Toastmasters, what is that???
Just so we’re clear, it has nothing to do with making toast. Toastmasters began simply as a group of speaking clubs. The name of “toastmaster” became a popular term that was used to describe a person that gave toasts at banquets and special occasions. You can learn public speaking with a great group of people. The first official meeting of Toastmasters International took place on October 22, 1924.
At present there are over 332,000 members and 14,500 toastmaster clubs in 135 countries. The goal of these clubs are to help people become more effective communicators and leaders in their lives, jobs and communities.
Every year toastmasters holds an international speaking competition that began with over 30,000 competitors. On August 20th, 90 semi finalists will be competing for the title of world champion of public speaking and my brother will be one of them!
How did you get into toastmasters and public speaking? You don’t hear about it from many people your age.
My journey first started with Toastmasters right before graduating college in December, 2013. My Dad told my sister, a good friend and myself to join toastmasters to help us all with communication skills.
What is your speech about? What inspired it?
My speech is about overcoming the inner critique, that negative voice that we all have in our head. While I was doing some free writing, trying to figure out a speech for the club contest. I just started writing about how I was feeling and that’s what began to take shape.
Why do you think your audience and judges have responded so well to this speech?
People resonate with it because it is relatable to everyone. Since we all have conversations with ourselves and have dealt with negative voices in our head. Also, the speech is spoken word poetry. So there is a creative element that is different than a traditional speech. People tend to enjoy that more.
What have you learned in toastmasters? And have you been able to apply the skills you have to other areas of your life?
Toastmasters has helped me develop my communication skills. Most of all in written and spoken form. In addition, my confidence has grown in my ability to communicate effectively with different types of audiences. My leadership skills have also developed a lot as well. Members of Toastmasters serve different roles in meetings, which help you grow in different professional capacities.
How do you hope to use these skills in the future?
I intend to continue growing as a communicator and leader through toastmasters. I enjoy speaking publicly and therefore want to become a professional speaker. Hence my goal is to help train individuals and organizations on how to improve their communication and leadership skills.
For people interested in joining a toastmasters club. What is your advice?
I would tell them to go check out a few toastmaster clubs in their area. Certain clubs might not be the best fit. Visiting is free and you can visit as long as you want. I would recommend this before committing to be a member. I would tell people that it is the least expensive investment someone can make in their education for communication and leadership skills. Especially since the top skills that employers are looking for in the workforce are leadership, communication and being able to work in a team environment. In conclusion, Toastmasters helps you develop all of those skills.