According to Wikipedia, Toastmasters International (TI) is a nonprofit educational organization that operates clubs worldwide for the purpose of helping members improve their communication, public speaking and leadership skills.
There were three reasons why I recently joined one of the local Toastmasters clubs: I wanted to learn to speak better in public, I wanted to enroll new customers into my business, and a friend asked me to join. The last may not have been the best reason, but I wanted to support my friend.
When we attend networking events, we have to speak with people. If we are members of other groups, there are times when we might have to make a presentation. We also have to be able to communicate well to others about our business, product or service. The Toastmasters club to which I belong is a great place to practice improving my communication skills. The people are very supportive and encouraging. They understand we are all a work in progress and do what they need to do to help us reach our goal.
Since joining, I’ve delivered three speeches. I’ve been evaluated on all of them by a fellow club member, receiving feedback on what I did well and what I might improve.
In addition to delivering speeches, determined by various objectives in a manual, we also learn to deliver an impromptu 1 to 2 minute speech. What a great way to learn how to respond, with ease, to any question we may be asked.
The work I’ve done with Toastmasters enabled me to deliver a presentation to a chamber of commerce to which I belong. I was definitely nervous before the presentation and for the first few minutes, however, as I continued I gained more confidence and the speech was well received. Several people complimented me on the subject of the presentation and many more complimented me on the presentation itself. I know that I would not have even been able to speak to the group if it had not been for what I’ve learned through Toastmasters.
Although the basic structure is the same with any club, each club is different. I suggest you attend several different clubs, several times in order to decide if Toastmasters is something for you.
Copyright © Meli Horowitz 2013 - All rights reserved