December Featured Toastmaster: Wally Robertson

Wally Robertson

Wally Robertson is the Founder and CEO of BDQ International, a Business Strategy, Planning and Operations consultancy.

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?

Wally: There are two fundamental reasons. First, is business and social networking. Second, I like public speaking and I would like to do more paid public speaking. It is a way of linking in with people who are connected to the public speaking world, tangentially if you like. The third reason is that I learn an awful lot. I did not think I would but I am. I learn a lot about speaking, communicating, respecting other people in communicating, whatever.

Joseph Joel: What do you like about Chapel Hill Toastmasters?

Wally: A lot of energy, very positive attitude, and very capable speakers that I can learn from.

Joseph Joel: Who have you learned from?

Wally: From Perry Crutchfield I learned a lot about presence and stature, just by watching him. From Sharon Hill about energy and positive influence. Patrick Curley about stability and consistency and discipline. And from other people other aspects of speaking.

Joseph Joel: Yes, we have a good mix people.

Wally: Glenda Clare, about the struggle between natural presence and stage presence. Glenda has tried to inject humor  into what she is doing. She has a tendency to to be very serious, which will limit her ability to engage with an audience. Some people will lock into message very strongly, very quickly.  Her topics are very serious, delivering with limited humor, may lock her out from a population. Her overcoming that, and the struggles with her privacy. I think she is a private persona and she is challenging herself. Another thing I learned from Glenda is true grit.

Joseph Joel: What do you mean by that?

Wally: She is driven, she won’t let go, she will keep at it and at it and find different ways to attack a problem.

Joseph Joel : And how does that help you?

Wally: If you look at the spectrum of people that you know, there are different skills. Glenda is somewhat on an extreme. She has a kind of strength of purpose.

Joseph Joel: Yes, Glenda is determined and has a strong sense of passion. In the international speech contest I saw her going over her speech several times. Each new version was better that before.

Wally: I am learning, there are certain things people do that I can’t do or will not. The opportunity to see things that I know that I do not want to do.

Joseph Joel: What speaking goals have you set as a Toastmaster? What are you doing to meet those speaking goals?

Wally: To be paid for speaking and to achieve DTM.

Joseph Joel: Do you want to become a professional speaker?

Wally: Most speakers that get paid are not professional speakers, because its not their primary source of income. So I deliberately don’t say professional speakers because I don’t expect it to be my primary source of income.

Joseph Joel: What do you mean by getting paid to speak?

Wally: If I go to speak to an audience, that audience coughs up money. That would mean being paid a rate that justifies the effort. Primarily as a market tool to support my consulting. And if you do talk to anyone who says,”Tthis is all I do.” You will find most are doing training, coaching or consulting of some sort. And the primary income comes from the training or coaching, supposed secondary activity.

On a more generic basis I have joined, and I will join the National Speakers Association after I meet their membership criteria.

Joseph Joel: How does your speaking work with BDQ?

Wally: At the moment I am using it to gain visibility. I am now starting to speak on professional topics.  Up to now I have avoided that. Now I am better able to understand how to use it. Now I am reaching out to professionals.

Joseph Joel: What do you speak on?

Wally: In simple terms, process management and relationship management.

Joseph Joel: What leadership goals have you set as a Toastmaster? What are you doing to meet those leadership goals?

Wally: DTM is my objective for which I have to go through a lot of leadership objectives. What I do find interesting is that I have an innate desire to help others. I get a huge amount of satisfaction from helping others and I am surprised how Toastmasters has helped with this. I have just gone through six months of mentorship, completed at the end of June. I am a little behind achieving my advanced leader silver which I should get by the end of this week.

I have just attended the meeting of a new club today and I was really impressed by how that club was.  And I made some recommendations that they reckoned were of value to them. That is very gratifying.

Joseph Joel: I agree. I have been a mentor to individuals and that was very encouraging.

Wally: Working with Zao as a mentor was really nice. She believed that she did not have a good command of the English language, and she needed to see that she did have it. I mentored her to try to help her progress through the speeches. I even helped her with confidence with driving, to get to the meetings.

Joseph Joel: What was that like?

Wally: Life threatening at times. Well you remember I am trying to learn Mandarin. There was a time when I told her we are only going to speak in Mandarin. We were going along the freeway and I said we are going to the left lane, she started curving towards the ditch, because I got the language mistaken. In mandarin, I’d said, “Right”. That was grand.

Joseph Joel: What is value of DTM

Wally: One it’s a goal that will help me achieve things that will be useful to me. It means more speaking activities, a necessity for paid speaking. Second, in the market place it holds a little bit of value.

Joseph Joel: Meaning that it is recognized?

Wally: In the speaking world, it appears that it is recognized a bit. What I do within Toastmasters are the things I need to do to achieve that, which gives me a little more focus within Toastmasters. So when I attend a Toastmasters meeting I have a purpose and I get credit. And I don’t wont do the same thing again and again, getting into a comfort zone.

Joseph Joel: I agree. I saw progression after manuals or levels, but not necessarily after each step or club meeting. It can be easy to stay within a comfort zone, for example doing one type of speech or club function. Moving through the DTM track keeps the challenges fresh.

Do you apply what you learned in Toastmasters to your work?

Wally: I certainly apply it to my work and to my network. I have introduced a lot of people to toastmasters because they can benefit from it.


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