I have been involved with Toastmasters International for about four years. If you’ve never heard of Toastmasters, it’s an organization with thousands of clubs all over the world that help people improve their public speaking skills. But like anything else, you get what you put into it.
I’ve seen people go from petrified to polished in a matter of months. I’ve seen others join, attend a couple meetings, and then quit. If you’re serious about improving your public speaking skills, consider joining a Toastmasters club and commit yourself to completing the first ten speech projects within a year. If you really want to achieve results quickly, become a club officer.
Here are some of the benefits of becoming an active member of Toastmasters club:
- You can work at your own pace to overcome your fear of public speaking.
- You can polish your presentation skills and WOW your coworkers.
- You can join a group of supportive people who want to help you.
- You can network with people who are great speakers.
- You can get leadership training and experience that you might not be able to get from your job.
Remember, the key here is to participate. Going to meetings and watching isn’t enough. Here are my keys to helping you quickly become a good speaker through Toastmasters.
- Find a good club (or more than one if you have the time).
- Commit to earning your CCM (Competent Communicator) award within one year.
- Sign up for a role as soon as you can, even if it’s a small one. If you’re petrified, Timer and Ah Counter are roles that will help start moving you in the right direction.
- Commit to speaking at every meeting (this has been something that has really helped me) so if you can’t get a role, participate in table topics.
- Give your first speech within two months of joining.
- Volunteer to become a club officer.
- Attend TLI (Toastmasters Leadership Institute) training session.
- Attend a district conference – this way you can meet Toastmasters from other clubs and see some great speeches.
- Participate in a speech contest.
If you take these 10 steps, I guarantee you will make dramatic improvements in your public speaking skills.