Toastmasters International is an organization that brings members together to improve their speaking ability in a safe, supportive environment. Members take turns delivering speeches in regular meetings, giving them the ability to learn where they need improvement as well as all the things they’re already doing right.
If you’ve ever wanted to be a more polished and persuasive speaker, join the club—literally. Toastmasters clubs went virtual during the pandemic, so even if you can’t find a group that meets in person in your area, there are Zoom groups ready to welcome you.
For many people, the chance to become a better public speaker is reason enough to join. But there’s so much more you can gain from joining Toastmasters. Here are four ways you could benefit from joining Toastmasters.
Toastmasters meetings are designed to move quickly through a set agenda each week, so meetings run almost precisely an hour. Every member participates in a rotating set of roles that includes Evaluator, Table Topics Master, Grammarian—there’s even a Jokemaster.
The week’s Toastmaster runs a tight ship, guiding the club through prescribed time limits for each portion of the meeting. As members rotate in and out of the Toastmaster and other roles, we gain experience communicating key information and accomplishing goals in a set amount of time.
It’s a model of efficiency. It’s a discipline that can impact your schedule and your teams in big ways.
Club members each have the opportunity to serve in key roles each week, including Toastmaster. Each role carries particular responsibilities and communication goals.
Thousands of companies—including Apple Computer and the Coca-Cola Company—recognize this value and sponsor their own clubs as communications training for their own employees.
Practicing leadership skills week after week will give you valuable experience so that you can lead your marketing team to accomplish any number of goals.
You may have guessed by now that I’m a Toastmaster myself. I stepped into the Treasurer role in March when Content4Demand’s parent company, EmeraldX, decided to sponsor a Toastmasters club for employees.
Outside a company setting, Toastmasters is a wonderful way to cross paths with leaders and up-and-comers in your area. Even inside our EmeraldX club, I’m able to meet people in far-flung roles and departments who I’d never have met otherwise. I’m a remote worker, so this was a top reason for me to join.
Networking helps you expand your circle of both personal and professional contacts. You never know who you’ll meet.
Even the chattiest among us can clam up when there’s a microphone in front of us, or—gasp—a crowded auditorium. They key thing we’re usually missing is confidence, and there’s no better way to develop that confidence than practice.
We’ve met weekly since March, and I’ve listened as even timid co-workers have shared fascinating stories about themselves and become more confident speakers. I heard many fewer “ums” and “uhs” in our meeting this Monday than I did when we began just five months ago.
That’s come with practice and the gentle critiques we share with one another as we progress. The evaluations are kind—after all, this week’s evaluator could be next week’s speaker. But even the evaluations have become more thoughtful and concrete. We’re learning from practice and from each other.
When you develop public speaking skills and confidence, you’re better prepared for a whole host of marketing situations, including internal and external presentations, conference speaking opportunities, webinar and podcast guesting. These skills open so many doors.
Discover More Benefits
Whether you’re eager to become a more confident and accomplished speaker or just want to polish your communication skills, a Toastmasters club is a productive way to boost your career. Like anything else, you get out what you put in. So you might even discover some new benefits of your own.
Visit the Toastmasters website and enter your address to find clubs near you.
Holly Celeste Fisk is an accomplished marketing pro with 20+ years of experience in B2B and B2C. She’s responsible for Content4Demand’s internal marketing efforts, managing everything from content creation and email marketing to events and sponsorships, blog publishing, website management and social media presence. When she’s not working, you’ll find her sliding into third at softball, buried in a book or practicing her Italian.