Monthly Archives: November 2011

Great storytelling begins with solid communication skills.

Since the launch of Barkada Circle, I find myself speaking more frequently in front of a diverse audience. While I have done many business presentations in the past, I realize that it takes a unique set of speaking skills to deliver a compelling story.

So I recently joined the Toastmasters club in my neighborhood. This has proven to be one of the most important decisions I’ve made in my career. My fellow club members are wonderfully sincere about helping one another. I’ve been a member of several groups, small and large, and Unity Toastmasters ranks in my top three in terms of displaying professionalism, providing encouragement and fostering camaraderie.

Thanks to the invaluable feedback from fellow members, I’m able to identify specific areas I need to work on, not just to be a better speaker but also to be a better listener. With that, I know I’m on the right path to providing a better storytelling experience for my audience.

It’s no secret. There’s always room for improvement, especially in communication. I feel fortunate for having discovered a place to help me in the process.

If you can find the time to join your local Toastmasters club, I highly encourage that you do. It will be one of the best decisions you can make in your life. I guarantee it!

Discover and express your voice through the arts

Jessye Norman, legendary opera singer and five-time Grammy winner, talks about her artistic roots and the value of bringing music to a younger generation.

Ms. Norman reminisces how her grandmother would sing herself through the tasks of her day. “It was clear to me that these songs were created by people who needed something to take them from where they were to where they would prefer to have been,” Ms. Norman says. This makes the singer also a storyteller.

When asked about the value of exposing children of color to opera, Ms. Norman describes how the arts can broaden the minds of children and adults alike, helping us all to realize that we live in an expansive world and that we have voices inside of us that can be expressed and heard. She recalls that Albert Einstein considered his gift of imagination to have had more meaning to him than his talent for absorbing knowledge.

Ms. Norman concludes by saying that “…the arts provides a passage from one human being to another. Everybody has the same potential if given the same opportunity.”