Toastmaster — March 2012
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Michael Notaro

<br /> READY FOR LEADERSHIP<br /> <br /> One day when I was a young lawyer, my law partner, John, strolled into my office and asked if I was ready for leadership. He asked if I would take over the legal representation of a prominent doctor in our community who was embroiled in a complex partnership dispute. The case involved more than 10,000 documents. To help me make a decision, the doctor appeared in my office a few minutes later to add his blessing to the idea! How could I refuse? I accepted, then quickly felt overwhelmed with anxiety by the magnitude of the job. Each morning I walked past our document room, stuffed with boxes of documents, and tried to deny my reality. If only I could give a speech and be done with it! No, this required something more — this required real leadership.<br /> <br /> Soon my anxiety gave way to confidence as I reflected on my many years of Toastmasters leadership training. I had nothing to fear. I had chartered numerous clubs, led membership campaigns and even chaired a district conference. The leadership toolbox I acquired while completing these projects gave me every skill I needed to succeed — planning, communication, delegation, problem solving and time management. I felt my inner Toastmaster take over as I established a vision, created assignments, set deadlines and engaged necessary assistance to succeed.<br /> <br /> Are you ready when opportunity strikes? Investing in leadership now pays big dividends later. There is hardly an organization anywhere that claims to have too many good leaders. Usually, just the opposite is true: Companies and organizations are desperate for proven leaders.<br /> <br /> The complex problems that plague our world require more than a speaker — they require vision, discipline, character, discernment, ethics, people skills and problem solving. These skills do not develop overnight. At Toastmasters, aspiring leaders learn how to leverage their communication skills. A speech is an event, but leadership is a process. While communication skills can be improved in a matter of months, effective leadership skills can take a lifetime to cultivate. Toastmasters provides a learning laboratory where you can expand your leadership “wingspan” and enlarge your potential for advancement, promotion and success. You learn it all at Toastmasters, where leaders are made.