by Ankur Bora PM5 Highway to Excellence

Toastmasters is a place to improve one’s communication skills through prepared speeches, evaluations, and participating in Table Topics. Toastmasters is also a place where you can build good habits and enrich your life.

Friends, I developed a unique habit at Toastmasters: gifting books along with a personalized letter. I have found tremendous satisfaction in giving books and in writing letters of gratitude. I recently traveled to India, and during my stay, I presented books with handwritten words of appreciation to my old school friends, ex-colleagues, family members, and loved ones. I was astounded by the response.

The story behind this treasured habit.

Two years ago, during Christmas, I received an out-of-the-blue, completely unexpected gift. It was a book entitled The Difference Maker sent by a friend from my Toastmasters club, Michelle Bayes. The book was accompanied by a neat handwritten note. It described how I contributed to my club, and how I could make a difference in the world. Every time I reread her compliments; I feel good. Every time I touch the handwriting, I am filled with gratitude and awe. That treasured moment blossomed into more beautiful experiences.

A decision to follow her example.

I began to present books to my friends and family members – on birthdays, wedding anniversaries, or graduations. When I buy a book, I always think about that person’s interests, future goals, or our shared memories. I make it a little more special through a personal handwritten note. This hobby is so gratifying and has such a positive effect. It makes the recipient feel good. It makes me feel good. And it makes the recipient feel good about me!

Compliments are contagious.

A compliment begets a compliment begets compliments. The recipient feels good and is more likely to compliment others. I was moved and impacted by the gift and kind words sent to me by my fellow Toastmaster. It sparked a desire to encourage others in the same way.

Friends, the more you look to praise, the more you will see the positive around you. Imagine the ripple effect if everyone who reads this article, buys books, and writes personalized letters of appreciation to others. Dear fellow Toastmasters, envision the impact we can create with a worldwide movement of compliments, gratitude, and appreciation.

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Michelle Bayes, DTM

You honor me by paying it forward Ankur – thank you for leaving your own personal touch with those that have added to your story 😊