Monday, April 30, 2007

Toastmaster or Milktoast

Toastmasters. Many times that word alone strikes fear into the hearts of men and women alike.

Some believe Toastmasters is a mythical group of people bent on making up elaborate toasts for weddings, funerals, Bar Mitzvah’s, Bat Mitzvah’s and graduations. Some have heard that Toastmasters a place where people go to stand on a soapbox and speak about something, no one knows what, just something. Some think it’s a type of appliance, and sadly, some have never heard of Toastmasters at all. They just know that it’s scary!

Allow me to introduce you to Toastmasters: It’s a forum for professional, lay and business people in general to hone their public speaking skills….uhoooooo, that IS scary. Did you say: Public SPEAKING skills? Yes, I did.

Because I am often in the public arena promoting Verity Credit Union at a variety of community events and chamber functions, I wanted to improve my speaking ability when addressing the public. Toastmasters provide the ideal place to learn, grow and perfect one’s speaking capability. It’s fun, yes, I DID say FUN, informative, and for me, one of the highlights of my work week.

Each subject you choose to speak on is determined by you, at your own discretion in combination with particular speech objectives listed in your manual. In other words, for each of the ten speeches you give to earn your Competent Communicator Certificate, you have objectives to meet ranging from vocal tone and gestures to organizing your speech. Each lesson is designed to help the speaker become more comfortable with speaking in front of a group, and speaking well. All speeches are evaluated by a seasoned club member and positively reinforced with both compliments and pointers on how to improve.

I belong to a highly decorated club in Federal Way led by a very dynamic Life Coach, DeBorah, and numerous other professionals of varying backgrounds, from accountants to engineers and sales executives. This delightful group of business people is so enthusiastic, helpful and caring that I know my speaking has improved after only three months of participation. It’s due in great part to their support and constructive critiquing, not to mention the friendships I’ve established and the subjects I’ve learned about. Indeed, each speech that I’ve prepared has been more fun than the last, and I’ve earned the distinction of Best Speaker on more than one occasion. Who knew? And who knows what might be within you? I highly recommend the Toastmaster experience and encourage anyone and everyone to give it a try. We were all as nervous as you at the beginning. You’ll get over it and embrace it, and go from Milktoast to Toastmaster!


Anonymous Amanda said...

While performing some research for work, I stumbled upon your post. Yes, my supervisor actually has me lurking for a living! We have that in common. We also have three more things in common. First, we live in/near Federal Way, second, we earn our living promoting credit unions and, third, we like public speaking (my previous job was teaching public speaking to college students).

Maybe “like” is too strong a word for you.

Thanks for the post. I am thinking about joining some sort of professional association. I’m looking at IABC (International Association of Business Communicators) and now Toastmasters. Thanks for the idea!

Fri May 11, 02:44:00 PM PDT  

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