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Benefits of Toastmasters Clubs in corporates outweigh costs: senior bankers

25 September 2015 06:30 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The benefits of establishing a Toastmasters Club in a corporate far outweigh the cost incurred and the benefits such a movement could add to the company’s staff and the culture cannot just be narrowly measured in terms of monetary terms, according to a senior banker. 
According to National Development Bank PLC (NDB) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rajendra Theagarajah, the biggest benefit of a Toastmasters Club in a company is that it could cut across the entire organisation from the clerical to the corporate management level as they could talk in one platform irrespective of their position in the organisation. 
Speaking at the first CEO breakfast forum held recently, Theagarajah said the Toastmasters movement not just get rid of the fear of public speaking but it is also an ideal platform to unleash one’s talent, which paves the way for the growth in the organisation. 
“This movement gives the ability to an individual to speak regardless of the level of English. Further, this builds organisational skills and team work regardless of the hierarchy and most of all this gives a nice platform to build an informal network,” he said at the event organised by Toastmasters International USA under the theme ‘Where leaders are made’.    
It was only recently that CIMA Sri Lanka Board Chairman Vipula Gunatilleka said despite the country having a large pool of accountants and finance professionals, not everyone is equipped with the communication and leadership skills required to become a business leader. 
“Sometimes we have qualified accountants with so many things (qualifications) but they are not confident leaders and I think the communication skills have a role to play in it,” Gunatilleka said speaking at the CIMA Toastmasters Club’s 10th installation ceremony held recently. 
Hence, the Toastmasters movement plays a vital role in moulding competent business leaders with communication and leadership skills and the movement is rapidly gaining momentum as many Sri Lankan corporates are planning to set up their own in-house clubs with the expectation of grooming the next generation of business leaders. 
At a time when the succession planning is getting tougher an affair for companies to manage, Toastmasters Clubs could provide the required assistance in identifying the next level of leaders. 
Speaking at the same event, Second Vice President Toastmasters International and Distinguished Toastmaster Arunasalam Balraj said, globally as well as domestically, the Toastmasters fraternity had grown by 7.2 percent annually. 
Meanwhile, Sampath Bank PLC CEO Aravinda Perera said the bank makes an investment each year in ensuring the club continues the good work but the return on investment was apparent from the number of personnel trained ‘in-house’ each year through the Toastmaster programme.
“The confidence the staff gains in communicating effectively and the leadership qualities they show after a training programme are the key for the success of this programme – and is an investment with a guaranteed pay back,” Perera added. 
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