6 Reasons Why I Joined Toastmasters

Posted by 8 January, 2009

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Toastmasters is an international organization that helps people hone their communication and leadership skills. Per the Toastmasters website, the organization was founded in Santa Ana, CA in 1924.

I have contemplated joining Toastmasters for a fear years, but I had never acted on it. Last year, 2008, I attended a few meetings through out the year. Towards the end year, I had an opportunity to speak for my work group at a meeting at Rice University. I declined the opportunity to speak in front of such a distinguished group out of my fear for public speaking. I decided I will not allow my fear of public speaking to hold me back anymore.

1. Fear – The most obvious reason for joining Toastmasters is that I want to rid myself of the fear of public speaking. I am terrified anytime I am speaking in front of more than a handful of people and that is not acceptable to me any longer. I’ve always had a fear of public speaking, but I think the embarrassment that really propelled my fear into an all out panic came during my freshman year of college at UT Austin. I was in an English literature class and we had to take turns reading out of some novel. While reading out of the novel in front of the class, I froze. It probably wasn’t a big deal, but I heard a few people snicker. I’m sure that all sounds pretty lame, but from that point forward, I’ve had a pretty difficult time with public speaking.

2. Networking – I want to use Toastmasters to network with other coworkers. I figure it’ll also help me fulfill my quest to be more social as indicated in my goals for this year.

3. Confidence – Anytime you conquer a fear or achieve a goal, you are going to feel good about yourself. I don’t think I’m that bad at public speaking, but I feel that Toastmasters will help boost and sustain my confidence in public speaking so I don’t miss future opportunities to “stand out” from the crowd.

4. Life SkillToastmasters is yet another tool I can add to my tool box that adds more value and increases my ability to be employed. Even if you are not employed and perhaps volunteer for a non-profit organization, public speaking is a valuable tool that you will be able to use in any facet of life.

5. LeadershipToastmasters will also give me the ability to sharpen my leadership skills. Members in Toastmasters are often asked to run meetings and other activities that would allow me to sharpen my leadership skills.

6. Think on your feet – During Toastmasters meetings, people are put on the spot and asked to give an impromptu speech about the topic presented. I’ve participated in this before and it’s really interesting what stories I’ve been able to put together because I don’t consider myself to be very good at impromptu speeches. I’m more of a sit, think, analyze, and then speak sort of person.

Are you an accomplished public speaker? If so, were you a member of Toastmasters? Is public speaking something you fear? Please feel free to leave a comment!

Photo by: Iggy

External Resources

http://www.stresscure.com/jobstress/speak.html

http://www.toastmasters.org/tips.asp

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Comments
January 8, 2009

My fear of public speaking? I will sound stupid or boring or say something incorrectly. Good for you facing your fears. I cheer you on!

January 8, 2009

Although I was an accomplished speaker, I joined Toastmasters back in 1993 as a way to eliminate some bad habits that had crept in.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the organization (I was a member for about 10 years), and many of the frienships I formed continued to this day.

There are opportunities for both communication and leadership development, and I encourage you to get involved in both.

During my tenure, I completed my DTM as well as served by District as a Distinguished District Governor.

Posted by Mary Jo
January 8, 2009

Interesting reasons to join! These are vital skills — especially as global communication becomes more important. Good luck!

Posted by Miranda
January 8, 2009

Just found the site. I was in Toastmasters not too long ago, and I plan on going back to the meetings. I thought I was pretty good until I joined and saw some really talented speakers. It helped me to see my main problem was the “uh’s” when I spoke.

Posted by Broderick Allen
January 8, 2009

@ Dee – Thank you so much for your support!

@ Mary Jo – Wow, I hope I can one day be as accomplished as you in public speaking.

@ Miranda – Thanks for the comment!

Posted by HIB
January 9, 2009

I joined TM just before we hit the road and I gotta say it was the best thing I ever did. I was terrified of speaking in public before I joined. Still am, but it’s really helped me to calm down when I do it.

Today I had to speak at a national TV Critics Conference, and if I hadn’t have joined TM and had that experience, I think I would’ve crapped my pants up there on the stage!

Posted by Rene
January 9, 2009

Rene,
Thanks for the story. It definitely gives me hope that I’ll be able to speak in front of a large audience one day. Hopefully soon!

Posted by admin
January 10, 2009

I am a past member of Toastmasters. The only reason I am no longer involved was due to time commitments and not being able to make the meetings on a regular basis. I do hope to get back someday soon. The organization is fantastic! I can’t think of a more supportive group that I’ve been involved with. And, the idea of improving public speaking and leadership skills is such an important life skill. I hope it goes very well for you, which I suspect it will.

Posted by Lance
January 10, 2009

Lance,
I think I would have a tough time meeting the time commitment, BUT the Toastmaster meeting is at work during the lunch hour so I have no excuses for not going. In addition to having the meeting during lunch, there are 3 different days in the week that I can choose from.
Thank you very much for the comment!
-HIB

Posted by HIB
January 11, 2009

You will also meet the nicest and non-judegmental people there!

Posted by Tess The Bold Life
January 11, 2009

Hi. I found you blog over at Jungle of Life. I love Toast Masters and was a founding member of the TM group at my place of employment. I have not been able to participate in the past several years, but hope to find time in the future to incorporate TM meetings back into my life.

January 11, 2009

@ Tess – I’ve definitely met quite a few people who were REALLY nice. I’ll be honest that I thought that they were about to sell me something (which is really sad) with that much hospitality.

@ Stacey – Thank you so much for stopping by! The Jungle of Life is an awesome blog.

Posted by HIB
July 9, 2009

I represent bravina.com. Our site is dedicated to providing resources for public speaking anxiety http://www.bravina.com/public-speaking-anxiety.html; I thought you may want to add it to your list of resources – thanks.

Scott

Posted by Scott Wetzel
March 8, 2010

Joining Toastmasters can really be a great training to improve your public speaking skill. Since most people who have mastered the art of public speaker agree that only practice makes perfect, this learn-by-doing option is a really good one.

Posted by Tim Ackerman
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