Toastmasters is an organisation dedicated to helping people improve their communication and leadership skills. They have over 15000 clubs all over the world, so it is likely that there will be one close-by.
Taking the first steps to practice your public speaking and leadership skills can be daunting. However, once you take the leap, it can be one of the most rewarding things you ever do. Here are five reasons why I believe you should join Toastmasters.
1) Very friendly and supportive environment
Clubs usually have a mix of beginners and experienced members. The Toastmasters atmosphere is extremely supportive and serves as a great sandbox environment to help members practice different elements of their speaking skills. You will meet people of all different backgrounds and ages, which you would not likely meet in other settings.
2) Quickly develop your speaking skills
I was amazed at how much my speaking skills developed within even the first three months of membership. Meetings generally run fortnightly or weekly, which means you are consistently motivated throughout the year to practise and step outside your comfort zone. Public speaking skills take time to develop, through continued work, feedback, reflection and improvement. Many people simply do not have the opportunities on practise these skills in their everyday lives. Toastmasters can be the answer to this.
3) Practice impromptu speaking
Toastmasters meetings generally include ‘Table Topics’ sessions, where the ‘Topics master’ for the evening will ask members any chosen topics on the spot. The members are then required to give a public response on this to the group. This can be exceptionally daunting the first few times, but it will skyrocket your ability to think on your feet while speaking in public.
4) Work on other leadership skills
As a member, you will eventually work towards fulfilling roles during your meetings such as speech timing, Toastmaster (meeting chairperson) and speech evaulator (giving feedback on the speech of another member). This can help build your communication and skills in a wide variety of leadership roles.
5) Become Inspired
I was amazed at how inspirational each Toastmaster club meeting was. Each member starts from a different level and tackles their fears and goals together. Meeting can have you in a whirlwind of emotions all in one, filling you with knowledge, joy, sadness, or inspiration. Observing the traits and actions of other members can really inspire you to push forward.
So what is stopping you? Most clubs allow you to show up as a guest with no obligations to sign up or speak. Guests are highly welcomed and new members serve as the lifeblood of Toastmasters clubs. Find your nearest club at the following link: https://www.toastmasters.org/Find-a-Club.
Do you have any questions? Do you think there is something I missed about the benefits of being a Toastmaster member?
If you are already a Toastmaster, please share your own experiences!
Thanks for reading!