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FIVE EXPERIENCED SPEAKERS SHOW THE WAY

banner graphic from:speakermagazine.com

BY TAMARA SMILEY HAMILTON, MA
This Article by Tamara Smiley Hamilton is an Excerpted from Speaker Magazine – National Speakers Association (Banner Graphic Credit: NSA Speaker Magazine)

When six of seven global finalists advance to the coveted circle of Accredited Speaker and your name is not called, you are grateful for a dimly lit ballroom.

These were the words I wrote in my journal the night I did not receive the designation as an Accredited Speaker (AS) from Toastmasters International. The feeling was unfamiliar, because most things I want in life and truly prepare for, I achieve. For this endeavor, I was not prepared emotionally, nor was I at the depth of my craft. I underestimated the magnitude of what I was pursuing.

Perhaps I am not alone in misjudging the rigor of becoming an Accredited Speaker. What I do know is that I grew exponentially as a speaker because of the journey. And the journey continues.

Some people think Toastmasters is only for the beginning speaker. For many, including some very accomplished NSA members, it is a road worth traveling. Come along and see for yourself.

WHAT DO YOU KNOW? WHOM DO YOU KNOW?

Toastmasters International is the world’s leading leadership development and communications organization, with 350,000 members in 142 countries. NSA founder Cavett Robert, CSP, CPAE, was a Toastmaster and was crowned the 1942 World Champion of Public Speaking.

Many NSA members are accomplished Toastmasters. The ideas in this article come from five who have achieved one or both of the highest designations or awards a Toastmaster can achieve: Accredited Speaker and World Champion of Public Speaking.

  • Darren LaCroix, CSP, won the 2001 World Champion of Public Speaking and earned Accredited Speaker in 2016. He is the first NSA member to hold the CSP and the AS designations along with the World Championship of Public Speaking.
  • Rochelle Rice, MA, CSP, NSA board member, is the only woman in the world to hold both the CSP and the AS designations.
  • Sheryl Roush earned Accredited Speaker in 1993 and is a global ambassador for Toastmasters.
  • Ed Tate, CSP, is the 2000 World Champion of Public Speaking.
  • Peter Barron Stark, CSP, earned the Accredited Speaker in 1990.

All are devoted NSA members, and all know a secret: Toastmasters is not a club solely for rookies. It’s a powerhouse for practice. “There is enormous opportunity from participating in both organizations,” says Rice, who says the AS designation has played a huge role in building her business.

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Diversity and Inclusion Speaker, Tamara S. Hamilton is Advising Editor of Kosmos Quarterly

Kosmos Quarterly Debut

The inaugural edition of the new Kosmos Quarterly debuts June 15: Unlearning Together

Kosmos Journal Summer cover of bees in the hive, calls to mind community and collective work. Honeycomb is said to symbolize the heart chakra and life’s sweetness. Deeply woven into the ecosystem, bees are essential pollinators and remind us that we too can be agents of cross-fertilization and transformation!

The inaugural edition is a vibrant snapshot of where we stand at a pivotal moment in the human experiment. What do we care about most deeply, and what habits, views, and assumptions are we ready to release? How do we balance our grief for the world with authentic, effective action?

Coach and Professional Speaker on Diversity and Inclusion, Tamara S. Hamilton Is One of Circle of Advising Editors

Tamara Advising EditorKosmos advising editors work as networkers, writers, and ambassadors for Kosmos and the Kosmos Quarterly edition they serve. This intentional group of culture hackers, healers, activists and artists have come together for 100 days to cross-pollinate ideas and share the fruits of their practices with subscribers. Tamara brings her extensive knowledge and heart-felt passion for diversity and inclusion awareness and training.

For 100 days, the Editorial Circle has made Kosmos an important part of their heart-centered activism and personal journey. The Summer Edition of Kosmos Quarterly is the result!

Contributors, include: Drew Dellinger, Helen Titchen Beeth, Alnoor Ladha, Pamela Boyce Simms, Charles Eisenstein, Orland Bishop, Bill Plotkin, and many others.


Subscribe to Kosmos Quarterly

Something wonderful is unfolding at Kosmos. Kosmos is engaging, media-rich and responsive to our changing times. Subscribe to the Quarterly and receive 4 Digital Issues each year!

When you subscribe to the new Kosmos Quarterly, you receive a great e-journal and much more.
• Rich media features, and the inspiring writing you expect from Kosmos.
• Lively peer review
• Course View, a four-week self-guided learning experience in every edition
• Meditations, exercises and practices to expand personal awareness and wellbeing
• Enjoy the Quarterly online or download it to your Kindle or other e-reader

Each subscription includes membership in Kosmos Community.

• Kosmos briefings, podcasts and short videos delivered to your inbox
• Exclusive access to presentations and special events
• Live online streaming of annual symposium
• Invitations to yearly retreats and other Kosmos gatherings

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Stand in the Middle of Your Own Miracle

Tamara Hamilton Accredited Speaker award stageIn just over a week, I will stand in the middle of my own miracle. I will stand before fifteen hundred international members and guests at the Toastmasters Convention in Vancouver, Canada and vie to become an Accredited Speaker. It is the highest distinction Toastmasters International bestows upon a professional speaker. For years, I have dreamed of being an Accredited Speaker with Toastmasters International. But, I never took the first step. Year after year, I gazed upon the requirements and told myself a false story. The story was that I was not good enough, not polished enough, not ready to be considered as an Accredited Speaker. After all, there are only sixty-nine in the world as of today.

I got caught up in my own story of inadequacy that I never took that critical first step. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told us that “We don’t to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Never mind that I had been a professional speaker in my world of work for thirty years as a leadership trainer and executive coach. This just seemed to be at another level of competence that was beyond my grasp.

toastmasters international logoIn some ways, I was right. My style of speaking in the world of leadership and organization development was one of giving presentations with a professorial style. I had been a professor for over fifteen years. It was a hard habit to break. Being a Toastmaster over nine years has helped me to gain “platform skills,” the precision of using the stage as performance and engaging audiences to be of service to them. It was not about how much I knew and displaying my knowledge and expertise for all to marvel.

It was now about connection and transformation. It was also about inspiration, motivation, and influence. It was about mastery of the spoken word. I begin to ask first, as recommended by my mentor and Accredited Speaker, Dr. Dilip Abayasekara, “What does the audience need from me?” This journey has changed how I prepare and deliver a speech. I have reached a new level of discipline and practice that defines expertise.

accredited speaker logo toastmasters internationalIf you have ever had a dream without a plan, it is no wonder you might feel stuck, like me. Once I decided to pursue this big, audacious goal, I mapped a strategy. But, first, I had to see the vision. I had to see me on the big stage. So, I took a picture last year of me in front of the big jumbotron screen with the Accredited Speaker logo in the background. This picture anchored my vision. I would be on a journey like any (s)hero in a story. I needed help and I reached out. I found many hands reaching back to me to support my journey. When I received less than great reviews on my practice speeches, each critique made the speech stronger, made me more resilient.

I am now almost there: ready to stand in the middle of my own miracle.

Note: The Accredited Speaker finals will have a live feed around the world on August 26, 2017 at 8:30 am Pacific Time.