One activity that I always wanted to participate in was Toastmasters. I learned about Toastmasters back in 2014. After three years, I was finally able to commit to a club and get started on both the leadership and communication paths.
I worked on a boat as a cruise director and the guest lecturer suggested I look into the international club. As a cruise director I had to give presentations, announcements and speeches incredibly frequently. I enjoyed public speaking and always tried to improve each time I spoke whether it was a prepared presentation or off-the-cuff.
Each week I would welcome a new group of guests on board. Before I was to give the introductory welcome aboard speech, Id make sure the specialist was present. I always went to him/her after I was done and asked for a critique.
I wanted to know how I sounded, if the content was engaging, if I was clear, did it go too long. The list goes on, and once I found out there was this group, I researched about the requirements the next night I had off.
Toastmasters offers an encouraging and fun environment to break the ice and cultivate one of the most sought after business skills: communication.
When I was an intern for the communications team at the University of Pittsburgh’s Student Affairs department, my boss had always given me feedback. I learned from him that feedback is the best form of communication.
At Toastmasters you will always get feedback. If you think it’s not for you, I promise you that you are probably kidding yourself. It’s free to be a guest at a club. If you are weak at writing, too shy to speak up, want to be more social or need to work on something else, go give it a shot.
I’m not scared to talk in front of people, but I have many other weaknesses with some being rushing my story, weak transitions and using “crutch” words. I knew one day I would be part of this because it offered me the opportunity to perfect my speaking abilities and write creative speeches. In my case it took a little while to find a group because none fit my schedule, and I felt as if I had a put an important goal of mine on hold indefinitely.
There were a few reasons why it took so long to join a club. One was that I worked on the cruise ship, and the following year from 2015-2016 I moved to London. I would visit local clubs here and there in New Jersey and London hoping the next one would have better meeting times. None worked and with my contract job in London, it seemed silly to commit for such a limited time.
I’m glad I waited because after my year in London, I came home to New Jersey and found myself at a new job in December 2016 and a member of Toastmasters in February 2017.
I’m very comfortable with the group and already have helped out with an open house. I’ve found it to be a very supportive community with people in all positions from all walks of life who benefit from it.
I am about to present my second speech out of the first book and will post my speeches on Inspreneur for you to get a sense of the projects and benefits I am receiving from joining this club.