Toastmasters is the world’s largest and most popular platform for honing one’s leadership, communication, and public speaking skills. It is a not for profit organization which is headquartered in the United States and operates through clubs throughout the world. At the time of this writing, Toastmasters is present in 141 countries and has over 16,000 clubs and 350,000 members across the globe.
Here are five strong reasons for why you should join Toastmasters:
Become a better public speaker
Do you freeze on stage every time you are asked to give a speech? Do you fumble with words when asked to speak impromptu? Do you feel like running away from the room whenever you are asked to share your thoughts publically with a group of people?
If yes, Toastmasters is certainly for you! While Toastmasters is not just about public speaking, there is a structured program which will help you move along your journey to become a better speaker and leader. The program consists of a Competent Communicator and Competent Leader track which have 10 projects each which incrementally build on various aspects of your leadership and public speaking skills as you make progress. Each individual starts with an Ice Breaker speech which encourages them to talk about themselves. As members give speeches against the objectives for each of these diverse topics, they gradually gain self-confidence and courage to face large audiences.
Build impromptu speaking skills
Don’t you hate it when you are put in the spotlight in a meeting and asked to share your opinion on a certain topic? Wouldn’t it be handy if you could master that?
Toastmasters has a special section in its meetings called Table Topics which is the scariest yet most enjoyable part of the entire meeting. Members and guests are invited to the stage and asked to pick out a chit on an unknown topic and then they get 1-2 minutes to speak about the topic. This helps hone thinking on your feet skills. I have seen so many good speakers freeze and fumble on stage when asked to speak on Table Topics, but it is a skill that can be slowly improved by practice.
You develop respect for constructive criticism and feedback
Toastmasters meetings have a special section called Evaluation Section during which members give feedback to the speakers who presented their speeches. The evaluations are done in a very motivating way and usually consist of a few motivational commendations and a few suggestions for improvement. The whole environment is very safe and conducive to learning and speakers develop a better appreciation for constructive criticism during their journey to public speaking excellence.
Practice presentations for diverse audiences
Everyone has different goals behind their motivation to join Toastmasters. Some people joinToastmasters to become professional speakers; some want to get ahead in their careers; and some want to build complementary skills to their portfolio of writing, managing etc. Whatever your goal may be – Toastmasters offers a safe environment for practicing your content on a group of individuals from diverse backgrounds. Many speakers often use a Toastmasters speaking the opportunity to practice their content before they actually present it professionally.
Gain the confidence and courage to be a leader
Leadership is closely associated with communication skills and the two are almost bound together. As your communication skills improve – so will your leadership skills. Toastmasters offers a variety of projects and opportunities for you to take up roles in the meetings, in your club’s Executive committee and at the District level allowing you to build yourself up as a better leader.
So, here were the top five reasons on why you should join Toastmasters now. What are you waiting for? Visit www.toastmasters.org to find a club near you. For more tips on public speaking and overcoming your stage fear, please subscribe to my blog and keep your suggestions and comments coming.
About the Author
Puneet Wadhwa, the author of this blog – Speak to Succeed! is an IT Business Executive by profession, and a Public Speaker and Leadership trainer by passion. He has been professionally speaking for many years and has won several awards for his public speaking engagements. He presents corporate trainings and seminars to corporations and associations whose people want to speak and lead effectively. To contact Puneet, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the contact form at http://www.speaktosucceed.in/about-me/.