Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Why Join Toastmasters?

"I'm an extrovert so public speaking shouldn't be a problem, right??"

This was the question I repeatedly asked myself prior to joining Toastmasters. I just couldn't understand why public speaking sometimes gave me heart palpitations. I am often told that I rarely meet a stranger yet place me in front of a group of people and watch my confidence go right out the window. At times I am focused and effectively make my point; other times my nerves take over and it's a struggle to collect my thoughts. Since my job requires me to both speak in group settings and to facilitate meetings, the ability to effectively communicate my thoughts is a must. I saw joining Toastmasters as a personal investment. And I am happy to report that the investment has shown dividends.

Toastmasters has provided me a supportive place to strengthen my public speaking skills and build confidence. The feedback provided in club meetings by my fellow Toastmasters is invaluable. By attending and participating in meetings, I continue to improve as a public speaker while having fun at it. Yes, I used public speaking and fun in the same sentence.

Guess what the most important lessons I have learned at Toastmasters are? First off, there isn't a magical public speaking gene some are born with. Most great speakers work at being great. Secondly, the fear of public speaking is VERY common. And last but not least, with practice your fear lessens. I am living proof of that. I encourage anyone struggling with public speaking to come visit a Toastmasters meeting and see what it's all about. Who knows, the great speaker in you may be waiting to be let out.

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