With my wife Margaret, in June this year, we visited the Bangkok chapter of Power Talk International . If you have never heard of Power Talk International you may be forgiven. To put it in context, in 1970 the Apollo 13-astronauts took with them three of its formerly named and long time established Toast Mistress Club seals to leave on the moon.
Power Talk, like so many others clubs of its kind, recommends public speaking as a must for anyone in business, or who has anything to do with communication and influencing people. But even if you are not so inclined, being able to face the fear of speaking in public is one of the best personal confidence and performance enhancing skills you ever can have.
As a past member from Australia, Margaret had been warmly invited to visit and give a talk. The regular 6.00 – 8.00pm. 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month meeting was at Goethe Institute , Bangkok.
In her talk she spoke about her experience growing up in the grape growing district of Mildura in Australia during the 1950’s. This region was an area that had been settled by a soldier settlement scheme. Her father, Bill Broes was a WW2 veteran, who will be 90 on 24th this August 2009, had bought up a quota. This was also at a time when Australia was still a developing nation, so it was an interesting time to look back now.
Here are some photos we took of the club and some speakers that I have set to some music in a video as a memento.
This was our third visit to the Bangkok Chapter which we found again to be vibrant, alive and very welcoming. It is very clear as soon as you walk in that the mood has everyone always ready to participate in open and supportive ways. The speaking skill is second to none, made easy by the great mentoring style of the more experienced members. But also challenging and making this even more impressive, is that it is English only, which to most Thais is not native.
It is also interesting that they follow the international club rules implacably. Their appointed grammar checker each meeting is charged with running through any grammar that speakers err on. Their skill to pick up even the slightest slips may even challenge an experienced English professor to be as good. A lesson in learning in itself.
Power Talk international, the organisation, was founded from the roots of a Toastmaster Club in San Francisco and began as International Toastmistress Clubs in 1938 . It now has chapters all over the world which you can join. These days it is not gender specific as the earlier name implied. It also now has a great mix of people from all walks of life.
To quote the POWERtalk website:
Whether you need to overcome a fear of public speaking, polish up a business presentation, develop your analytical listening skills or improve your writing skills, POWERtalk can help you.
Members are encouraged to become involved at all levels. This gives them the opportunity to reinforce and develop organisational and leadership/management skills.