WHEN YOU JOIN TOASTMASTERS
Over the next few weeks I will be sharing with you 100 reasons to join Toastmasters. You may have heard the name before. You may have read some articles in the paper. You may have heard people talk about it. But you are still not sure if Toastmasters is for you. Perhaps after you read these articles you will decide that it is indeed for you and for many of your friends. If so, please contact me and I will give you more information., or go to www.toastmasters.org to find a club near you.
To start out, let’s look at some of the growth you will experience with Toastmasters.
You will develop:
1. Public speaking skills – if you are in customer service in any capacity, you can benefit from learning to develop your public speaking skills. If you are an employer, you might want to encourage your staff to attend weekly meetings.
2. Presentation skills – have you ever been called upon at the last minute to give a presentation or a talk on something you’ve been working on, or something for a new client? Well, Toastmasters can help you think on your feet and be well organized so that this will become easy for you.
3. Communication skills – this involves more than just talking. It also involves shutting up. Communication is a two way conversation. Many people say, “I have no problem talking”, and those around them are well aware of that. These people may have a problem letting other people talk. How many times have you been at a meeting where the person is supposed to speak only for 5 minutes and 15 minutes later they are still at it? At Toastmasters you learn how to craft a speech within a specified time frame.
4. Listening skills – are an important part of communication. It is important to listen well enough so that you really “hear” what the other person is saying. At our weekly meetings the Quizmaster tests the listening skills of the group by asking questions about things that went on during the meeting.
5. Leadership skills – are developed as members take on roles such as Toastmaster, Table Topics Master, Timer, Quizmaster, General Evaluator and others. Each person takes control of the lectern for their role.
6. Evaluation techniques – it is important to learn how to correctly evaluate someone so that they learn about the things they need to improve while being recognized for the things that they already do well. If all they hear is criticism, they don’t feel very good about themselves. Toastmasters teaches the “sandwich technique” for evaluations. Come to a meeting and find out more.
7. Vocal variety – helps keep your conversations lively and worth listening to. Have you ever listened to a boring lecture where the person just drones on and on with no variety or depth to their voice? It’s enough to put you to sleep. You will learn how to effectively use your voice for the highs and lows to keep people’s attention.
8. Effective non-verbal communication – your body often speaks louder than your actual words and people “read” what you are saying by the way you say it. You can learn how to use gestures and eye contact to keep the audience watching and listening.
9. Research techniques are developed as you prepare for your roles. If you are providing the word of the week, you will research the word to find out where it came from and what it means. If you are giving the Toast, you may want to look up more information on the weekly theme. If you are giving an Educational Tip, you will want to research your topic and prepare.
I hope this article has intrigued you and that you will consider joining us.
Toastmasters is an international non-profit club run by volunteers to improve our public speaking ability by speaking regularly in a supportive environment with a solid program and helpful feedback. Anyone over 18 who is interested in public speaking can join. Clubs have a great mix of experienced and beginning speakers, young and old. We believe that a diverse club offers the best learning opportunities. There are also opportunities for youth programs.
Find out more at www.toastmasters.org