Our existence thrives within a digital age where communication methods are constantly being redefined, yet the power of the spoken word has by far remained the most effective method of communication known to man. Surveys reveal that presentation skills are crucial to success in today's competitive and challenging workplace. The Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) has been involved with the Toastmasters' Club for several years and now provides a forum for faculty members to hone leadership and communication skills at this leading institution.
Members of the SLIIT Toastmasters’ Club
The concept was initially introduced to students by Professor Lalith Gamage, President and CEO at SLIIT, through the Toastmasters' Club, where workshops and forums were held as a means of encouraging students to better themselves as individuals and face the competitive work environment upon graduation. Professor S. Karunaratne, Chairman of SLIIT states that the SLIIT internally created a Toastmasters' Club with a view to providing a stimulus for faculty members to improve their communication techniques.
"The Club serves as a platform for staff to gain confidence and fluency of speech, thereby enabling them to apply these techniques to the classroom, which in turn will benefit students through exposure to such communication skills. We hope to subsequently expand the club for students at SLIIT as well" elaborates Dr. Theekshana Suraweera, President of the Toastmasters' Club at SLIIT. He goes on to add that the dedicated staff at SLIIT aim to become effective communicators and leaders by constantly applying innovative methods to improve communication, and hope to connect with other institutions through their respective Toastmasters' clubs.
Participants practise and learn skills through weekly meetings, filling roles ranging from giving a prepared or impromptu speech, with some members taking on the roles of timer, evaluator and grammarian. Necessary brochures, manuals and reading supplements are disseminated to members so that they are constantly up to date with new communication strategies. Professor Lalith Gamage reveals that such communication methods will bolster prospects for SLIIT staff in the professional arena as well.
"As SLIIT is affiliated with many prestigious and high-ranking foreign universities, our faculty will be geared to take on the many challenges posed by the global educational arena.
This will enhance their leadership potential, foster human understanding and facilitate better communication skills within their academic environment".