Toastmasters is a non-profit organization that provides an environment for individuals to develop their speaking and leadership skills. There are over 14,700 toastmasters clubs across 144 countries.
I spent 18 months as a member of a Toastmasters club, and in this article, I’ll explain what I think are the pros and cons, which should help you decide whether it’s for you or not.
Walking into a Toastmasters club for the first time was a pretty daunting experience for me. However, the members and atmosphere of Toastmasters quickly put me at ease and I was able to develop my speaking skills at a rapid pace. I almost instantly regretted not joining Toastmasters earlier in my career!
Toastmasters offer support and constructive feedback from peers, evaluators, and experienced members. Through speech contests and other activities, members can learn about their strengths and areas for improvement. Whether you’re looking to build confidence, meet new people, or develop important skills, Toastmasters is a great opportunity to achieve your goals.
- How does Toastmasters work?
- Who Can Join Toastmasters?
- The Pros and Cons of Toastmasters
- Does Toastmasters Work?
- Improving Communication: Speaking, listening, and self-confidence
- How long does it take to become a competent speaker?
- Is Toastmasters Worth It?
How does Toastmasters work?
The club is the basic unit of Toastmasters. The Club members meet regularly, up to three times a week at lunchtime or in the evening, and each meeting typically lasts around an hour. Clubs are led by a President who oversees the running of weekly meetings and may also plan social activities for members.
Toastmasters Clubs are structured in such a way as to allow each participant to develop their communication and leadership skills within a positive, supportive, and learning environment.
Who Can Join Toastmasters?
Toastmasters is an inclusive club that welcomes individuals from diverse backgrounds and professions. Regardless of your career aspirations or educational pursuits, membership to Toastmasters offers a multitude of benefits that are applicable to both your professional and personal life.
The Pros and Cons of Toastmasters
- It is a safe space to practice speaking.
- Members are encouraged to pay close attention during speeches, which will help them improve their listening skills. This skill is essential in all aspects of life.
- There are many benefits that cover both public speaking and personal development. Toastmasters has received good reviews from people who have struggled with self-confidence in public speaking. The club is a judgment-free zone, and members are willing to help everyone feel more comfortable speaking.
- Meeting new people and making friends have been one of the best parts of Toastmasters for many people who have participated in this organization. They give themselves more opportunities to interact with others and improve their social skills.
- After you get up in running, you are often encouraged to take part in a small area of running the club, which can further give you more experience to work on your leadership and organizational skills.
- As mentioned earlier, Toastmasters allows members to have the spotlight and practice the art of leadership. It can be very rewarding for many people who participate in this club.
- Toastmasters trains you to become a polished speaker but its focus on this sometimes distracts from a key element of speaking, which is the content of your speeches.
- Not all Toastmasters clubs are equal. Some are extremely well organized and have great members, whereas others might not measure up.
- Although not specifically required, members are generally encouraged to step up and take on roles within the club committee, this can be both a good thing and a bad thing. They may take up more than you might expect (If you don’t think you have time for the role then decline it).
- Having a strict schedule can be challenging for some people who are not used to being part of an organization that has meetings often weekly.
- It may take a while to find a club that fits your schedule and is located close to where you live or work.
In conclusion, I truly believe that Toastmasters is effective for people who want to improve their public speaking skills. The pros certainly outweigh the cons in this case since members get to meet new people, practice the art of leadership and develop their social skills. With time, patience, and practice, you will become a better speaker.
Does Toastmasters Work?
Toastmasters definitely works to help you become a better public speaker. I was a member of Toastmasters for 18 months and it truly helped me improve my speaking skills tremendously.
In my experience both as a speaker and as an observer, I have noticed that people make big improvements in their speeches after going to Toastmasters meetings often.
You need to put the time into it
I’ve seen some pretty impressive results from people at Toastmasters within a few months of joining. That said, Toastmasters will only work if you are willing to invest your time into it. It may take a while to see results. Still, after working hard and practicing speeches regularly, you will become comfortable being the center of attention, which can be very rewarding for many people.
Since everyone involved in Toastmasters is passionate about public speaking, the environment is welcoming and less intimidating than other places where you can practice speaking in front of a large audience (i.e., stand-up comedy clubs, work presentations, and conferences).
