January 7 was the first day of the seminar series we had with priests and seminarians of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan. 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!
Today, we are challenged to 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. When we had our Day 2 for the seminar series with the priests and seminarians in Dagupan, I gave the session on 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 feedback given to us. If nothing is given, let us ask for it.
While the general rating I had that day was good, I greatly appreciated also those participants who 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 were 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 to his wife. 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 (now Area Director), Virgil Garcia (now Division G Director), DTM Bubut Leano, DTM Beng Garcia (Immediate Past Division G Director), Jonathan Myl (Immediate Past Area Director) and Terry Ann Ravelo (Immediate Past 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!
Live your life, young mind!
(Chris Dao-anis aims to empower his fellow young minds with practical instruction and inspiration in the fields of communication and personal leadership. He is an author, trainer and speaker. For talks, seminars and speech coaching, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His latest book ‘Living Large in the Little Things’ is available at Mt. Cloud Bookshop, Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Road and at Psalms Bookstore (at Sunshine) in Baguio City. Other options are available at www.chrispoweracademy.com/livinglarge.)