Pushed by the need to develop people’s communication and leadership skills, a non-profit educational organisation, Eagle Toastmasters Club, recently ended its year with an election and induction of new members into the club. Funmi Ogundare writes
Eagle Toastmasters Club, Lagos, an offshoot of Toastmasters International offers programme of communication and leadership projects, is designed to help people learn the arts of speaking, listening and thinking. The immediate past president of the club, Ms Oyindamola Egbeyemi said “It is an open door to anyone, in as much as we are an NGO, we do it in a professional way.”
Egbeyemi who disclosed this during a recent programme organised by the club, she said that table topic sessions were also held for impromptu speeches for members who were called at random to talk on different topics.
She said members do shy away from this session because they may not be prepared for it.
“We noticed that most of our guests shy away from this session, so it is a matter of just articulating your thoughts and giving your listeners something. That is what we get people to do. A few people just join the club, so we will be doing an induction ceremony for the new members and make them feel appreciated for making the commitment to join.”
She said this year, the club would establish clubs at cooperate organisations which will help people build their confidence at work, boost employees’ personal growth, improve the morale of the company and employees as well as boost communication between customers and clients, reinforce the skills within the employee, and knowing where to improve yourself, among others.
“It helps with leadership growth, team work, more productive teams and essentially producing better leaders. We have a few corporate clubs and there is one at GTE and Delta Afrique, and members continue to see the benefits of Eagle Toastmasters Club,” Egbeyemi said.
She noted that since she joined the club, five years ago, it has added value to her and even people within and outside it, saying, “I saw myself becoming a better leader and contributing towards something that will benefit others.”
Asked about the project she embarked on while she was president in the last one year, Egbeyemi said, “my tenure started in July last year, I wanted to make a more impactful difference to the club. Each position requires the length of one year, a new exco just came into power and they will serve for another year. For every year, you have to run a campaign and make a presentation and convince the members to vote for you, it’s not an automatic position, you have to earn it.
“Whenever I go out, people will talk about us and say! Oh that place that people give speeches? I wanted to make it more impactful not just about giving speeches but about building an all round leader. Communication is part of it, leadership is another integral part of it, so I started out last year with a president dinner, that was a large event which held at TLS, Ikoyi. It was well attended by a lot of corporate organisations as well as members; it was our way of launching the year.
“I wanted us to start the year with a bang so that we can create more awareness about the club, following that, I really wanted the excos to have a well put together inspiration programme and different activities that will keep our members excited. The reason is that members got bored from the same old meeting in the past so to spice up, we had a field meeting like family days, president night bazaar where we invited all our past presidents to give a speech and inspire members.”
On how the club monitors members’ development, Egbeyemi said it has two tracks; leadership and communication tract, each with its own specific project.
According to her, “on communication tract, for instance, you get the manual that has 10 projects with specific objectives that you are supposed to meet for instance, you introduce yourself to the club and say what you do, there are other projects that require you to use visual aid to present a speech.
“In a way, as much as it helps you build the technical capacity, it also allows you to think and develop content for your speech as well. We found out that many of our members eventually become public speakers and writers. It helps in career progression, benefit of Toastmasters are endless because it really depends on how you leverage on the club.”
Asked on what happens after her tenure, the immediate past president said, “once the president is out, though she is not completely out, the president becomes the immediate past president with an oversight role. I will be overseeing the new exco since I have the experience as the president for one year. For any decision that will be made, I will be part of it and continue to provide my support during meetings, get involved in the exco meeting and look for ways to improve the brand of the club. It’s not an abrupt end but a continuous process. I have enjoyed my tenure as president.”