Generally when I tell someone that I am a member of Toastmasters (Toastmasters International, TI for short) I get one of two reactions depending on wheather the person I am talking to has a notion of what Toastmasters is about, or not. When I tell someone, who has no previous idea about Toastmasters, that it is a public speaking club I often get an OMG reaction something like OMG why would anyone want to speak in public unless it was totally, absolutely, and almost barrel-of-a shotgun necessary.
Although to describe Toastmasters simply as a public speaking club does not do it full justice. It is probably more properly described as a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the communication and leadership skills of its members. The OMG reaction is understandable, as a fear of public speaking is in the top ten of our greatest fears. Membership of TI is a great antidote to that fear.
TI is a large organization with over a quarter of million members spread over a network of thirteen thousand clubs worldwide. Part of the ethos of Toastmasters is to support members on their Toastmaster journey. For example, an evaluation of a speech will focus on its good points as well as including some pointers for improvement. Toastmasters’ clubs welcome guests so if you would like to see what happens, without any obligation to join, please feel free to attend a meeting of your local TI club.
TI is not a stuffed with egomaniacs who like to hear themselves speak. Nor is it the case that you need to be an extrovert to join and enjoy Toastmasters. In my case it is a bit of a paradox, given that my default mode is shy, that I like public speaking so much. I suspect the genesis of this liking goes back to my schooldays when I enjoyed both taking part and listening to debates.
TI is very much on my mind this evening as tomorrow night I will be giving a speech at my TI club. The old adage ‘if you don’t prepare, prepare to fail’ is circulating around my brain, so I am off now to *fine-tune* my speech.
Talk to you soon.
Note: the web address for Toastmasters International is http://www.toastmasters.org