TM Stars – Katarzyna Stelmach

Toastmasters International supports a wide range of skills and projects. It is not only about
public speaking. It is not only about leadership. Once you join, your fellow club members may support you in everything you do to help yourself and others achieve excellence!

Katarzyna Stelmach, this year’s Polish Champion of Public Speaking, is a great example of that! Read about her journey towards becoming an author!

Q1: Tell us briefly about your book.

We have books to learn English, German, French or any other existing language. But what about manual helping learning languages in general? I felt that such a book is missing and that’s why I’ve decided to help people to explore a big range of existing methods to improve their language skills.
Knowledge from psychology, neurobiology, plus stories of my clients I work with as a language trainer for 7 years right now. What more I wanted to give readers the opportunity to use my book to plan their learning process. That’s why every chapter finish coaching questions that are ready-to-use templates to plan particular elements of learning experience what makes my book as theoretical as practical book to learn any foreign language. I also ask a reader a lot about their motivation, fears and previous experience of learning a language. All of it taken together is a „From stemming to speaking” ( polish title: „Od dukadnia do gadania”)

Q2: How did you get an idea for it?

In Poland, we have famous fitness trainers that write books and help people become more sportive, lose weight or just feel better in their body. Theory plus practice. Useful tool. Why don’t we have such support when it comes to learning a language. It’s easy to find a training plan for our body, but our mind and language skills don’t deserve being treated in the same way? Another stimulus was questions from my clients to finally have in one place all my advice I give them and things I believe in.
My approach to teaching and learning is very different from the one we can meet in public schools. This fresh point of view I have is always appreciated by my clients. I decided it’s time to share these pieces of information with a bigger audience and support more people to overcome their barriers, fear and provide a tool I was wishing to have when I was struggling to learn languages and gain confidence in using them.

Q3: Was Toastmasters any inspiration for it? If so, how?

When I came to Toastmasters I was finishing writing my book, but this was a crucial moment. I see it now from the perspective of almost two years. To finish and decide to publish a book demand a lot of persistence and self-confidence. Not even mentioning being ready to hear critical opinions about our work. Since I had quality feedback that my vision of speaking a foreign language is interesting – I had also a few speeches about it – I was sure I’m ready to publish a book, promote it during different events and face critics. I understand better who I am as a mentor and why my voice is important.

Q4: How did you manage to find time for writing?

In the year 2020 statement: „Do what you love and you won’t work a day in your life” became quite controversial since work-life balance is what we struggle with. It’s easy to lose yourself if your passion is your work and your work is your passion. In my case, I can truly say that I love my job. So finding a time to write about something I do love wasn’t such a challenge as it can look like. As well as I love my yoga class and evening chill with Netflix I can relax while writing about my passion. Does it maybe sound crazy? Well, if yes I hope it’s true that the world belongs to crazy one.

Q5: What was the hardest thing about writing?

I’m a pretty energetic person and creating things was never a problem for me. But if we speak about caring about details and polishing what was created… here comes troubles. To reread a book several times and don’t get crazy I needed a lot of breaks. The temptation to improve what is already written is so big I couldn’t sleep in the night thinking if some part of the book is good enough. Is my point of view explained enough? Will it be clear for readers what they should or shouldn’t do. Now when this work is done I feel a huge relief.

Q6: Would you have any advice for people who are thinking about writing a book?

Do the first step and consult a specialist. I was lucky enough that quite early in the process of writing I have met an amazing person who is my consultant – Emilia Teofilia Nowak. She helps me to publish a book, it is a self-publishing model. I was always thinking that writing a book is a task for somebody with 25 or 30 years of experience. But when I asked myself what I could write about exactly and how big is the number of topics concerning learning a language, how many things I already, constantly repeat to my clients I was sure that it is even more than enough to write a full book.

Q7: How can Toastmasters of District 108 help you with advertising or sales?

Once I’ve seen on the internet amazing question – 

When Beyoncé publishes an album everyone shares this information, would you do the same for great but not famous yet musician who is just your friend? I realised that she has already a marketing team and fans promote her work even more.

Everyone knows in-person kind of Beyoncé that is doing music, selling hand made art or publishing a podcast – support those people since they are your friend and they do it not having a team like Beyoncé behind them.

How important are likes and shares of publications of people I know in person to help them? A lot! Many of my friends are actors and theatre directors – I always publish information about their shows, put a nice comment or just like a post – so little but so much helpful. If everyone who supports me would share on their Facebook or Instagram information about a book it would be the best thing anyone can do. So little that can change so much.

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