Our Featured Toastmaster for August is Dan Puckett. Dan Puckett joined Chapel Hill Toastmasters in February of 2009. He currently serves as Sergeant at Arms, an officer position where he maintains club properties, arranges the meeting room and welcomes members and guests at each meeting.
Joseph Joel Sherman is the Vice President of Public Relations for Chapel Hill Toastmasters, and the director of Business Tribes Management Consulting.
Joseph Joel: Why are you a Toastmaster?
Dan: Unlike many who join Toastmasters, my experience as an actor made me relatively comfortable with public speaking from the start–though I still have a lot to learn in that regard.
I joined Toastmasters to gain leadership experience rather than speaking experience. Even though I have been a member of Toastmasters for only six months, it has already given me some excellent opportunities to practice leadership skills. I am looking forward to learning more and more.
Joseph Joel: What do you like about Chapel Hill Toastmasters?
Dan: The members are what make Chapel Hill Toastmasters special. Toastmasters tend to be friendly and welcoming, but the members of the Chapel Hill Toastmasters club have gone out of their way to welcome me into their club and support my education.
Chapel Hill Toastmasters pride themselves on giving good evaluations–that is, feedback that gives each member the guidance they need to improve as a speaker and leader. These evaluations are offered with a keen eye for detail and a spirit of love and respect for each individual.
Joseph Joel: Could you please share a favorite Toastmasters moment that you especially enjoyed for found to be inspiring?
Dan: I always am touched when watching the first speech by a new member (called the “Ice Breaker” speech). It takes so much courage for someone to stand in front of an audience for the first time. Watching someone conquer their fear of public speaking is truly inspiring for me.
I especially like seeing the support and attention that the audience brings to these first speeches. They do this
because every single member of the audience has been through the same experience of giving that first speech and knows what it feels like.
Joseph Joel: What speaking goals have you set as a Toastmaster? What are you doing to meet those speaking goals?
Dan: I want to complete my first ten speeches by the end of the year. So far I have completed five.
Joseph Joel: What leadership goals goals have you set as a Toastmaster? What are you doing to meet those leadership goals?
Dan: I want to fulfill the requirements in my Competent Leadership manual by the end of the year. To fulfill the requirements, I will need to take on every Toastmasters meeting role several times. Each time I take a role, I will be focusing on a different aspect of leadership, such as giving feedback, mentoring, organizing and delegating, and so on, and I will be evaluated by my peers on both what I did well and how I can improve with regards to that aspect.
So far, I have completed twelve out of the twenty-two Competent Leadership requirements.
Joseph Joel: Do you apply what you learned in Toastmasters to your work, academic studies, community or faith based organizations?
Dan: Absolutely. For example, my Toastmasters skills have improved my ability to give clear and concise status reports in team meetings at work. Having the skills to speak briefly on any topic has been a huge asset for me.
Joseph Joel: Is there anything that you would like to add?
Dan: At Chapel Hill Toastmasters, we welcome visitors at any time. Come by whenever you like. You can see how meetings are run, and we can answer any questions you might have about our club and about Toastmasters.
Even if our club doesn’t suit you–perhaps we are too far away or we meet at the wrong time or what have you–there are many other Toastmasters clubs in this area. I encourage you to visit one or more of the other clubs. Maybe one ofthem will be a better fit for you.