Can Toastmasters Help You Be a Better Public Speaker?
The short answer is yes.
Toastmasters can help you improve your presentation skills. Toastmasters has helped hundreds of thousands of people around the world improve their presentation, public speaking, and communication skills.
My Experience with Toastmasters
I joined Toastmasters to improve my presentation skills. I was a member for seven years. During that time I actively participated in meetings, on the executive, in public speaking contests and in the promotion of membership. I contributed articles, letters and tips regularly to Toastmaster Magazine. I presented at officer training programs, regional conferences and at two international conferences.
Membership in Toastmasters was a series of positive experiences for me. If you want to get the most from any organization or experience contribute and participate. This article is my opinion of my experience as a member of Toastmasters. As a professional speaker and presentation skills trainer I am often asked about Toastmasters.
What is Toastmasters?
Toastmasters is a nonprofit association primarily focused on improving the presentation skills of its members. Through participation in the administration of the volunteer structure Toastmasters also offers leadership development. Anyone can join. Pay your membership fees and you are a member. Volunteer to lead and you can be a club, area or regional officer. Naturally you will be expected to invest time, effort and commitment.
How does Toastmasters work?
The grassroots of this organization are the Toastmasters clubs. The number of members in a club can vary from 10 to 30. My club had approximately 25 members and attendance at weekly meetings varied between 8 and 20. A bonus is that after you join a club you can attend any other club meetings at no extra cost. I recommend that you visit other clubs to experience different perspectives.
What does it Cost?
Membership cost is the sum of international membership plus the club costs. When I was a member the total annual fee was a few hundred dollars. Club costs are based on the cost of the meeting room. So if the meeting room is free, that portion could be zero. Many clubs get the use of company meeting rooms for free. In either case it’s an incredibly inexpensive deal.
What is the Toastmasters formula?
Simple, practical repeatable systems. Each new member receives a study guide with 10 speeches that the new Toastmaster can work through. The idea is to focus their growth on specific presentation techniques and to encourage them to participate regularly at club meetings. That’s the real key – attend and participate.
Toastmasters follows a system for improving your public speaking skills. You learn the fundamentals, are encouraged to practice, receive peer feedback and are warmly welcomed at every meeting.
The Key Benefits to Joining Toastmasters?
It’s inexpensive. They have a proven record of success. You are offered a system of effective public speaking techniques. You will receive enthusiastic support from your club members. You will make new friends.