Written by: Nicole M. Augustine, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Hello there, I have a passion for Prevention. Prevention is the art and science of deterring disease and the behaviors that foster the onset on illness. I am a public health educator, advocate, entrepreneur, author, and I am also a Toastmaster. Toastmasters is an International non-profit organization that teaches the art of public speaking and how to give effective evaluation of a speech presentation. People gather from places near and far on the globe to compete in the annual International Speech Competition. The one thing that consistently stands out about all the finalists is charisma.
In the field of Prevention, I am a well-respected leader for my dedication to the professional growth and development of prevention specialists, and, in my journey, I have discovered a crucial, yet often overlooked aspect to personal growth – effective, charismatic communication.
The power of charisma
Charisma - it is the power to inspire, influence, and engage. In the realm of public health communication, charisma is not just an asset, but a necessity. Now, pause for a moment. Reflect on the people you admire in your life. Chances are, they possess a certain magnetic charm, a charge, an energy that draws you in. Charisma. From Oprah Winfrey's warmth and empathy to Barack Obama's eloquence and confidence, charisma takes many forms, but each leaves a lasting impression.
It was my journey into the world of Toastmasters that helped me cultivate this powerful skill, transforming the way I communicate and connect with others. Developing charisma.
Toastmasters: The crucible for charismatic communicators
About four years ago, I realized that if I wanted to take my career to the next level, I needed to sharpen my communication skills. This quest led me to Toastmasters in April 2019. Toastmasters honed my communication skills in three key ways: it trained me to think quickly on my feet, to communicate effectively when given time to prepare, and to provide constructive feedback for the betterment of those around me.
What blossomed naturally from these core skills was charisma. It's amazing to reflect on the progress I've made over these four years and the potential that lies ahead. But I'm not the only one who has reaped the benefits of this incredible organization. Celebrities like comedian Tim Allen, and best-selling author Napoleon Hill, have also utilized Toastmasters to refine their communication skills. In the world of business, individuals like Debbi Fields Rose, founder of Mrs. Fields Bakeries, is a proud Toastmasters alumni. Imagine the difference we can make in our own worlds if we, too, could communicate with such clarity, confidence, and charisma.
While Toastmasters has played a pivotal role in refining my communication skills and nurturing my charisma, it is crucial to acknowledge that personal and professional development is a mosaic, composed of numerous experiences, challenges, and learning opportunities accumulated over time. It is the synergy of various experiences and endeavors that has culminated into the skills I possess today.
Toastmasters has been a significant piece of the puzzle, providing Pathways – its educational component - to encourage speech development, provide guidance, and set goals; a supportive environment to practice communication; and members who mentor, provide a listening ear, friendly competition, and valuable and encouraging feedback.
Goldmine toastmasters: A hybrid model
When I first joined Goldmine Toastmasters in April 2019, it was a traditional club that met in person. Like many organizations, we didn't foresee the need to meet any other way. However, when COVID-19 hit in 2020, our world shifted online – including our Toastmasters meetings. I was part of a dedicated group of people who refused to let the pandemic halt our progress, so we began exploring the art of online meetings.
This transition was instrumental not just for the club but for my professional development as well, as my professional life also moved online. The skills I honed engaging audiences during Toastmasters meetings became invaluable in my workspace. Our club was one of the few that survived – and thrived – during the pandemic, largely due to our willingness to adapt and grow.
Now, as we move further into the future, Goldmine Toastmasters is a hybrid club. We recognize that some people still enjoy the in-person interaction, and we didn't want to lose that essence. This evolution of our club is a testament to our resilience and adaptability, qualities that are fundamental for growth and are transferable in any space, professional or personal.
Call to action
In the intricate tapestry of professional development, each thread – every workshop, every mentor, every challenge faced – contributes to the rich pattern of growth and success. Embarking on a journey of personal growth and development is an admirable pursuit, one that requires dedication, introspection, and a strong community of support. I wholeheartedly extend an invitation to every individual with a zeal for self-improvement to explore the enriching world of Toastmasters International.
At Toastmasters, you will find more than just a platform to hone your communication skills; you will discover a community that nurtures growth, encourages expression, and supports your journey towards becoming the best version of yourself. Whether you are a professional aiming to enhance your public speaking abilities, a student looking to build confidence, or simply someone with a desire to connect and learn from like-minded individuals, Toastmasters has something invaluable to offer.
Nicole M. Augustine, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Nicole M. Augustine is a social entrepreneur, public health professional, and social justice advocate. She was born in Inglewood, CA, in the early 80s during the decade in America known for the "crack epidemic ." This was her first experience with social injustice, racial inequality, and the roots of trauma that plague many people. Her tale is one of resilience and opportunity, as her grandmother relocated the family to moved Edmond, OK, in the early 90s. After experiencing the stark contrast of both living environments, she became intrigued by the core reasons for differences in community outcomes. Nicole found herself studying sociology and public health and was drawn to understanding the root causes of health disparities. She received her B.A. in Sociology from Cornell University and her Master of Public Health from The George Washington University School of Public Health. Throughout her career in public health, she has focused her work on understanding health disparities and social inequality. Her personal life mission is to drive community and societal change while creating generational shifts in community wellness outcomes.