Interview with Carol Bausor (member of our Executive Committee)

How long photo-carolbausorhave you been a member of Toastmasters, and why did you join ?

I first heard of Toastmasters from an enthusiastic Parisian member who asked me to give a talk at a District Conference in Düsseldorf, for an Association she belonged to. I didn’t really know who they were … I asked how much I would be paid and she told me … « No, you’ve got it wrong. You will have to pay to go to the Conference … » After the initial surprise, I thought I would go anyway, because … I had never been to Düsseldorf ; and I discovered, the most friendly, international, open-minded, group of people I had ever met. And we even got to dance in the evening ! They loved my workshop and I was pleased. So then I went along to meetings of « Toastmasters of Paris », and, in January 2010, (since at that time there were no clubs in Lyon), I joined ! After all, I do go to Paris regularly, so why not ? I thought. Little did I know I was going to get hooked !

Thanks to Toastmasters, I have given two Tedx speeches, and those were both great experiences. The one I gave called « Pourquoi les français sont nuls en anglais » was filmed, and it has been very useful to me professionally.


What are the strong points of Toastmasters ?

Cf. above. But I also have to mention that it is so wonderful to meet other people, all of whom are interested in personal development, from different places, professions, and age groups. I must also underline the wonderful teaching approach that you find in Toastmasters, where people really do learn to speak in public at their own pace, in a totally supportive environment, and with the help of their peers.

One more thing is … although I think most people join Toastmasters for the public speaking, the tag « Where Leaders are Made » is also really important. Toastmasters gives its members opportunities to learn and practice leadership : a skill that we all need in our professional and personal lives.


How do you find the subjects for your speeches ?

When I was doing my CC, I always used the structure to guide me in choosing the subjects, for example, for the project where the objective is « Use a clear structure », I build a model made of Lego in three separate parts, and used that as a metaphor. Now I use different creativity techniques to find a subject, and sometimes « recycle » speeches I have given before. And I always carry a notebook to write down ideas.


You won the 2nd place in the Districe Table Topics competition in November, how was that experience ?   Do you have any tips to give about improvisation ?

I was happy with my performance, and, to my great surprise, I was even happy to come 2nd, because I thought I had really learned something useful. I try to incorporate the audience’s shared experience into my talk, and that means really being open to the hic et nunc (here and now). When you include something that the audience totally get, then they are more likely to be with you. I also learned to « stage » my Table Topic, by using the space to demonstrate the different points of my argument. When I finished, I was on a high : I had surprised even myself ! My biggest tip is therefore to think about the audience, just as much as whatever you are talking about, and build complicity with them.


At the moment you are a member of FOUR clubs !!!Why do you invest so much ?

Because this year I am really committed to progressing in my public speaking skills. Thanks to Toastmasters I have discovered that I love competing. At District level, I have already won the French speech contest, and the French evaluation contest, and in English, my best place has been … 2nd (in Table Topics in Amsterdam in November 2015). This year I want a N° 1 ! And I also get a lot of pleasure from being a Mentor (only to Mentees who are prepared to invest a bit of time and energy !), and I am proud of the way my Mentees have progressed (that’s my coaching side, and I enjoy it a lot).


Do you have any great objectives in the near future (apart from winning a competition !) ?

I am currently preparing to speak more at conferences, and in February I’m doing a trial run (in French) at a TM club in Villeneuve Loubet. The title of my conference is « Comment sortir du gouffre quand tout s’écroule autour de vous : savoir mobiliser votre force interne », and I am very excited about that !

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