends who have my best interests at heart. When I give a speech, they offer me valuable, practical feedback, like keeping eye contact, smiling and providing appropriate gestures. The club provides a positive atmosphere where anyone could succeed.
I look forward to my scheduled speeches and speech contests. I’ve participated, been a judge and attended advanced rounds of speech competitions. I would have never gotten involved in these activities had I not been exposed to Toastmasters.
My discovery of public speaking has been a delightful experience because it’s made me a more confident communicator. I enjoy attending business functions where I can better talk about the mission of Indianapolis Woman and that of my speaking club. I look forward to meeting people because I feel more comfortable in those situations.
Public speaking, what I once could never imagine as a hobby, is now something I actually look forward to.
Check it Out
I encourage you to visit Beacon Advanced Communicators Toastmaster Club in person or online. The club meets at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays in room C1202 of the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center downtown. Log on beaconadvancedcommunicators.toastmastersclubs.org.