This week I delivered my first prepared Toastmaster speech. I was an introduction of myself and had to be between four and six minutes.
I’ve been doing in-home party presentations for 3+ years, have presented to a room of over 150 people, with lights and cameras, and have been singing and leading out many programs at church since I was 15. So after all those years, why am I now a member of Toastmasters? I’ll share that in a bit.
As a member, you get a Competent Communicator manual. It contains projects for you to complete, with guides and a detailed evaluation form at the end. This evaluation is done by another club member while you are presenting your speech. There is also a section of the meeting called Table Topics, where you get a random question or senario and you have to speak on it for one to two minutes. There is even an assigned “Ah’ counter for the meeting who reports back on how many ‘non-words’ each person used. Non-words can be ‘ah’, ‘um’, ‘like’, ‘you know’, or any variation on those. Everyone is welcomed to participate, even non-members. Talk about jumping in feet first; the learning really happens in the doing as a Toastmaster.
So to answer my previous question of ‘why now?’
One of my beliefs is that we should all be life-long students. That does not mean we have to pay large sums of money and spend years sitting in a class and writing papers. However, we should always seek to learn something new, particularly things that make us better. No person could ever know everything, but we can and must all work to improve ourselves. That is why I’m now a Toastmaster.
But what does that have to do with “evidence for believing”?
I shared in this post about wanting in my heart for a platform to share and inspire women to create change and how it becoming a reality because I stepped out of my comfort zone and decided to learn the Direct Sales industry. Though I’ve had lots of previous presentation experience, speaking infront of ‘random’ people was surely outside of my comfort zone. However, that’s where all the magic usually happens. My application for Toastmasters was submitted just days before being asked to speak at the Jersey City Amazing Women Empowerment Summit. Now, Toastmasters will be a wonderful tool to help me prepare for that event; and any other opportunities, even my tasting parties. Just the way this series of events has unfolded has provided tangible evidence for believing.
If you’ve ever considered joining Toastmasters, you can visit any club, at least twice, to get a feel of how you’d fit in with that club. Some perks of being a Toastmaster–just to heighten your curiosity–include access to their online training and videos and the monthly Toastmaster magazine you receive via mail. Another wonderful thing is that once you are a member, you can attend meetings at any club around the globe. So whether I’m in South Carolina or New Jersey or anywhere in-between, I’m at home in any club. It’s funny how stepping out of my comfort zone lead me to a place to belong.
You can check out the Toastmasters International site for more information and a club in your area. https://www.toastmasters.org/
Are you a Toastmaster? I’d love to hear how long you’ve been and what you’ve gain as part of this organization. Share in the comments below.