It may seem like an unlikely subject to be writing about during a global pandemic, when public gatherings are banned, but an unlikely public speaking hobby has helped get me through the past 12 months. In this post – I’m going to run through why you should consider joining your local public speaking or Toastmasters club – even if you may not be able to go out in public (yet).
It’s worth mentioning that everything in this post is focused on joining a Toastmaster club. Don’t be put off by little-cheesy, very American sound naming, Toastmasters is a global organisation with thousands of clubs spanning the globe – it’s likely there’s a Toastmasters club local to you, and with the global pandemic causing many clubs to go virtual, you can attend any club at your convenience right from home.
So – just what benefits would you get from joining a Toastmaster Club?
Public Speaking Experience
Let’s start with he obvious, you’ll gain experience speaking publicly in a safe an encouraging environment. Everyone joining a club varies in experience, their goals and their confidence, so there’s no need to feel embarrassed if you’ve never tried before. I still remember my first experience at my club – and how blown away I was with the speakers – I was never going to get as good as they are.
You’ll not only gain experience from public speaking, but all the elements around it, such as how to structure a speech, the ability to think on your feet and adjust a speech in progress, dealing with a difficult audience, the list goes on. In addition, the feedback framework via the informal paper slips, and the more formal evaluation, is an invaluable way to gain constructive feedback, and personally, one of the main reasons I love giving speeches.
This brings me on to my second point. As well as learning to give public speeches, you’ll also learn how to evaluate and provide feedback on others members speech’s. It’s easy to overlook this (after all – it is called a “public speaking” club, not a “public speaking and feedback club”), but its a vital part of the membership, and an incredibly useful skill to hone, as not only do speech’s get evaluated, but all evaluations also get evaluated and voted on, (its evaluations all the way down). Being able to provide constructive feedback, thats free of an opinion is a useful skill, especially for budding managers and leaders – as many Toastmaster members are.
A Plethora of Other Skills
This comes on to the element that most surprised me when joining. These clubs aren’t just about presenting and evaluating speeches – the entire curriculum is tailored around your goals, developing skills such writing for a blog, running a podcast, or running a panel (yes – I had done many of this before joining – but I can always be more awesome).
So whatever your career goals are, whatever your age – there’ll be a project and a course thats right for you.
Why not join us at Chiltern Speakers (located in Beaconsfield, but currently running virtually at 7.30 every 1st and 3rd Tuesday).
Sign up using the form below and we’ll provide the dial in details for our next meeting