Feb 24

A toast to Toastmasters

It has come to my attention that I am a terrible “speaker”.  Sure, I can talk all day with family and friends ad nauseam but with a business presentation I have trouble.  When giving my product demonstration to prospective customers and architects I get nervous, my heart rate elevates and my mind goes blank.  I do manage to force some words out, but boy do I include a lot of filler words like “ah”, “um”, “like” and “you know”.

They say to overcome a problem, first you must recognize it (check), then you must do something about it.  My proactive step was joining my local toastmasters group. And what do you know, at the end of my first meeting I was asked to stand up and share my thoughts of the meeting with the group.  There it was again, heart attack like symptoms.

Many leaders say the ability to communicate well verbally is one of the most important tools in your arsenal. Customers have confidence in people who express themselves clearly and are comfortable communicating.

The Toastmasters program offers a practical guide to becoming a better speaker.  In toastmasters you learn by studying the guide, practicing and helping one another. You learn by doing and by watching fellow club members.

After just a few meetings, I cannot say enough good things about Toastmasters.  Do you know that one of the roles at a typical toastmasters meeting is an “ah” counter.  Yikes!

As I stated above, the first step in overcoming a problem is awareness and you become acutely aware of every time you say “ah”.   The downside is you also notice every time anyone uses a filler.  It becomes quite annoying, but is successful in making you a better speaker.

I highly recommend Toastmasters for everyone!

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