Okanagan Panorama

All Things Toastmasters!

All Things Toastmasters!

Each Time We Face Our FearWhile I would whole-heartedly recommend either option for someone who was experiencing anxiety and fear of public speaking, I am concerned about the aspect of the anxiety being ‘paralyzing.’

Toastmasters is the world’s leading provider of inexpensive, effective communication and leadership training. They are experts at helping their members at overcoming their fear of public speaking and developing skills to become better communicators and leaders.

While there may be anecdotal stories from Toastmasters clubs around the world, as to how their club has helped someone who is paralyzed with fear, to becoming fearless, or at least less fearful, I don’t believe it to the norm.

Life Begins at the end of Your Comfort Zonev2Toastmasters is truly an International organization. You only have to go one of its annual conferences and watch the parade of banners in the opening ceremonies to truly appreciate how international it is.

You don’t say what country you live in.

Dont Let Your VoiceThere are no universal answers to this question. The best resource material for topics lay within your own personal history and experience.

I often share humorous stories from my childhood or other times of my life. I tie the story into making a point i.e. a teaching moment.

Recently I delivered a speech entitled “It seemed like a good idea at the time …” The speech is about a series of situations that didn’t go the way they were planned and the lessons learned.

Yes, they most certainly do.

On-line, virtual clubs have started up in the past two years. A Google search should help you locate one.

As far as I know, most of them are open to membership but tend to have members that are able to share a common meeting time. It doesn’t matter where you live in the world, as long as you have a fairly fast internet connection, you should be able to join a club.

Toastmasters International is slowly rolling out their new educational program called Pathways. It includes face-to-face meeting as in our traditional clubs as well as a plethora of educational tutorials you will be able to access on-line for self-directed training.

Communication Works for those who work at itGenerally, we don’t use the terms ‘critic’ or ‘criticism’ within Toastmasters.

Criticism, tends to have a negative connotation. Very few people enjoy being criticized.

In an effective Toastmasters club, the act of criticizing has been replaced with providing constructive feedback.

This of course, depends on the level of self-confidence and experience of the evaluator.

Almost every aspect of a Toastmaster meeting receives feedback. Some is better than others, but the overall intent is to help the person being evaluated to improve.

Dont Let Your VoiceSpeech ideas are all around us.

If you are interested in something, curious about a topic or even close to being an expert on a particular subject, you have something to talk about. And odds are, somebody will be interested in hearing what you have to say.

In the Competent Communicator manual and throughout the Advanced Communication Program manuals there are projects i.e. speeches that have a specific set of objectives.

Any number of topics can likely fit into a project’s objectives if you craft it to do so.

I’ve completed 16 Competent Communication manuals and two DTM’s worth from the Advanced program.

Be the ExpertThe Toastmasters program is a learning program. It is a self-paced, self-directed program.

You learn by self-study i.e. by participating in the communication & leadership program. You learn by researching topics for your presentations.

You also learn about many subjects from listening to other members sharing their experiences, research and presentations.

Dont Let Your VoiceI would start off by challenging your assertion that people don’t deliver really long speeches anymore. We certainly still see it with church leaders and long-winded politicians.

I would suggest changing the words ‘long prepared speeches’ to ‘presentations’.

Longer presentations are very common in the business world.

A presentation incorporates speaking skills, listening skills, facilitating, educating and many more. As where long speeches tend to be a one-way data dump.

It is becoming a well-documented fact that verbal communication skills are deteriorating in our younger generations. Social media may be providing more interconnectedness but it is not providing a similar increase in the quality of communication. A 144 character message does not leave a lot of room for quality communication.

There are many different ways to ensure and determine your success as a Toastmasters Club President.

Probably first and foremost, is reading the Club officer roles & responsibilities manual to have a thorough understanding of your responsibilities as well as those club officers that you in turn lead.

Many, yes, but not all.

Most Toastmasters clubs are open to the general community and accept members over the age of 18.

Then there are specialty clubs. A specialty club may have specific membership criteria. An example might be that to join you must have completed and hold a Competent Communicator designation, or be close to completing one.

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