Toastmasters

Toastmasters is More Than Just Public Speaking – My Toastmaster’s Journey

I’ve had a lot of fun the last week or so with some of the dialogues I’ve had on this blog, via email and the various social networks. I’ve also been enlightened, shocked and learned a few things. So to wrap up this topic so I can move on to the finer points of other areas of communication and personal development, I want to provide you with my final thoughts on Toastmasters along with a brief history of my involvement with this great organization.

Why I joined:

Five Signs That You May Have Outgrown Toastmasters

Shortly after I joined Toastmasters I couldn’t imagine myself getting to a point in life where I wouldn’t be regularly attending meetings. There were so many things to do in Toastmasters such as go for my DTM, participate in speech contests and get roles at the district level. But life is funny and sure enough, I found myself quitting Toastmasters, not just once, but twice.

I know that there is this perception that Toastmasters is just for amateurs – I remember hearing one woman vocally express this during a National Speakers Association meeting I attended. I don’t believe that to be the case as I know several excellent speakers who still use Toastmasters to sharpen their skills.

The Ah Counter Debate Part 2: More About Ums and Ahs

My recent post on whether Toastmasters should dump the Ah counter role has sparked an interesting discussion. A few folks have posted comments to this site, sent me email and messaged me on some of the online social networking services both for and against the counting of (and caring about) filler words.

Where I stand on the issue is that unless the speaker repeatedly uses filler words over and over again, I don’t find them to be a big deal. So if someone says “ah” or “um” three times throughout a fifteen minute talk, I wouldn’t hold it against them. Now, if they started every sentence off with “ummmmmmmm…” then it would drive me crazy.

Does Toastmasters Really Need the Ah Counter Role?

I’ll never forget my first Toastmasters meeting back in 2002. There were three fantastic speeches followed by my favorite part of the meeting – Table Topics. If you’re not familiar with Table Topics, it’s the part of the meeting where folks are welcomed to come up and speak “off the cuff” about the topic of the day. I participated and lasted 47 seconds. And, thanks to the person in the “Ah Counter” role, I found out that I had some filler words. At first, I found that role to be very cool and useful, but there’s two reasons why I question whether or not it’s needed – or even helpful.

Toastmasters Success – Taking Your Speaking to the Next Level

Toastmasters is a great way to become a better speaker (provided you choose the right club). But the vast majority of the people who join Toastmasters only speak at their own club. Yes, you can become a better speaker just by giving talks to your club – but you’re also missing out on some great opportunities.

Toastmasters Success: Six Ways to Revive Your Club

One of the biggest challenges that leaders within Toastmasters face is the club slump. Clubs that are thriving one year are suddenly struggling to survive the next. Corporate clubs, especially those that restrict members to company employees, are the most prone to this as factors such as layoffs, relocation and company-wide initiatives can directly affect a club. Community clubs aren’t immune to this either as key people can leave a club for reasons ranging from job changes to changes in their family situation. Regardless of whether or not your club is in a slump (it’s good to be proactive), here’s six ways to revive and re-energize your club.

Public Speaking Myths: Joining Toastmasters will Make You a Better Speaker

It seems like every business expert that also has speaking experience likes to throw in a line about joining Toastmasters International to become a better speaker. Some of these people joined a club and it helped them become better speakers while others simply regurgitate this advice from other sources. Although Toastmasters has worked for a lot of folks (myself included), simply joining won’t necessarily make you a better speaker.

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