For over the past twenty years, I have enjoyed the benefits of being a member of the Rise and Shine Toastmasters Club. We meet weekly at the University of the Fraser Valley. Those benefits are captivated in the Toastmasters International mission statement. “The mission of our Toastmasters' club is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every member has the opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth.” The positive learning environment cannot be overemphasized, especially after realizing that the only fear greater than public speaking is dying.
There are two main parts of public speaking as well as a personal benefit everyone gains over time. The first part is the art of speaking in public. Initially the task seems overwhelming and insurmountable. Why am I here, what do I say, who do I look at besides the floor and the ceiling, where is the hole I can dive into, and why am I so alone? Fortunately, you are in a body of supporters. After a short period of a few meetings, a new member will learn to stand confidently and speak with ease to the audience. During that period the supporting group will offer numerous helpful tips on your speaking ability, your body language and its importance, along with speech writing and organization. What do you think about this being you?
The second aspect of public speaking is the ability to listen to the speaker. Almost immediately, a new member recognizes both the negatives and the positives of speaking. The Grammarian of the meeting points out the “uhms and ahs” and other poor speaking habits that people use to fill the space. This is balanced by the correct use of the language, which is equally highlighted. We soon learn to emphasize the positive aspects of public speaking during our speeches. Are there any public figures you listen to that need some training?
I did promise a personal benefit you will obtain after spending a period of time participating at Toastmasters. Over the past two decades, I witnessed many people join the club and commence the art of public speaking. In every case, I watched their level of self confidence blossom with their ability to speak in public. They can now stand confidently before an audience in a very relaxed manner and deliver the message that a few weeks ago was impossible. Your fear has been replaced with personal self confidence. If you have any thoughts about becoming a better speaker, then I strongly suggest you take the time to attend a Toastmaster’s meeting.
Link to Rise and Shine Toastmasters- http://abbytoastmasters.com/