Jackie Kilberg | http://www.toastmasters.org/
Jackie Kilberg, Research Associate for the McGraw-Hill Companies, calls our attention to a secondary benefit to our companies in-house clubs and group activities – informal networking at its best.
I have been working at The McGraw-Hill Companies for fifteen years and thought I tried everything to market research services. Never could I have dreamed of receiving such wonderful results as when I joined one of my company's three Toastmasters' clubs.
Toastmasters International is non-profit organization which assists people to become more competent and comfortable in front of an audience. Its humble origins starting in a YMCA 80 years ago has evolved into 12,500 clubs with 250,000 members worldwide.
I decided to join Toastmasters at a time when I needed to look for new ways of professional development. Since the meeting was conducted during lunch hour, it was a good way to "get out of the cube" and doing something productive.
Right at the first meeting, I felt so welcome. I was introduced to the entire group and was asked to come up and answer a "Table Topic". Table Topics allows anyone to comment on a topic provided by a Table Topic Master. I honestly cannot remember what I said but I was so encouraged when everyone clapped after my response. Anyone who speaks during the meeting receives a warm applause afterwards. It is so uplifting.
In order to become a competent toastmaster, one must complete 10 speeches. The first one is the "ice breaker" which requires the toastmaster to give a speech about him or herself. I spoke about my life long career volunteering and working in libraries since I was 6 year years old. For the first time my colleagues learned about my passion to do research and as I moved on to speech number two, three and so on, they learned about the importance of libraries and archives.
My best speech was on the history of my company. As the corporate archivist, I am asked to conduct research on the firm's history but to convert dry facts and dates into an intriguing story was a challenge and delight. Fortunately, the executive assistant to the CEO of our company attended the meeting and was so pleased; I was requested to do an archival exhibit for the annual administrative professional's conference. There I was able to tell hundreds of administrative professionals about our rich heritage. Other members of my Toastmaster's club are now contacting me to conduct research projects or are referring me to others with requests for research.
Not only have I promoted my services, I have improved my speaking and presentation skills and best of all, I have met new colleagues from all three McGraw-Hill offices in the New York area. Last month, I finished my tenth speech and received my Competent Toastmaster distinction. It doesn't end there. As secretary of my club, I attend District meetings which enable me to network with people from all over the New York City area.
Looking for new ways to market your research services within the company? I strongly encourage everyone in SLA-NY to seriously look into joining a Toastmasters club. There could be a club meeting in your company or in your neighborhood. To look for a club nearest you and find out more about this wonderful organization, go to the Toastmasters International’s website http://www.toastmasters.org/
Jackie Kilberg manages the corporate archives for The McGraw-Hill Companies. She has worked on a number of corporate historical projects including the recent tribute to the late Chairman Emeritus Harold W. McGraw, Jr. which is available for viewing at websites of The McGraw-Hill Companies and ABC News. Excerpts of Jackie’s Toastmaster's Ice Breaker speech has been incorporated into an interview which will be published in an upcoming spring issue of Metropolitan Archivist.