I have recently gotten a position as Media Coordinator for a business association. During my meeting/interview with a subcommittee of the organization’s board, it was mentioned I should check out Toastmasters. I have never been one to talk in front of people. Usually I’m not comfortable, but I do have good moments like when I met David at Macstock. Or when I was doing karaoke at Macstock (my legs were shaking). Or when I was sitting by myself at dinner and Allison Sheridan came over and set down at my table.
Anyone use or are a member of Toastmasters? What was your experience? Thoughts? Did the group help you?
Back in the 90s when I was in B-school it was considered popular and useful and was recommended by numerous instructors for the purposes of learning public speaking and for networking.
There’s no downside to trying it out.
True! You have a good point there. Thank you!
I went to a few meetings at different locations. Each group has a different atmosphere. All the groups I attended were welcoming and nonjudgmental.
They give you good feedback on your speaking ability, without it seeming like it is about you personally. Which may sound odd, but is empowering. For example, the person that counts the ‘ums’ simply reports the number.
The topics are about everyday things, so there is no pressure to show expertise about anything. This is also liberating.
I won’t get into my whole origin story, but suffice to say, I think it will be helpful.
My brother has been very active in Toastmasters for over 40 years and has founded at least one Toastmasters group. He has achieved DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster) status, which I believe is the highest you can go. He has also served as statewide officer in two states. When I visit, if I am there on a Thursday, I always accompany him to a meeting.
He was always an excellent speaker, but I’m sure TM has helped him to improve. The meetings are always interesting and I enjoy them, even when they make me speak (which was entirely unexpected the first time…). I have gotten to know several people through his TM meetings and they all have claimed TM helped them immensely. (Yes, a self-selected sample, I know.)
I would highly recommend trying out TM to see if it works for you. The three TM clubs I have attended with my brother have been very welcoming and inviting. It can be a bit intimidating at first, especially when your talk is being evaluated, but all criticism I’ve witnessed has been constructive and well intended.
I remember that Asian Efficiency dude, @mikeschmitz, said he was participating in Toastmasters. I vaguely remember him mentioning it. Perhaps a DM to him would give you tips.
I wouldn’t call myself a toastmaster but I can toast a bagel.
I speak for a living, and I’ve been a Toastmaster off and on for 30 years. I’ve been a member of my current club for ten years and I love it. Great people, all focused on helping each other to become better, and more relaxed, speakers. Highly recommended. Go to Toastmasters for more info and to find a local club.
I did that after it was suggested. I reached out to one, but never heard back. I’m going to be reaching out to another one who has a meeting this Monday.
My sister and cousin were both in Toastmasters years ago. I haven’t heard that groups name dropped in years.
Nonetheless, it would be a great group to be involved with. I don’t mind speaking in front of groups. I end up talking to groups from 10 to 400 a few times a year. It is something worth looking in to.
Disclaimer: I’m the current Vice President of Public Relations for a local Toastmasters club, but what is below is my personal thoughts.
Toastmasters has helped me to ‘get out of my shell’, become more confident speaking in front of others, knowing how to put together a good introduction and speech, and helped to develop a local community I can count on if I need any help (many members have personally said if there is anything they can help with, then let them know).
Toastmasters isn’t for everyone, but even if you go a couple of times and participate in Table Topics (an impromptu speaking portion) you can get the sense if Toastmasters (and the right club) are right for you. Some clubs are so big (like the one I’m involved in) that you do a speech once every 3 months, but you can do head table roles more often (sometimes last minute).
Go out to a couple clubs in your area and find out that fits you, talk with members and ask what they think of the club.
i do a lot of first-person storytelling at The Moth in LA, and through that have met many people who have done Toastmasters. I have always heard great things. it seems like a very good way to get comfortable speaking in public. it may be second-hand, but I highly recommend it.
I’ve been in Toastmasters for six-and-a-half years and really enjoy it. I’m a more confident speaker, and people tell me that my speeches help them (which wasn’t always the case before!).
Not every club will be a match for you, whether for logistical reasons or personality, so it’s worth checking out a couple of clubs in your area before deciding one way or another.
I’m Webmaster for my District (District 101, Silicon Valley), so I even get to exercise my technical chops (and occasionally I give a speech about the web site and how it works, which can be a challenge!).
I’ve been in Toastmasters for quite a long time as well. I echo a lot of what’s said here. It’s great to get you better on your feet. Not every club fits every person. You also get what you put into it.
I highly recommend it as a great way to get stage time. And getting stage time is the best way to get better speaking.
I can’t recommend Toastmasters enough… it has been instrumental in my personal growth, not just my ability to speak. What was surprising to me was how much it helped so many aspects of speaking that aren’t officially “public speaking” - podcasting, webinars, even writing. I once had someone tell me that going through the Toastmasters curriculum was the equivalent of getting a masters in communication. For ~$100/year, that’s a bargain
I did go to one this past Monday. It was interesting. It reminded me of a college speech class. I plan on going again.
Thank you everyone for talking about your experiences with Toastmasters. I did appreciate it.
I did think about how it could benefit me in other places in my life.
It could be the best time to join Toastmasters since they are changing their curriculum (or program).