Toastmasters—10 Years Of Developing Communication And Leadership Skills In Nigeria
The Eagle and Seaside Toastmasters Clubs Nigeria, Nigerian chapters of Toastmasters International, a capacity building, skills for communication and leadership development organisation, has inaugurated a new set of executives that will take charge of leadership for the next one year.
At the Change of Guard and Presidents Night ceremony held in Lagos recently, the Immediate Past President of the Seaside Toastmasters Club, Mr. John Onuminya commended the founding fathers of the club particularly the Charter President, Ambassador Vincent Okobi, for taking up the task to kick start the journey, saying that the seeds planted were beginning to yield fruits. He added that the arrival of the clubs came at the right time considering the enormous leadership deficit bordering Nigeria as a country.
The new President, Seaside Toastmaster Club, Ms. Blessing Momah who lauded the efforts of Past Presidents for bringing the club to such enviable heights urged members to remain committed, noting that there is more work to be done to reach the golden promise. According to Blessing, the task needed to build a stronger and a virile club requires greater support not only from the talented team that constitutes the executive but also all members of the club.
On her part, the President of the Eagle Toastmasters Club, Miss Oyin Egbeyemi who was full of excitement having being crowned the leader of her team explained that the responsibility now falls on members to elevate the campaign and sensitisation by ensuring that Nigerians and corporate organisations tap into the potential that can be achieved through this initiative. She stressed that the impacts of the club are obvious as it has not only helped in enhancing oral communication and leadership skills of members but also improve their self confidence and personal growth. Egbeyemi who narrated her transition to become a competent communicator, said in time past, she always conquered private victories which came only in the form of written examinations in the past when she was not required to interact with people, noting that with the support of the club, she has come to realize the value of public victories which reflect leadership skills that are offered by
Toastmasters Clubs through conducting meetings, hosting events and participating in teamwork.
Specifically, she pointed out many employers now place much value on oral communication and leadership skills as against what used to be the norm when greater emphasis were placed on technical skills, an indication that lend credence to the role and influence of Toastmasters International. She also explained that corporate organizations can also benefit from Toastmasters if their employees undergo the training programmes for developing communication and leadership skills, which would translate to better client relationships, workplace effectiveness and overall brand improvement. Companies are encouraged to send their employees to Toastmasters Clubs or can even set up their very own Corporate Clubs.
Charter President, Toastmasters Club, Ambassador Vincent Okobi, who is the originator of the initiative in Nigeria said "It has been a good journey so far", stating that the impact of the club has been quite tremendous as many organizations and individuals are beginning to attest to skills offered. Okobi who cited himself as one good example of the success stories noted that the skills, which he had acquired, had helped, in no small measure, to deliver presentations with ease.
He said” It is an international organization that prides itself as a body concerned with communication and leadership development. Toastmasters International has posted an increase in membership every year since 1994 and now has more than 332,000 members, 15,400 clubs and a presence in 135 countries. It is an organization that has been in existence in Nigeria for ten years with 26 local chapters.We're excited that more people than ever before are benefitting from Toastmasters' proven programmes and as the organization continues to expand locally and globally, even more people will have the opportunity to join Toastmasters and improve skills that are vital inside and outside of the workplace."
“We have seen a great deal of improvement in the communication skills of young men and women who have been part and parcel of this club. They have improved tremendously through these skills that Toastmasters provides. There is nothing as joyous as hearing that your communication skills have improved, made possible through the Toastmasters programmes”.
Okobi emphasised that with a club such as this, there was no doubt that the leadership deficit in Nigeria may become a thing of the past.
He said” There is no entry requirement whatsoever. The point is that at any stage you realize that you have to communicate or lead, either in your community, country or workplace, you can do it better if you have the skills to do it well. There are a lot of people with something upstairs but really do not know how to reveal it to the world. Toastmasters provides the opportunity to do justice to that in a supportive environment".
“I am a living example of the successes. I was a member of the just concluded 2014 Confab where I made series of presentations. That is one area where the skills come into play and you do this without fear or stage fright”.
Other highlights of the event included networking sessions and awards presentations to distinguished members of both the Eagle and Seaside Toastmasters Clubs.