Toastmasters international, under the revolutionary Pathways educational program has provided an unprecedented opportunity to its 350,000-plus members globally, to access a choice of 11 specialized educational paths that open doors for these members to gain a whooping over 300 competencies.
What would you do if you were an expert at 300 skills?
Before you get too excited. The reality, is that its not realistic to be become an expert at 300 competencies. However, my point is that all of us, through the Toastmasters educational program, have the opportunity to become experts at one, two or even three competencies.
Today, I would like to suggest to you that every one of you could be seating on a gold mine, because the skills that you have learnt at Toastmasters could be packaged into income streams.
I am going to deliver to you three tips on how to monetize your Toastmasters skills:
1.Identify your niche
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines a niche, as an activity for which a person is best fitted.
Which of the skills that you are learning at Toastmasters do you feel best “fitted-in?” If you are going to make money from the skills that you have gotten from Toastmasters, then you have to find a space in the market that you are passionate about.
I will give you a personal example. The skills that I have learnt in Toastmasters are packaged in two areas in the market place. I am a Corporate Team-building trainer and also a Corporate Master of Ceremonies (MC). Training skills, Teamwork skills and meeting hosting are skills that I have sharpened through the opportunities that I have accessed in Toastmasters.
I know a seasoned club SAA (Seargent at arms) at a club in Nairobi, who has started a consultancy to provide organizations with back-end virtual platform support during their virtual conferences. The COVID-19 season has been the perfect opportunity for many club SAAs to get adept at managing virtual platforms. My friend, decided to take it a step further and commercialize these skills.
Ladies and Gentlemen, find your niche and grow rich.
2. Express yourself authentically
Oscar Wilde an Irish Poet, is famed for the words – “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”
One of the biggest temptations as a Toastmaster is to speak like the District contest winner, or like your club president, or even speak with the razzmatazz and energy of Eric Muriithi.
Ladies and gentlemen, when you talk like someone else, you insult your personal brand.
There is nothing wrong with having role models, but ultimately you need to be yourself.
The market is looking for original people, people who are comfortable under their skins and people who are passionately themselves.
As you hit the market, let these words from Joyce Meyer, a television evangelist from the USA, stick in your minds – “You were created an original. Don’t die a poor copy of someone else.”
3. Start from the beginning but with the end in mind.
Stephen Covey, in the book, seven habits of highly effective people, suggests that one of the habits that highly effective people employ is, starting with the end in mind. This is the habit of visualization. As a leader, you have to be a dreamer. You have to picture what the next two, five and ten years will look like, then make a plan towards your goal
You need to picture where you want your skills to take you. Napoleon Hill, in the book, Think and grow rich, says that “what the mind can conceive, it can achieve.”
I personally want to be a Pan African thought leader. I envision myself speaking to the African Union Summit at Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. I encourage you to envision the place in the market place that you want your skills to take you.
Once you lock the end, ladies and gentlemen, you have got to start from the beginning. This is sometimes the hardest part, but it does not need to. I recently went to the supermarket to purchase my regular brand of drinking chocolate. While I was there, I was lured by a gregarious sales representative to buy another brand of drinking chocolate that was on offer. They had a buy-one-get-one offer that I could not resist. What’s more, is that that brand was way cheaper than my regular brand. After purchasing the brand of drinking chocolate, I think I am hooked because it tastes amazing.
My point is, I probably would never have bought that brand if it wasn’t on offer. In the same manner, when you get to the market, make compelling offers. Once your target audience samples your quality, they just might get hooked and what’s more is that they will be happy to pay full price for subsequent purchases.
I will leave you with a thought that I drew from the late global Leadership Expert – Dr. Myles Munroe, who said that, “The richest place on earth is not the Gold mines of Congo, or the Oil fields of the Arabian Peninsula, but it is the GRAVE. Because there in, lies talents that were never practiced, dreams that were never actualized.” And I will add, Toastmaster Skills that were never monetized.
Don’t die with the wealth that is in you. Put it into Action.