Why Toastmasters? Five Reasons to Join a Toastmasters Club

You may never expect to do it. Your boss may ask you to do it. Perhaps a family member will request it of you for a wedding or other event.

Do what? Make a presentation in front of a group of people.

That's why I have always recommended to my students and clients that they consider attending (and eventually joining) a Toastmasters Club. What is Toastmasters? A non-profit organization that encourages personal development and growth in a supportive environment.

More specifically: "The mission of a Toastmasters club is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every individual member has the opportunity to develop oral communications and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth." --Toastmasters.org.

So... why Toastmasters? Keep reading to discover the many benefits of becoming a member.

Five Reasons to Consider Joining Toastmasters

1. You'll become a better presenter/speaker. If you stick with the program, you'll work through a manual toward the goal of becoming a Competent Communicator. The process takes you through 10 prepared speeches that focus on specific aspects of speaking -- including organizing your speeches, utilizing body language, persuading with power, practicing vocal variety, and incorporating visual aids. Most of the speeches are designed to be between four and six minutes. With each speech you give, an evaluator will give you constructive feedback. Some clubs even allow the option of videoing your speech so you can watch it and judge your progress.

2. You'll become more comfortable speaking on the fly. If you're the type of person who doesn't like talking in small groups because of the pressure to keep the conversation going, you'll quickly gain confidence and ease through the Table Topics portion of Toastmasters meetings, which is designed to help people become more comfortable with being put on the spot. When you participate in Table Topics, you have to quickly organize your thoughts on the fly as you respond to an impromptu prompt or question. Members receive the prompt, take a moment to gather their thoughts, and then speak on the topic for one and two minutes.

3. You'll become a better researcher. While only one of the prepared speeches in the Competent Communicator series deals specifically with conducting research (#7: Research Your Topic), many speakers conduct research for all their speeches. The topic of each speech is totally up to the speaker, and some members cover the same subject across all their speeches while others choose from a variety of topics near and dear to them. The more research, the better the quality of the content of your speeches, which should also help give you the confidence in delivering them.

4. You'll become a better listener. Members do not speak at every meeting, so you'll have some meetings in which all you are is part of the audience... of course, Toastmasters also has the role of Evaluator. Evaluators are designated roles in which you evaluate a speaker based on specific guidelines for the speech, as outlined in the speech manual. (And, of course, evaluators also give a short speech/report on their evaluations.) But even if you do not serve an official role, you'll want to listen and learn -- and discover neat tricks and techniques to incorporate into your speeches.

5. You'll gain confidence. The one constant I have heard of all Toastmasters Clubs is that the members are very supportive of each other; in other words, it is a safe environment to practice your craft and gain self-assurance as you become more comfortable speaking in front of the group. I was a Toastmasters member, even after years of teaching and making presentations, and I found the experience both uplifting and renewing.

Final Thoughts on the Value of Toastmasters

For people who break out in a cold sweat simply at the thought of giving a speech in front of a group of people, Toastmasters will be invaluable. You'll be given the chance to work at your own pace in presenting in front of the club... and with each speech and new technique conquered, you'll become more and more comfortable. You may never become a master orator or a paid speaker, but you will feel much more at ease speaking in front of a group of people.

One final benefit of Toastmasters, especially for those seeking additional skills: Toastmasters also has a leadership component, the Competent Leader, in which members can follow a manual that contains various club projects designed to help you become more comfortable performing leadership tasks.

Bottom-line: It's free to visit Toastmasters clubs, and some cities have multiple clubs, so you have nothing to lose by visiting one or more clubs to see if Toastmasters will work for you. Join Toastmasters to help learn new presentation skills, and conquer your speaking fears.

Find a Toastmasters Club today.

Dr. Randall Hansen is an advocate, educator, mentor, ethicist, and thought-leader... helping the world heal from past trauma. He is founder and CEO of EmpoweringSites.com, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including EmpoweringAdvice.com.

He is the author of the groundbreaking Triumph Over Trauma: Psychedelic Medicines are Helping People Heal Their Trauma, Change Their Lives, and Grow Their Spirituality and the well-received HEAL! Wholeistic Practices to Help Clear Your Trauma, Heal Yourself, and Live Your Best Life.

Dr. Hansen's focus and advocacy center around true healing ... healing that results in being able to live an authentic life filled with peace, joy, love. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, RandallSHansen.com. You can also check out Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.