This is one club I highly recommend you join no matter where you are in your career. There are not many clubs you belong to that revolve around something you don’t like doing – public speaking. Toastmasters is a club to help improve communication, leadership skills, and maybe even make public speaking fun. Currently, there are more than 345,000 members attending one of their 15,900 clubs in over 140 countries. This is NOT a small club. This is a great opportunity to network. Some companies will have their own club with meetings usually held at lunch time every other week. Other clubs are more regional and consist of people from many different companies meeting on a weeknight or for lunch. Do not miss this kind of opportunity for exposure.
6 Reasons to Join Toastmasters –
1) Improved Skills – You will get better at public speaking, communicating, and have more confidence. This confidence will really affect the way others perceive you.
2) Big Presentation Help – If you have a BIG presentation coming up, you can try your presentation out at the club for constructive feedback. This helps make sure that your speech is polished and refined by the time you really need to present. Giving a great presentation is a great way to improve your image and appear competent.
3) Networking – As mentioned before you will have many opportunities to meet new people and create exposure for yourself inside and outside your organization. You never know which contact you meet may lead to your next right opportunity.
4) Resume – While you attend Toastmaster meetings, you will work through different courses in one of their books. Once you have completed a book you receive recognition for the completion just as if you completed a certificate course at a local college. Employers know the Toastmaster name, so put it on your resume.
5) Competition – If you are a competitive person, Toastmasters holds several speech contests during the year and even a large international competition. This is a great opportunity to put your speaking skills to the test and unleash your competitive spirit.
6) ESL – If English is your second language and you want to get better, this is a huge opportunity to improve. With a little bit of courage Toastmasters can be your best friend. Working at a large multinational company I saw many ESL members join and improve their speaking skills. It was phenomenal to see the results members were making in just months. Plus the club is a positive type atmosphere that is always encouraging.
What to expect in a Toastmasters Meeting? – Each meeting is pretty consistent in its format. There are leadership roles you can volunteer for as well as speaking roles. Each speaker will receive feedback on the speech from a designated evaluator. This constructive feedback will help your public speaking skills grow through the roof. It will also help take the edge off of public speaking outside of Toastmasters because you will have had plenty of practice.
How much does Toastmasters cost? The current cost is $45 every six months with new members paying a one-time fee of $20.
Toastmasters requires a small time commitment and a small amount of money. The gains on this capital are incredible though. I was a member for nearly a year and half before changing companies (unfortunately putting an end to my membership) and noticed the public speaking confidence after only two months from when I started. By six months in I had already entered one of my club’s speech contest and won. I was not a fan of public speaking when I started to put this into some perspective. Whether or not competing is even on your mind I highly recommend that you do not pass up an opportunity to join Toastmasters.