The two main reason is that Wednesday is too close to Monday the day I post on my writing blog while comments keep on coming for days, and it’s hard for me to keep up this way.
Secondly, two Wednesdays out of the month I now attend my Toastmasters meeting which involves starting my day an hour earlier.
So from now on, the new day for my personal development post will be Thursday.
As I had mentioned in a previous post, one of my goals this year was to join a Toastmasters club, which I did on July 23rd, and I think this is one of the best things I’ve done this year.
What about you? Have you ever thought of joining a Toastmasters? But what is Toastmasters anyway and why should you join one? If you’re willing to stick around, let me tell you all about it.
What is Toastmasters International?
Toastmaster International is a nonprofit organization governed by a Board of Directors elected by the membership. The first Toastmasters club was established by Ralph C. Smedley on October 22, 1924 in California (where the Headquarter still reside).
Ralph Smedley conceived and developed the idea of helping others to speak more effectively. The idea still stands to this day and there are now over 211,000 members in 10,500 clubs in 90 countries around the world.
Toastmasters International is the leading worldwide movement devoted to help people become better communicators and speakers.
Through its membership clubs Toastmasters International helps men and women from all over the world to learn the arts of speaking, learning and thinking which are each vital qualities that we need for self-actualization, and leadership enhancement.
Toastmasters exists because of the small membership contribution fees of its members. It may be the best small financial contribution you could ever make for your own betterment.
In your own Toastmasters club you will receive supportive and positive tips to improve your public speaking, communication and leadership skills which in turn will enhance your self-confidence and personal growth.
Who can Benefit from Toastmasters?
Whether you’re a professional, a student or even a stay at home mom, you could benefit from Toastmasters.
One thing that toastmasters will do for you is totally kill your fear of public speaking.
Now you might think that public speaking is when you have to stand up in from of an audience and give a speech, right? Well, you’d be wrong. Public speaking is not only that. Public speaking is when you have to speak to anyone, anywhere.
Public speaking is when you have to introduce yourself to a stranger at a party. Public speaking is when you have to speak up at a PTA meeting. Public speaking is when you have to speak in front of coworkers. Public speaking is when you have to go to a job interview. Public speaking is when you have to give an oral presentation in school. Public speaking is when you have to speak to anyone that may be intimidating to you for any reason.
We all do public speaking all the time.
A Toastmasters will help you in all of the above and more.
A Toastmasters clubs will not only help you be a better speaker, but a better listener as well, because you will not only receive constructive feedback but learn how to give them as well. Even if you already have some skills in these areas, you will improve them at your Toastmasters club.
Tools that will be Given to you when you Join
Upon joining a Toastmasters club you will receive a variety of manuals and resources on how to become a better speaker and leader for your business or organization.
As a member you will also have access to other books and educational resources and the monthly magazine The Toastmaster that discusses the latest insights on speaking and leadership techniques.
Your Business and Company Benefits
If you are reading this blog, my guess is that you have a service or product that you are selling either online or offline or both. Toastmasters can help you with your business as well.
A company’s success depends largely on communication skills, may that be with your employees or clients and customers.
The manner in which you exchange or share ideas, or communicate information can make a huge difference. If you don’t have the skills that it takes to deliver successfully, it might affect your business or your company in a negative way in more ways than you think.
Here are some of the benefits you’ll get from a Toastmasters club for your business and/or company
- You’ll learn to give better sales presentations
- You’ll hone better management skills
- You’ll learn to work and communicate better with your staff, employees or clients
- You’ll develop better and more effective presentation of your ideas to grow your business
- You’ll learn how to offer more constructive criticism that will build up and motivate people working with or for you.
- You’ll learn how to accept criticism more objectively
- You’ll develop a better overall insight of your business or company to help it grow faster and better.
- You will build your self-confidence up and lose your timidity as a business owner and leader
How Toastmasters Works
Toastmasters meetings are very organized since it’s of vital importance that they do not exceed an hour, and for the most part they work more or less in this way:
Toastmasters meetings are scheduled once a week or once every two weeks. My toastmasters club meets every second and fourth Wednesday of the month. So, for me it just perfect timing.
A designated member is trained to conduct a meeting and set the stage of what is going to happen during the meeting.
A member will time every speech to the second, and give his report at the end of the meeting. The timing of each speech is very important.
A member will be assigned to note the “ah”, “um”, “huh”, and other verbal pauses on each speeches, as well as grammatical errors or even good grammatical input for up building feedback.
3-5 impromptu speeches that are not prepared will be given on the spot, based on a word or sentence given to the speaker. These are short one-to-two-minute speeches.
Prepared speeches are speeches based on a specific topic of 7 to 15 minutes.
For example the first speech that you would be giving is an introduction speech where you would talk about yourself. Where you come from, what you do, what your dreams and goals are, etc. This speech should last between 7 and 10 minutes.
How can you Join a Toastmaster Club
If you live anywhere in the US chances are that several clubs meet nearby your residence. I was fortunate to find one about 3 minutes from where I live, but there are dozens more throughout town.
Before you join a specific club, you can visit as many clubs as you want to see which one feels best to you. But you can ALWAYS visit any club at any time even when you’re a member a specific club.
In my case, because I’m so busy the most attractive feature of my club is that it’s so close to my house. This was THE deciding factor for me as far as what club I joined.
Clubs usually meet either early morning or early afternoon two to four times a month.
If you’d rather speak to someone live, the headquarter phone number is 949-858-8255.
I hope this post will encourage you to consider joining a toastmasters club to enhance some of the qualities that are so important in life and business. I am thrilled that I joined mine and will definitely blog about my experience along the way.