TIP: When you travel, visit a Toastmasters Club
As well as meeting interesting and diverse people, you will gain local insights you might otherwise miss. To find a Club, just go to the Free Resources tab on the www.Toastmasters.org website and select the country or city. You don’t need an invitation, just show up. Guests are always welcome.
If you don’t play golf, join business clubs or ride a Harley, you may find that this group can help you to connect with others, learn, grow and have fun.
If you are a non-Toastmaster who is curious to know what the buzz is all about, visit a local club in your town first, so you know what to expect.
First, let’s Clear up Erroneous Assumptions and Stereotypes
Toastmasters is …
NOT the Sertoma or Rotary
It is a method to improve communication and speaking skills via club meeting roles – and a “show and tell for adults”.
NOT a group of “Emcees”
It is a method to learn leadership and team-building skills via club officers’ training program.
NOT the Elks, the Moose or the Groundhog Lodge
It is a local organization that attracts individuals motivated by personal development.
NOT the Chamber of Commerce Networking “Mixer”
It is an international organization through which you can connect with local people and feel instantly at home.
“Every time you speak, you are auditioning for leadership” said James C. Humes. Maybe this quote resonates with me because of the many times in the past I wanted to speak up but couldn’t summon the nerve. Toastmasters is a safe place to get out of your comfort zone or make a mistake. It’s a supportive group setting where you gain the confidence to say whatever it is you have to say.
Things I Learned at Toastmasters
- How to
think on my feet
- How to give a short impromptu speech
- How to involve and interact with a group
- How to be a more confident speaker
- How to
fake it until I feel it
- How to turn nervous energy into positive energy
- How to have fun when speaking to a group
- How to use body language, props, and visual aids
- How to maintain eye-contact without over-reliance on notes
- How to evaluate another’s performance
- How to give both positive and negative feedback
- How to accept – even look forward to – constructive criticism
- How to run a meeting
- How to introduce a speaker
- How to stick to an agenda or time limit
- How to be a better listener
- How to be a better observer of people
- How to be supportive and encourage others as they learn
This article was adapted from a speech given at Franklin & Marshall Toastmasters Club on the way to my Competent Communicator certificate. From the first speech, known as The Icebreaker in July 2005, to the Inspire Your Audience project in January 2007, I learned a lot more than anticipated and thanks to fellow members had fun in the process! Now Toastmasters is part of the pattern of my life. From “Storytelling” to “Special Occasion” speeches – the projects, the fun and the learning continues.
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Marian Joyce helps adventurous types to plan an authentic – yet affordable – Irish travel experience. Get your FREE copy of the special report ‘No More Jet Lag’ plus other travel tips, www.YanksGuideIRL.com.