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. Read more... (630 words, estimated 2:31 mins reading time)
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. Read more... (539 words, estimated 2:09 mins reading time)
Throughout the last six years, I’ve heard at least a dozen folks who are good speakers tell other people that they should never open their speech with “Thanks, it’s nice to be here” or some other cordial greeting. I’ve asked many of these folks why they feel so strongly about it and have yet to receive what I consider a satisfactory answer — a giveaway that I might have a myth on my hands.
Here are some of the answers I’ve received when asking why this is so bad: Read more... (463 words, estimated 1:51 mins reading time)
- It weakens your speech.
- It bores the audience.
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. Read more... (784 words, estimated 3:08 mins reading time)
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. Read more... (943 words, estimated 3:46 mins reading time)