A nerd. Yep, that was me in school. I wasn’t an athlete, and life didn’t revolve around sports. ‘Course it didn’t revolve around academics, either. I wasn’t the guy trying to get straight A’s. To round it all out, I was a classic introvert in my teens and a late bloomer. The Trifecta!
But even though I use the hashtag #LnDGeek now (learning and development), I haven’t always been elated by these two things.
In fact, at family gatherings, my mom still talks about the day in my last year of high school that I came home and said I was going to drop out of school, move to someplace like Costa Rica, and sell coconuts and beach chairs to tourists for the rest of my life. Whoa!
It wasn’t until I became a dad that I morphed into an avid reader and eventually became enthralled with self-improvement, self-development, self-help, personal development, you get the idea.
Getting better at what we do at work or in our personal lives is possible; even for late bloomers like me (a kid that hated reading growing up).
Learning and development take many forms. It can be what you do to develop yourself in your profession. Or it could be what you learn outside of work that helps you grow. But in today’s modern world, are those two ways to learn totally independent of each other? For me, they aren’t.
As the talent development specialist in my day job (think corporate training manager), I fulfill my purpose and get pumped full of happiness and joy from the learning experiences I get to share with our team members. Not only to meet company goals and objectives but also to enhance our team members’ personal lives outside of work.
There are many areas you could focus on in your professional or personal learning and development journey. One area that would have a positive domino effect on all other areas of your life is to become a better speaker.
One great community that helps you do this is Toastmasters.
A local Toastmasters group is a small, club-based organization of like-minded people focused on bettering themselves with the help of world-class materials that give members the opportunity to deepen their public speaking skills.
But don’t panic. Public speaking doesn’t necessarily mean being on stage in front of five thousand people. In Toastmasters you don’t get into situations of speaking in front of large audiences unless you decide to compete in events at regional and state levels.
In Toastmasters you’ll learn things like how to respond intelligently to impromptu questions, how to give a toast at your best friend’s wedding, and how to respond appropriately in many other moments that make up the days and weeks of our lives.
If you’re looking for one skill to focus on developing that will positively impact all other areas of your life, invest in becoming a better speaker using organizations like Toastmasters. Getting better at public speaking was a big reason why I achieved success during my tenure as a Microsoft Certified Trainer. During this time I consistently ranked in the top 1% of instructors worldwide.
Now, if you would like an immersive experience where you’re learning public speaking (for those of you that are interested in developing the skills as an “on-stage” public speaker) but want to leverage the power of technology, give Virtual Reality (VR) a try. It takes learning and development to the next logical evolutionary level. See for yourself in this virtual reality (VR) Essential Public Speaking course.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a late bloomer like me that hated reading as a kid.
I truly believe with all my heart and soul that as long as you’ve got the desire to improve and have air in your lungs, you can grow in any area of life.
Blessings & Light,