Being in large audiences or just the thought of speaking in front of a lot of people use to have me trembling in my boots. Speak in front of who I would ask? I’m talking about sweat dripping, tongue-tied, take cover nervousness. I’ve grown out of that – having people staring at you waiting to see what you have to say is not all the bad. Often we think we are going to make a huge mistake, maybe forget what we were going to say, and the list goes on. In high school, I would hear my mother speak of toastmasters, but I never knew what it meant. She was often called to speak, rather in her local church or affiliated churches in other states. I assumed toastmasters had something to do with her job, and I suppose you can say it did. She was confident and well-spoken and I could probably ascertain to where she developed her skills.
Toastmasters International is a world leader in teaching people how to communicate efficiently and lead within their communities. Members who wish to improve their speaking and leadership skills can join for a minuscule fee. Want to try it out? Toastmasters welcome guest, it’s like trying it on before you join the group. It will provide you a welcoming environment and the ability to meet new people who have the same goal as you. Information can be obtained at http://www.toastmasters.org. Meetings occur twice a month but the one I attended meets weekly.
I picked up the phone one day and made contact with a member who encouraged me to participate in the next meeting. I didn’t know what to expect, but I am a firm believer in if you want something you must be willing to get it. You must be ready conquer your fears and nervousness. I did, and it was great. It was, first of all, fun. There were speeches, impromptu’s, jokes and learning tidbits. It was worth it. I didn’t feel like the guest – I felt like part of the team that joining was without question. Maybe you are not speaking for a living but just looking to communicate better with the ones you love, or learning to interact better in work environments. Whatever the case there is something for everyone.
“If we did all the things we are capable of we would astound ourselves”
~ Thomas Edison