If you want to be a great female leader, then you are going to need to master the art of public speaking so that you can give a powerful presentation at work or at conferences. This means that you will need to spend a lot of time practicing on your speaking skills and doing a lot of rehearsing. And while you should spend a lot of time practicing at home, it’s going to be vital for your progress that you also get feedback. This is why many of the leading women speakers join a Toastmasters group.
One of the most popular, and certainly the most well known, public speaking skill training organizations is Toastmasters. Founded in 1924, Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development, with over 280,000 members across 13,500 clubs in 116 countries. On your road to mastering the art of public speaking, you will undoubtedly hear about Toastmasters, one way or another. The organization is responsible for training many of today’s best and most popular public speakers, and receives high accolades from many attendees.
If you are serious about advancing your public speaking career, the question of whether to join Toastmasters will come up at some point. Toastmasters has emerged as the defacto choice for advancing your education in public speech. In the pursuit of the art of public speaking, gaining higher education can only advance and accelerate your keynote presentation or business presentation skills.
Toastmasters goal is to help people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience. During meetings, members give brief presentations, and are evaluated and critiqued by their peers. Toastmasters presents a safe, intimate environment where a member is free to make mistakes, in an effort to learn and grow more confident. The no-pressure environment allows participants to progress at their own pace.
Members start by working through a 10 speech curriculum, called the Competent Communication Manual. This manual allows the member to focus on area of public speech such as hand movements, gesture, eye contact, delivery, and organization. Evaluators are assigned to each member, and provide feedback following each presentation, both written and verbal. In addition, others will keep track of smaller details of the speech, such as the number of filler words used and grammatical errors.
Groups ranging from 8-25 gather in a community center to practice, educate, and critique each other. Most groups tend to be 12-15 people in size, and tend to be extremely well organized. The two main focuses of each meeting are the planned speeches, and impromptu speeches.
Even if you are not in a public speaking role in your career, the skills learned from practicing at an organization such as Toastmasters will serve you well in every walk of life. At the end of the day, Toastmasters is teaching you skills sets that pertain to dealing with other people. Leadership, communication, and articulation are skills that are used every day, in the work world and the personal world. Toastmasters provides the platform to learn these skill traits, and does so through a public speaking skill route. Toastmasters also provides a wonderful platform to meet people who are facing the same challenges and working towards the same goals. Whether it be business connections or personal friendships, many have reported that Toastmasters has been a valuable resource in finding like-minded individuals.