How to present Toastmasters … big question. It’s something unlike anything other. Hence presenting it in one page is a real challenge.
Toastmasters is all at the same time an atmosphere, a spirit, values and a learning method developed for nearly a hundred years.
Toastmasters is also a group of clubs present all over the world and it is a half a million club members who learn public speaking and leadership there…
We often discover Toastmasters through a mention on a website such as this one. Then we push the door of a toastmasters club … Let me tell you how it went for me.
Falling on Toastmasters at the turn of a web page is exactly what happened to me at the end of 2014 when I came across a page quickly mentioning Toastmasters on the Project Management Institute website. The indication was really minimal. Something like “If you’re interested in learning public speaking to better run your project meetings you may want to have a look at Toastmasters”.
I had been looking for means to progress in this field for a long time. So I clicked on the link and discovered the Toastmasters International site.
It was about public speaking, building self-confidence, learning by doing. It was about the art of feedback … It explained that we could progress better and faster thanks to the comments and suggestions of others, it explained that this art of “benevolent criticism” was anything but innate … and that it could be learned!
It was an other Christmas! I got in touch with the club closest to my home and was very well welcomed and supported. I was invited to come and see with my own eyes what a toastmasters meeting does look like.
I didn’t have time. Not too much energy. Neither motivation. It was complicated in my life on all fronts.
So I decided to go. I know that doesn’t make sense.
I had searched for something like this for so long that turning away from it at the last moment seemed even more silly than taking time that I didn’t have. It’s as simple as that. And it changed everything.
Something happened during the telephone call… I felt curious… I felt “attracted”.
So I accepted and walked through the door to discover the “Toastmasters world”. I entered this room exhausted and curious… two hours later I came out “cleaned”, invigorated, totally enthusiastic!
That first meeting distracted me from my worries, and I learned about public speaking (I came for that after all) just by watching them practicing and listening to comments and improvement suggestions that were made (which are part of the method). But above all this kindness, this mutual support, this positive spirit which bathed the meeting really improved how I felt.
I joined the club this very same evening … and that was the start of the Toastmasters adventure.
In the next post, the curious will be able to discover the outline of a Toastmasters meeting …
See you soon