The latest addition to the Faces of Four series is the David McLeod. David is a seasoned Toastmaster member and has served a wide variety of leadership roles. Let’s take a moment to to get to know our 2016-2017 Division B Director.
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.).
I joined TM in August 2012, as a charter member of the Guidewire Premium Presenters. Once I had completed my CC & CL manuals and also served a full term as Area Director, I joined the San Mateo Storytellers and have been an active member since early 2015. Originally, my reason for joining was to support one of my co-workers in creating a new club. I already was quite comfortable with public speaking and had already established myself as a pretty good presenter, so I didn’t really think I “needed” Toastmasters. However, after I had been an active member for about a year, I really began to see the benefits of the program and became a strong evangelist for the organization.
Now that we’re in the New Year, what public speaking goals have you set for yourself in 2017?
My whole life has been undergoing some serious changes in the last year or so, and I’m now planning a move out of the Bay Area to a new home in Meridian, Idaho. There, I plan to build my Life Mastery Coaching business, and as part of that I intend to be doing a lot of public speaking in support of coaching programs. However, I also see myself staying active in Toastmasters, and I plan to step into some of the leadership roles in my new location. I will also support TM by continuing to offer trainings and presentations at TLIs and other events.
How has Toastmasters helped you in your professional career?
One thing I can say for sure is that Toastmasters has helped me to improve all aspects of my presentation style, and this has positioned me as someone who delivers powerful and fun trainings and seminars that people really value. I love offering my brand of teaching and speaking, and I am very appreciative of the feedback that I receive from members of my audience.
What is the best public speaking advice you’ve ever received?
To label something as “best” would probably be inaccurate, and possibly even unfair. I have received so many amazing pieces of advice from so many different people, and I have appreciated all of them. I guess the one thing that seems to stick with me the most—perhaps because it was condensed down to an easily-remembered rubric—is from David Brooks:
“Tell a story, make a point.”
I always try to remember this in any presentation I give.
What has surprised you the most about yourself since you joined Toastmasters?
What surprises me most about my Toastmasters journey, I think, is the way I changed from a somewhat cynical early-stage club member into a full-blown evangelist and promoter of all things Toastmaster. I love the organization; I love all the ways that it serves and benefits people; and I love watching people blossom into the truly amazing beings that they are meant to be.
What are your interests and hobbies outside of Toastmasters?
My two biggest passions that have nothing to do with work are poetry and music. I’ve published many poems, and I’ve released four CDs of original music—mostly in a genre that I call “electro-acoustica”.
How would you describe the perfect meal?
I’m guessing that most people would answer this question by itemizing the food items at the table. For me, I enjoy any meal that allows me to share space with people I really care about—the food itself is much less important to me than the connection with others. However, with that said, I have to admit that I am very partial to roast lamb with béarnaise sauce!
What is a fun fact most people don’t know about you?
In 2013, I joined a group of coaches and seminar leaders to bring some educational support to people in Liberia, Africa. As part of that trip, I also got to visit several villages and bring water filtration systems to people who otherwise had to dig wells and boil all their water. This was one of the most fulfilling and enlightening experiences of my life, because I got to experience firsthand the way people with little or nothing in the way of personal possessions can still be joyful and full of love. What an eye-opening experience that was!
What question do you have for David? Please feel free to leave a comment below.