Anthony Wangondu has been a Toastmaster for around 12 years now and he is currently the District Director (2021-2022). He started his career as a professional accountant. Later on, he got into the supply chain where he worked for nearly twenty years looking after warehousing and procurement. He is currently a corporate leader looking after markets outside of Kenya for the company he currently works for. He considers himself a corporate leader.
We all have a push that shoves us off the cliff and makes us act. Anthony’s moment happened when he became a manager. “I was required to stand in front of people, to speak, and to deliver reports. That was a nightmare for me. A very difficult task.”
That’s a sentiment every introvert relates to, the desire to shrink and vanish when asked to speak to a crowd of people, whether small or large. “I met a toastmaster after I had gone for training that didn’t help. Toastmasters helped me handle my nerves in front of an audience.” Everybody needs a little help sometimes, to get over and get ahead of what they are afraid of. Often, these fears have nothing to do with incapability. They are just illumination of what you have not conquered yet.
What keeps Anthony coming back to toastmasters year after year even after he has mastered the art of public speaking is that the “education program at toastmasters keeps building up on skills that you are not aware you needed.” It has you thinking of what more you can become and what mountains you can move.
The story of one of his Boss Moves is an inspirational one. “Four years ago, at the annual Institute of Certified Public Accountants Convention in Mombasa, I thought the MCs were doing a terrible job. There were about five thousand delegates”. He asked the organizers to give him one session to show his skills. The following year, the organizers asked him to host one session with MPs and this is where he met Martha Karua. It took the Toastmasters lessons to come into play, for Anthony to make that boss move.
In his professional and personal life, he admits that learning to give feedback, as well as the act of active listening, are his greatest lessons. “Active listening is one of the least understood and possibly one of the most powerful skills.”
While other training didn’t work for Director Anthony, Toastmasters helped him get over his fear of public speaking. “We do not learn how to communicate effectively in our education system. When you join Toastmasters, you learn how to communicate effectively without changing your authentic self.”
Why attend TEACON?
For toastmasters, it will be a period to celebrate the achievement of the last two years, having to do the sessions on Zoom. For non-toastmasters, it is an opportunity to see how people have been transformed.
Register here for the Toastmasters East Africa conference and learn how you can make your boss moves. Invite your colleagues, family and friends
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