Toastmasters is an educational organization that helps you become a better speaker and leader through their weekly meetings. Doesn’t this sound dorky? I decided to join Toastmasters as a way of networking where I live, but since September 2014, I have grown to love my Toastmasters meetings and learning a great deal about myself, how I write my speeches, and not to say “um” quite so much.
Regardless if you’re going into public speaking or find this nerdy, I think everyone should get involved with Toastmasters and I’ll show you 5 reasons why.
You Build Leadership Skills.
Everyone is a leader in some form or way; this could come in the form of a father or mother, or president of a company or even a book writer. Leaders are made, not created. It takes time to become the great leader that you want or don’t want to be. So why do it alone? In Toastmasters, there are plenty of opportunities to showcase leader skills by becoming part of the leadership team. You also demonstrate leadership skills when you get up to speaker and later, receive criticism respectfully.
You Build Public Speaking Skills.
Public speaking terrorizes you? Then Toastmasters is certainly for you! While Toastmasters does not revolve totally on speeches, as there are many other parts to it, but you will have a book with speeches you will need to present at one point in time. It’s to help you build your expertise, to showcase an experience or learning curve, or to investigate an idea further. It helps you put your thoughts into words with flow, great sentence structure, and to get over the public speaking jitters.
You Build Impromptu Skills.
Don’t you hate it when someone calls on you during a meeting or puts you on the spotlight? In Toastmasters, there’s a time called Table Topics, and truthfully, this is my favorite part of Toastmasters. I enjoy watching people give their impromptu 1-2 minutes spill about a random question that the Table Topics Master had given them. It’s nerve racking when you’re up there, but it’s also fun to see what you can come up with on the spot. This will help build the skill to think quickly on your feet as well as helping you take breathers in the midst of sharing.
It Helps Build Respect for Constructive Criticism.
This is probably one of the dreaded times in the whole of Toastmasters, but it’s to help you build a better speech. In Toastmasters, we not only have Speech Evaluators who stand up before all of your club to testify if you’re speech met the qualifications of your project, but we also have speech evaluations that the entire club can give you. I’ll be honest here and say that I usually don’t look at these until a few days later. I’m that scared (I have no reasons to be for most of the time, I receive tidbits of encouragement, praise, and respectful criticism to help improve my future speeches). If anything, this teaches you that not everyone is out to get you and people are really wanting to help you out because they see the potential of a great speaker in you. Let them help you get there and don’t take it too terribly personally.
It Helps Build Listening Skills.
This is probably one of my hardest skills I am trying to learn in Toastmasters. Remember the evaluation slips that everyone fills out about the speeches? Well, if you’re not speaking and enjoying the speech in front of you, then it’s encouraged to fill one of the slips out. I have a hard time with this because I think just about every speech is wonderful and if there’s nothing obvious that was said or done wrong, then I don’t notice it. I guess Toastmasters is teaching me observation skills as well.
I hope this conveniences you to join a Toastmaster Club. You will not only learn and gain all of these great qualities, but you’ll build friendships as well. If you’re interested in joining a club, go to www.toastmasters.org/FindAClub and find out what all the fun is about! I hope to hear a Toastmaster story from you soon!
Here I am giving a presentation back in July called: “Did you know? Laughter” at my local Toastmasters group.