Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking
Improving Your Toastmasters Experience
Toastmasters is an international organization dedicated to improving public speaking and leadership skills. It has clubs all over the world, started by individual members who want to improve themselves and help others. Toastmasters is invaluable for improving communication and leadership skills, but it's important to make the most of your time in TM. Here are three tips that will help you get more out of participating in a Toastmasters meeting.
1. Dive Right In!
When you first join a Toastmasters meeting, there's a lot of new information and terms to absorb. It can be a little overwhelming at first. You may be a little hesitant in getting involved at first. The best way to participate, however, is to let go of your inhibitions and do as much as you can. Take minor roles, such as the ah counter or grammarian, to get a little used to speaking in front of others.
When you're ready, you can prepare your Icebreaker, which is like an introduction speech to the club. If it seems too much to handle at first, don't worry! Good clubs will have members dedicated to making guests and newcomers feel settled in.
2. Find a good mentor
Speaking of help, Toastmasters has systems in place to help people who are new make the most of the program. One of these is the mentoring system. If your club has a mentoring program in place, ask around to find a more experienced member to help you with public speaking. Typically mentor and mentee relationships are set up by the club's Vice President of Membership (more on this later). A mentor is there to help you learn the ropes of the program, and also to assist you with your first few speeches. Having a good mentor speeds the learning process up considerably.
3. Take officer's roles
In addition to speaking roles, you can also become a club officer. Club officers are the leaders of the club, and they organize various aspects of the club's functions. You can choose to be an officer who assists with organizing the club meetings, keep track of membership, and also public relations and advertising. Club officer terms are typically six months, and the leadership and organizational skills you learn during your term are invaluable.
There are many ways to improve yourself, but Toastmasters is one of the most consistent and proven programs out there. Not only will you develop your public speaking and leadership skills, it'll also give you the confidence to tackle other challenges in your life. Toastmasters can be a valuable program no matter how you approach it, but the above tips will help you get the most out of your experience.
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