This week’s Faces of Four interview features Annamarie Buonocore, Division B Director and member of both Chamber Speakers Circle and Daly City Toastmasters. Let’s take a moment to get to know Annamarie.
1) Tell us a little about your Toastmasters career (e.g. How long have you been with the organization, what clubs do you belong to, what made you join, etc.).
Public speaking has always been an activity I enjoyed. I started making speeches in church when I was in junior high school, and the congregation gave me a favorable response. A close family friend and member of my church named Chris Canellos, whom I admire very much, told me that I had a special gift for speaking. His words stuck with me, especially considering the fact that he is a prominent leader at Stanford University and a well-respected Greek-American.
When I was a student at San Jose State, I received a grade of A+ in my general education public speaking course, and I continued to visit the professor’s office hours long after that semester had finished. Two years ago, I finally got around to my dream of joining Toastmasters, a speaking and leadership organization I had long commended. I have been with the organization for two years, and I belong to two clubs, Chamber Speakers Circle in San Mateo and Daly City Toastmasters.
2) How has Toastmasters helped you in your professional career?
Toastmasters has been invaluable in my professional career. In addition to being the Managing Editor of a well-known general aviation magazine, I have an advertising startup that involves direct-mailed coupons on environmentally friendly shopping bags. My business is largely dependent on cold calling, sales, and communication skills. Before joining Toastmasters, I had a lot of anxiety about this, but the skills I have learned helped me overcome my fears and improve my sales presentation.
3) What is the best public speaking advice you’ve ever received?
For kicks, I will pay tribute to my dad here and say,
“Just picture the audience naked.”
But in all seriousness, the best advice I have ever heard is to be believable. I never thought much about this before joining Toastmasters, but everything we do on stage and in life must project believable sincerity, from vocal projection, to down-to-earth content, to flowing stage movements. It comes down to the good old cliché, “be yourself!”
4) What has surprised you the most about yourself since you joined Toastmasters?
I knew I could speak, and I liked the idea of leadership, but I did not know what it truly meant to lead. Various Toastmasters situations have tested my patience, and I learned that I have good organizational skills during these intense moments. I learned that patience is not the ability to wait but rather how we behave while we are waiting. I have surprised myself in how I have grown to be more patient and relaxed in intense situations. To me, that is the true essence of leadership.
5) What are your interests and hobbies outside of Toastmasters?
Outside of Toastmasters, I enjoy fiction writing and painting. I also like to go to airshows and explore the California Central Coast with my dog. I love dogs.
6) How would you describe the perfect meal?
I am very fond of Japanese cuisine. I would go with salmon sashimi, soft shell crab spider rolls, and Miso soup.
7) What is a fun fact most people don’t know about you?
On my dad’s side of the family, there have been three generations of us in Redwood City. I have photos from the old days when Redwood City was a rural small town. It is one of my favorite places. When I’m not working or doing Toastmasters activities, I can be found writing fiction at the Woodside, Walnut, or Whipple Starbucks. I am just chapters away from completing my first novel.
What questions do you have for Annamarie? Please leave a comment for her below.