Interview with Yulia Dmytryshyn
GO2KIEV: Please tell our readers about the Toastmasters organization in Ukraine.
Toastmasters Ukraine is movement devoted to helping men and women learn the art of speaking, listening, and thinking which are vital skills in becoming a proficient communicator and enhance leadership potential. There are eight clubs in Ukraine located in Kiev, Lviv, Odessa and the Cherkassy region. Both locals and expatriates in the community volunteer their time to create a workable system that attracts people to develop their personal and professional abilities.
GO2KIEV: What are the personal and professional benefits of public speaking?
Most everyone can agree that public speaking invokes great anxiety – even including people who are well educated and who possess many talents. Overcoming nervousness is a significant battle in a speaker’s development and that is why Toastmasters is an oasis for order, calm and support. To give or exchange information to an audience forces one to be more sensitive and skilled at communicating; thus, we learn to avoid stereotypes and look at many different races and cultures. Public speaking encourages a person to look inside and explore what is most important. Truly words can hurt, heal, create, build and transform. In the practical realm, oral communication is one of the top skills demanded by employers in which it is asked that an employee speak concisely, clearly and confidently. Also, one learns the ability to persuade others – which can mean change for better things; for example, justice, personal rights, democracy and freedom of speech.
GO2KIEV: Yulia, what is your role as Area Governor for Toastmasters?
I have been an active member for the past two years because I realized the potential to organize and make the events even better. It is an honor to be an elected representative for this worldwide and prestigious group. Toastmasters International gives members opportunities to study and perform activities that are related to building a strong club, accomplishing tasks, and charting a course of attitudes, knowledge and skills that supports others. It is my role, as Area Governor, to develop a list of leadership projects, make a positive contribution to the club and involve other team members to work together.
GO2KIEV: Can you describe a typical Toastmasters member?
Within the Toastmasters International group, the typical member can be just about anyone from a wide range of industry sectors ranging from managerial, information technology, writers, engineers, artists, and environmentalists….honestly the list can go on for it really depends upon the person who wants to impart their message with feeling, passion, humor and facts. Here in Ukraine, the majority of our members are young professional Ukrainian women who have recently graduated from university or at the beginning of their career as lawyers, teachers and auditors. The exciting aspect of Kiev’s six local Toastmaster clubs is that they are open to all people and one can easily visit and participate at each club location for that allows non-members to find and join a club that best suits their interests.
GO2KIEV: Tell us about the local Kiev Toastmaster Clubs.
Yes, there are six clubs total with two that are specifically business oriented. The Chamber of Commerce club requests that attendees dress in business attire and conduct themselves within a corporate style. The European Business Association club is also geared toward a business atmosphere though the majority of its club members are recent university graduates. TopTalkers has more of an informal approach in which topics range upon each member’s mood with speeches varying from holiday celebrations, different cultural traditions as well as unusual events that break away from the typical routine. Toastcrackers is the oldest club that most closely resembles the original Toastmasters International theme. The ArtTalkers central program revolves around both contemporary and well established artists in the community whether they are a writer, photographer, painter or an actor. Lastly, the Dnipro Hills is a socially active club that encourages members to defeat stage fright in a fun and supportive atmosphere as well as participate in social activities outside the club.
GO2KIEV: What are the requirements and cost to become a Toastmasters Ukraine member?
Toastmasters’ membership is open to all people who want to improve their communication skills in the English language and are motivated to enhance their leadership skills. The membership cost is $36 for one year where the nominal fee goes toward the purchase of a Competent Communication manual (formerly known as the Communication and Leadership Program) , award pins, and recognition of achievement certificates. The manual will guide members through the first 10 speeches in which tips, techniques and written examples of speeches help demonstrate the goals. An essential part of the Toastmasters program is that another Toastmaster member will orally evaluate each speech given providing positive feedback and suggestions for improvement, if needed.
GO2KIE V: Tell us about the social events for members to attend.
There are many to choose from and they add a lot of enjoyment and camaraderie amongst members. When you receive your Toastmasters pin, you become a member of the whole community of Toastmasters who like to make things happen with interesting, colorful and special events such as the Winter Masquerade, Summer Picnic, Autumn Ball and many other activities. On January 30th, we hosted a Carnival entitled “Chicago 30s!” The Chicago party was held at Purity Hall and everyone dressed in black hats of gangsters and acting in a character that was either jazzy or Mafioso. The five hour event was filled with pleasant conversations that were brightened by little performances, boogie-woogie dancing, poker playing, dancing, eating and drinking as well as discussion of the best photos of each club. We encourage expatriates and local Ukrainians to attend a club meeting for it is a wonderful way to meet new people, speak in the English language and most importantly gain confidence and practice with public speaking.
GO2KIEV: Find a Toastmasters Club in the Kiev community at www.toastmasters.org.ua . Or email Yulia at firstname.lastname@example.org for with questions or for more information.