I joined a toastmasters meeting yesterday evening and it was a great experience. For those who are not familiar with it, some explanations. Toastmasters is a club that exists worldwide where people meet to improve their presentation skills. Some clubs meet twice a month, others more often. Yesterday I was a guest in the Brussels club and I was really amazed how effective these meeting was. Being a presentation coach I can not stress enough how important it is to exercise. You can follow a training course but the most important thing is what you do with it afterwards. Suppose you want to exercise your presentation skills but you don’t have the opportunity to present that much in your company…then toastmasters is the answer. In an extremely warm and welcoming environment you can exercise prepared presentations and impromptu speech, and on top of that you receive great and useful feedback from your fellow toastmasters. Highly recommended, especially for people who feel intimidated getting on stage !

5 thoughts on “Toastmasters

  1. Julian Gan

    I could not have agreed with you more. I’ve been a Toastmaster at District 51 (Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia) since August 2006 and I’ve achieved the rank of Competent Communicator. I’m now halfway through my Advanced Communication manuals (The Professional Speaker & Persuasive Speaking).

    Practice and training has been crucial especially in my preparation to speak in front of a big audience. The 1st runner-up of the 2008 International Speech contest organised by Toastmasters International, DTM K. Loghandran said in one of his training seminars that “unconcious competence” is the key to success in speaking. The more we practice, the more it becomes a part of us. Therefore, the more often we speak in public, we will be able to speak and use all the basics of public speaking (body gestures, eye contact, vocal variety) naturally and effortlessly.

    1. sylvieverleye

      Thank you so much to share this experience. I like the term ‘unconcious competence’…Can you go more into detail what is meant exactly with unconcious because if you practise you are very concious of the fact that this is a competency you want to improve, no…

  2. Julian Gan

    Well, apparently nowadays they (the Toastmasters in Malaysia) do not want to use the word “subconscious” because they said it was a “substandard” word, which I actually disagree with. “Unconscious” means that it is never conscious, “subconscious” means that it is conscious but we’re not aware of it. The subconscious mind controls the heartbeat, breathing and digestion without us actually realising that it is taking place. It is already a part of us and we need not tell or command our hearts to beat or our digestive tracts to work.

    It works the same with public speaking. I realised that when I took a break from public speaking and presentations for 2 months, it was really challenging to start speaking again. It felt like as if I’ve lost some my confidence along with some of the basic skills.

    Therefore, the only way to enhance and maintain our public speaking skills is to do it often and consistently. It is found through research that if you stop talking for 2 years, you will not be able to speak anymore.

  3. stevieking

    I am a firm believer that everyone should be in TM. Yes it helps you with speaking fears but it also gives you many more practical, useful skills. I once had a job interview that they commented how I didn’t stumble on my words. I mentioned TM and the interviewer actually ended up coming to a meeting.

    Great post!


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