Lalindra De Silva is a member of both Kericho Gold and Mombasa Island Toastmasters club. He has been a Toastmaster for over 10 years, and now serves as the District Finance Manager. He speaks to us about his journey towards being a Distinguished Toastmaster.
1.You recently achieved the Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award, which represents the highest level of educational achievement in Toastmasters. Tell me, what does that mean to
Sighs! It is the cherry on the cake! You begin with one speech.. and then go through 40 speeches.. achieving DTM is like a reality check.. wow! I have done 40 speeches! I have a feeling of accomplishment, I have achieved this! But with it also comes a sense of responsibility – to help other Toastmasters in their journey to achieve the same.
2. How did you come to join a Toastmasters Club?
I was introduced to Toastmasters by my Dad, who is a Toastmaster back in Sri Lanka. When I moved to Saudi Arabia, my Dad found a Club near me and gave me a phone number to reach out. We attended the first meeting with my wife, and we together each completed the Competent Communicator manual and the Competent Leader manual. We even competed in Speech contests together… I would win in table topics, while my wife would win in International Speech Contest
3. What have you discovered about yourself as a speaker?
The first thing I got rid of was my fear of speaking before an audience.. the stammer is long gone. I discovered that I could write speeches! I did not know this about myself before. I can easily write a speech in two days. Lately, I have also discovered that I can actually write humorous speeches.. even though I am not naturally funny/jolly.
4. Tell us one unexpected gain you found in Toastmasters.
A second family! In Toastmasters I found passionate, like minded people. The two hours of a Toastmasters meeting, is a time to forget everything else, a time to reset, before you go out into the world again.
5. Your favorite thing about Toastmasters?
Preparing for speeches.. the preparation process! You think of a topic, then your begin researching into it, like a puzzle. You come across an idea, the stories, thoughts, quotes. It is all interesting discoveries. I also enjoy speech contests too, whether participating as a contestant, or making any other contribution in the contest.
6. What is the greatest takeaway from your Toastmasters journey so far?
I have come away as a good leader, good communicator and especially, a good listener. In Toastmasters you learn to really listen, to read between the lines. Outside of Toastmasters, I am in the corporate world, always meeting staff, investors, customers in meetings, cocktails, etc. My Toastmasters experience has taught me
how to carry myself, how to carry on a conversation, and even how to begin a conversation with a new person or customer.
7. Last words to a newbie Toastmaster:
Enjoy the journey! DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster) is just a title. I joined Toastmasters to get confident speaking before an audience. DTM is a destination, but your experience is the journey. I treasure the memories I have made. In Saudi Arabia I met the 2007 World Champion of Public Speaking, Mark Hunter, who won the Championships on a wheelchair. I have beautiful memories made among Toastmasters in Uganda, in Ethiopia. I have experiences that are worth much more than the monies I have paid in membership dues over the years! Treasure your Toastmasters journey!