If you have no idea what Toastmasters is, don’t worry! I’ve got you covered. Just click over here to see my post on The DC Ladies for a rudimentary guide on the organization. In a nutshell, Toastmasters is an organization that helps people all over the world develop communication and leadership skills via small groups.
I learned about Toastmasters in high school from one of my aunts. She had attended a meeting as a guest with my uncle, and she could not stop raving about how amazing the speakers of the group were. She complimented their ability to speak off the cuff without using any filler words and without appearing nervous. She encouraged my mom and I to attend a meeting, which sadly, we never did. Nevertheless, intrigued, I did a little research on Toastmasters and thought it was a great idea.
During my first internship in DC, I was required by the internship program to develop goals and an action plan to achieve those goals. One of my goals was to become a better extemporaneous speaker, so I decided to find a Toastmasters group in the area. Luckily, I found one just a few blocks from where I was working at the time. I visited the group and absolutely fell in love with the organization. Unfortunately, my internship period ended so quickly. I went back to California to finish school where, consumed by my demanding class load and many activities, I neglected to find another Toastmasters group to join.
When I started working full-time, I received a fantastic benefit – free membership to Toastmasters! I took immediate advantage of the opportunity and signed up. Over the past year, I have been attending meetings regularly and even became an officer of the club! My biggest personal accomplishment in the club to date came last Thursday when I delivered my fifth speech (Toastmasters members complete ten speeches from the Competent Communicator Manual at your own pace and then move on to complete the ten speeches from the Advanced Manual). Now I’m an official Toastmasters ribbon holder!
Maybe you have doubts about your speaking abilities or maybe you get too nervous to ever speak in front of an audience, I’d recommend finding your local Toastmasters club and attend a meeting as a guest. It’s as simple as that!