Jose Maria Perez-Macias Martin is serving our club as the President for the year 2020-2021. Originally from Spain, he moved to Tampere in 2012 to work at Tampere University.
Six years later, Jose Maria visited Tampere Toastmasters for the first time. In his own words, he was “hooked”. He decided to join our club in 2019 to meet active people in an international context.
Ever since, Jose’s commitment to grow as a public speaker and leader has taken our club to new heights. Read his inspiring journey to find out how:
“I joined Tampere Toastmasters last year. I visited the club for the first time in November 2018; my friend Patricia, who lives in London, told me about it. I was hooked. The main driver was to meet active people. Afterwards, I discovered that the Tampere Toastmasters community values the same things I do – integrity, excellence, respect, and service to others.
I cannot speak highly enough about my experience. I felt supported from the beginning. Slowly, I was encouraged to give speeches and later, to participate in speech contests. My humorous speech, “The Art of Being Single” won the hearts of Tampere club members, made it to the 3rd round in the Turku contest, which led me to compete in Estonia for the area contest. I learned so much during those events; especially from giving the same speech over and over again. When you know a speech by heart, you can start focusing on connecting with the audience. It feels empowering to be able to make people laugh and get instant feedback. I must say it is quite addictive.
In the past, I was not able to look people in the eye when speaking to a crowd. I learned to do it with confidence during Toastmasters meetings. I learned how to write a speech and construct it. The mind is continually learning new speech structures to communicate ideas that matter. You cannot imagine how useful this skill is in professional life, for instance, when you are asked to share an opinion during a work meeting. I’ve learned it all by doing. I still am.
The unexpected lesson was about leadership. Developing communication and leadership skills are two of the main goals at the core of every Toastmasters club. You learn the qualities of a good leader, and you get the chance to practice them. While some leaders are more natural than others, leadership is something that can be learned. We learn through observing and listening to others, storytelling, and regular practices. Every meeting is a lesson of leadership.
Becoming the President of the Tampere Toastmasters club was a wonderful surprise. I feel honoured that members put their trust in me to lead them into achieving their goals. A fun fact that I remembered after the election is that I used to be the president of my class during school. It was awakening to see myself carrying the same role at different stages in my life. I belonged to a supportive team then, and I belong to a supportive team now.
My favourite part of our club meetings continues to be Table Topics. For those who don’t know, Table Topics are impromptu speeches/ answers to questions formulated by the Table Topic Master around a meeting’s theme. It is both a creative practice and an opportunity for club members and guests to connect, share stories, and shine.
Learning how to communicate efficiently and lead yourself (and others) will impact your life and relationships in a multitude of ways. By doing so, your self-confidence naturally increases, and you will grow as a person. Furthermore, Toastmasters is for you if you believe in mutual support and positive learning environments. You will make new friends and you will be supported in your projects. You can learn how to deliver a presentation, start a podcast, and even how to compete on international stages. In time, you can make fair use of your knowledge to support new members in their journeys while being open to learning from them. Public speaking needs to be learned and practised by everyone. And Tampere Toastmasters is the perfect place for that.
I have two big projects this year: to learn to lead and to speak in public. In life, we are not always given the possibility to practice them. Come and join my club and me onto this path.”
— Written by Andruta Illie