Stefanie Schrauwen completed her 10th speech and with that she earned the Competent Communicator pin.
How did you learn about TM Fonske Leuven ? What was your motivation to join ?
About 3-4 years ago, Toastmasters Fonske Leuven gave a workshop at a PhD Society Leuven event. I attended this event and was inspired. Back then, I was very nervous when speaking in front of a large audience. So I wanted to improve my public speaking skills in a systematic way. Toastmasters was the perfect match.
Did you see a marked difference in your speaking as you progressed though the manuals ?
Yes. For each speech, you have to focus on a specific skill like vocal variety or body language. Toastmasters Fonske Leuven meets twice a month, so there are a lot of opportunities to practice. You also get inspired by other speakers. By presenting speeches at regular time intervals and with the support of the manual I improved my public speaking skills. Each speech is always evaluated by an evaluator and by the audience.
How important was that feedback in making you a better speaker ?
They gave very useful tips on how to improve. After several speeches, I grew in confidence and improved not only the presentation style but also the content. I learnt to get the listeners more attentive and to make my message clear and understood. Speeches should take only 5-7 minutes, and it is a challenge to deliver your core message in such a short time interval.
What do you like about TM Fonske Leuven ?
Toastmasters Fonske Leuven is a young and dynamic group. Members here have different backgrounds, work experiences, and nationalities. This makes the meetings very interesting, as you get to hear about a wide variety of topics. Toastmasters Fonske Leuven also organizes other activities like canoe trip and the yearly Christmas dinner. Furthermore, the group is very active at the contests of Toastmasters at Area/Division level. For each contest, members join as speakers or take on supporting roles as jury members. Participating in these contests is great, and you meet members of other clubs.
What are your future plans ?
In the future, I would like to continue to improve my public speaking skills. I am interested in story telling, advocating for a small group and communicating sensitive topics. Toastmasters International has very interesting manuals covering these areas. I’m looking forward to learning more!