Improving Communication: Speaking, listening, and self-confidence
Toastmasters can greatly help you with speaking, listening, and self-confidence. It gives people the opportunity to improve their public speaking abilities by listening and providing constructive feedback on each other’s speeches and teaches members how to deal with anxiety when speaking in public, which is an essential life and business skill for many reasons.
The organization allows members to speak in front of an audience and give each other feedback. Using the active participation exercise, members have the opportunity to learn how to be good listeners, which is great because it increases social awareness and may help some people feel more comfortable around the ones who are speaking.
Getting in front of an audience and delivering a speech can definitely increase self-confidence. Toastmasters provides you with the opportunity to improve your skill, but they do not let you fall on your face when trying something new. They will provide encouragement and constructive criticism through public speaking contests and speeches given in front of fellow Toastmasters. If you are just starting out or have many years of experience, Toastmasters is perfect for you.
By paying attention while other people practice public speaking, Toastmasters teaches members how to become better listeners. This is a skill that will help people in every aspect of life. Toastmasters members are encouraged to pay close attention during their speeches, so this exercise gives them the opportunity to practice it. Toastmasters provides a safe environment to practice speaking and listening skills, which makes it a great place for networking opportunities as well as friendships.
Toastmasters help people who are struggling with self-confidence. The organization has many benefits that improve both speaking and listening skills and provide a judgment-free environment to try new things, which will help build trust and respect among other members.
People who have been struggling with self-confidence in certain areas, such as public speaking, can join Toastmasters and get better at it. This will help them gain more confidence in the future, not only in public speaking but in many other areas, both personal and professional.
Communicating and relaying a message effectively is an important life skill that can help people in many different ways. Toastmasters will do everything they can to make sure their members feel comfortable when speaking and give feedback on speeches from members, which should help you increase their confidence in public speaking. They want to make sure everyone feels good about what they are saying and is confident in their presentation.
This could be an excellent opportunity for corporate business professionals who want to improve their public speaking skills and experience.
How long does it take to become a competent speaker?
It is important to note that Toastmasters does not promise instant expertise in public speaking. However, we believe that learning and practicing the fundamental skills of leadership and public speaking effectively will enable you to gain self-confidence and become a better speaker and leader.
Some members find that they become far more comfortable with speaking within the first few months. A lot of it has to do with how much time they spend practicing and how dedicated you are when speaking.
Typically, people who were shy and had trouble speaking up in public tend to be quite satisfied with participating in a Toastmasters club.
Is Toastmasters Worth It?
I believe Toastmasters is worth it. In my opinion, it’s possible to enter Toastmasters as a timid speaker and come out as a leader in the club. Many people have said that Toastmasters has helped them become more confident speaking to large audiences.
They can also get feedback on what they are doing well and what they need to work on, which is a great place to become more aware of your speaking.
Another reason why I believe Toastmasters is worth it is that you get a great sense of support from the club members. It’s nice knowing that people are rooting for you while you practice your speeches, and there will always be someone to give you feedback on your speech. I have found that people grow a lot in Toastmasters and develop a true passion for it because they feel supported by many other people throughout the club.
Overall, Toastmasters is a great place to develop your speaking skills and gain more confidence. Everyone should consider joining if they are interested in developing their presentation and leadership skills.
Toastmasters provide a platform for individuals to develop their speaking and leadership skills. Their clubs offer support and feedback from peers, evaluators, and experienced members, leading to improved public speaking abilities and increased self-confidence.
The pros of Toastmasters include a safe environment for speaking practice, improved listening and social skills, and opportunities for leadership development.
On the other hand, Toastmasters clubs can be seen to overly focus on delivery over content in their clubs. Though, in their defense, it’s quite difficult to listen to a speech that’s poorly delivered even if it has great content.
Every club is different, so you may have to try more than one to find the one that suits you.
That said, I feel that the pros of Toastmasters massively outweigh the cons.
Ultimately, Toastmasters is effective in helping individuals improve their public speaking skills, but requires a time investment to see results. I believe that Toastmasters is an outstanding opportunity for those looking to build confidence, meet new people and develop important skills in their professional and personal lives.