Sunday, February 12, 2012

Master of Toast?

So I'm thinking about joining Toastmasters to improve my speaking and communication skills. On paper, there's always time to delete and re-phrase, check over spelling or grammar mistakes, and there's never any "ums" or "ahs." On the phone, or in talking to someone, however, there's much to be improved upon.

I remember elementary and high school speeches being mandatory in English class. I didn't mind them, but I was never great at delivering a knock-out talk. Watching Ted talks makes me think it would be pretty amazing to hold an audience's attention and move and inspire people with my spoken words...without using cue cards.

I've heard Toastmasters is a well-organized program to learn to give a good speech. I'm sure many a best man has signed up for the program in order to get some tips in being a better orator. Nothing impresses like a good, witty speech delivered with confidence and eloquent turns of phrase. I'd like to be able to be ready at any moment to step onto a soap box and gesticulate wildly about anything at a moment's notice. Be good to have that skill in my back pocket.

But is Toastmasters all it's cracked up to be? I haven't heard of any of the "famous Toastmasters" listed on the organization's website. They seem to be mostly American senators. I have no aspirations to wax poetic about US politics... so maybe there are other options I've yet to discover. But I'll check out what a membership to Toastmasters is all about and maybe drop in on a meeting at least once, just to see if it's actually a cult. If anyone has any advice about other ways to improve speaking skills, I'm all ears.

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