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Toastmasters International

5 Ratings: 4.2
An Organization to Promote Personal Communication Skills Through Prepared and Impromptu Speeches

Description from the Toastmasters International Website:         From a humble beginning in 1924 at the YMCA in Santa Ana, California, Toastmasters International has grown to become a world leader in helping people become … see full wiki

Tags: Organization, Communication, Public Speaking, Personal Skills
1 review about Toastmasters International

Everyone Can Improve Their Life Through Toastmasters

  • Nov 24, 2009
Rating:
+5

I have been a member of Toastmasters International for more than two years.  It has greatly enhanced my speaking skills and has made me more confident around people.  What is nice about attending Toastmasters meetings is that it gives you a chance to practice speaking in front of group of very encouraging people who will clap hard for you no matter how good or bad your speech is.  You will then receive "positive" feedback from the group on what you can do to improve for the next time.  This makes public speaking fun and not a chore.

 

Our local club puts out a newsletter and below is an article for one of the issues.  It shows the value of being a Toastmasters member.

 

How to Get Up in Front of an Audience and Keep Your Cool

 

I keep hearing that the one thing that people fear most is getting up in front of an audience and giving a speech. For me that is way down in my personal list of "fear" priorities. I am not unique in this way of thinking as many of our seasoned Toastmaster members probably have that fear low down in their fear totem pole. They will probably tell you that the number one reason that they do not feel this way is because they seize upon every opportunity they can to get in front of an audience and not think about failure. The more you practice something the better you will do it. With experience in succeeding, you reduce the fear of failure. While, you can't be guaranteed to not have some butterflies attack your stomach, there are several things I do to prevent "Mr. Nervousness" from rearing his ugly head and disrupting an effective presentation:

 

- If I start to feel nervous before getting ready to speak, I take five long slow deep breaths. It is amazing how this relaxes your body if done properly.

 

- If I am working on a prepared speech, I practice it a few times in front of friends or co-workers. If it is a really important speech than I try at least two to three dry runs. The more you practice, the more confident you will be with it and the less likely you will be thinking of failure.

 

- Through martial arts training I learned to focus my "chi" outward. Chi is just an inner energy we all have. When focused outward our consciousness will not allow us thoughts about failure or what we are doing wrong, thus not allowing us to be nervous. If you have the opportunity to go through martial arts training, a way to help you focus your chi outward is when you are sparring imagine that there is an emergency requiring you to get home right away and your opponent is the only thing standing between you and your house.

 

- Try to look at your audience when you speak rather than looking down constantly at your notes. Look around slowly and focus directly into the eyes of individuals as if you are speaking to each person one-on-one. You should stay with each face about 3 seconds.  Looking at a sea of faces can be daunting.  Looking at people one at a time can trick the mind into thinking that you are have a chat with a single person instead of a mob. This technique can work whether your audience is five people or five hundred people.

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January 01, 2012
Practice makes perfect !
 
August 29, 2010
I teach Public Speaking now and then at my business & technical college; students run the gamut from terrified to poised, and we tried to start a TM chapter more than once to give them more practice. My dad after he retired joined where he lived and had a great time. I think the performative role is noteworthy-- we act when we speak in public and this may not be our manner outside of the forum; people need to understand that when they step up to enter a new situation as a speaker. Thanks for these tips, and enjoy your own time in front of the crowd. (The three second rule's an interesting one I never came across before in my materials, by the way.)
August 29, 2010
Thanks. I find that the more you practice, the more you learn about yourself and what works. The three seconds helps you to focus. You want to strike a balance between no eye contact with your audience and just looking around with no focus. I have heard from several other TMs that 3 seconds seems to work best.
 
November 27, 2009
Interesting review. Sounds like a very worthwhile activity more people should consider. I have heard of Toastmasters International but really did not know what they were all about. Very informative piece!
November 28, 2009
Thanks. You probably have a club close to where you live
 
November 24, 2009
This sounds great, and great review!  I had no idea there was such an organization.  I thought there was just... speech class :P  I'm curious, what's the make up of the crowd at your Toastmasters Club like?  Like gender and age-wise.
November 24, 2009
I belong to two clubs. One is at my job and is made up of a cross section of all types of employees. I also belong to a Spanish club away from work. This group is split between those non-natives looking to improve their Spanish proficiency and those native speakers who don't feel comfortable speaking in front of an audience in English. There are clubs in virtually every city around the country. You can find a local club from the web-site http://www.toastmasters.org/
November 24, 2009
Thanks for the link. It's really great to hear that they have the same club for other languages, too!
November 24, 2009
You should go to a meeting as a guest and see if you like it. Membership is cheap if you decide to join ($37 for six months).
 
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