Are you looking for ways to enhance your public speaking skills, yet unsure of how to go about doing so?
Do you recognize the value of learning by making mistakes, yet are too afraid of making a costly mistake at work?
Are you looking for a safe and supportive environment to grow as speaker then?
If your answer is a resounding YES to any of those questions I’ve just asked, then this post’s for you! (especially if you’re residing in Singapore!)
Well, following my presentation on national radio, I felt inclined to do my bit to spread the word for the Toastmasters Movement in Singapore. I have, after all, benefited a lot from the support and advice that Toastmasters from all walks of life have given me – and if it’s helped me, I’m sure it can help you too. But just what is the Toastmasters all about? And how do you go about joining it? Are all Toastmasters Clubs the same and what are some of points I need to take into consideration before joining it?
These are just some of the questions I aim to answer in this post. Read on!
Question: What is the Toastmasters Movement all about?
Toastmasters International is a non-profit organization that is committed to helping people become more competent and comfortable in front of an audience.
“Most Toastmasters meetings are comprised of approximately 20 people who meet weekly for an hour or two. Participants practice and learn skills by filling a meeting role, ranging from giving a prepared speech or an impromptu one to serving as timer, evaluator or grammarian.”
“There is no instructor; instead, each speech and meeting is critiqued by a member in a positive manner, focusing on what was done right and what could be improved.”
“The nonprofit organization now has nearly 235,000 members in 11,700 clubs in 92 countries, offering a proven – and enjoyable! – way to practice and hone communication and leadership skills.”
Some well-known Toastmasters alumni include:
* Peter Coors of Coors Brewing Company
* Debbi Fields, founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies
* Tom Peters, management expert and author
* Linda Lingle, Governor of Hawaii
Source: Toastmasters International
Question: What’s so special about this course?
Firstly, the Toastmasters programme is not a course. It’s a self-paced programme where you’re given the opportunity to learn at your own pace.
To help you learn, you’ll given a set of manuals – each serving a particular purpose in your educational journey. Chiefly helping you with your communication skills will be your “Competent Communication” Manual. It consists of 10 projects that addresses a particular area of public speaking.
Completing the 10 projects will help you appreciate the tools that you can use to enhance your presentation and you should see some progress if you keep a conscientious effort in improving yourself.
The true value of the Toastmasters programme, however, does not lie merely in its educational system. In my opinion, it’s the opportunity to network with other speakers, share experiences, practice and gain feedback that provides the most value in my experience. Personally, I enjoy learning new tips and strategies – both as a trainer, speaker and emcee – and putting them to practice at Toastmasters Meetings.
To me, it’s a learning ground and a platform for me to make mistakes without the fear of repercussions! And that’s valuable – considering how costly making mistakes in the corporate world would be!
Question: How do I go about joining a club?
Step 1: Find one! Click here here to locate one near you!
Step 2: Visit them! Visit the club to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Also, have a feel of the club culture and see if you’re comfortable with the people there.
Truth be told, some clubs may structured a little more formally, and some a little more casual and closer knit. The fundamental structure and education system’s the same though – so it’s a case of joining the set up that you’re most comfortable with!
Step 3: Fill up the subscription form (and pay the subscription fee)
Did I mention that the Toastmasters Movement is a non-profit organization? Well, we are! Every member, all the way up to the International President is a volunteer!
But resources are still needed to support the international organization and the handful of staff that works to support the movement and provide you with the educational resources when you join as a member. Thus, a nominal fee will be collected for a year’s worth of subscription. Also, to keep costs as low as possible (did I mention that we’re all volunteers!?), each club is responsible for maintaining itself. Essentially, this means that each club will have to pay for its own outgoings and activities that it conducts for its members.
So, depending on the location of the meeting and the type of refreshments provided, membership fees may vary from club to club! Hence, make sure you know what you’re getting for for your subscription!
Anyway, these are the some of the things you should take note of before joining a club.
In my next post, I’ll be sharing with you some points on HOW TO SELECT THE RIGHT CLUB to facilitate your growth, enhance your learning experience, and make the journey a worthwhile and pleasurable one!
Look out for that one!
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