I’m always looking to learn more skills to make me a better businessperson and I love sharing them with you guys!
Speaking on stage and creating video is something that I have been doing in the last couple of years and it turns out, I really love it! I enjoy sharing my knowledge and I like the personal connection that happens when people get to see me speak instead of just reading the words that I type (though I like to think you can hear my voice in my written words too!).
Toastmasters has been on my to do list for a long time and this past fall a couple of friends decided to join, so I went along for the ride. My goal? To improve my speaking skills.
But aren’t you already comfortable speaking in front of a crowd?
So, the short answer is yes. And, um, I’ve been getting better and better. But, um, I can’t seem to stop using a lot of filler words when I speak – um, so, LOTS of “so".
I wanted to clean up my speaking so that it sounded more professional and polished. Originally I told people it was because I wanted my speaking to be more formal, but that’s really the wrong word. I just want it to be cleaner and more concise without my mouth constantly sounding like it’s trying to keep up with my brain.
What am I learning?
Toastmasters gives you a lot of opportunities to get up in front of a crowd in a lot of different ways. You can give the toast for the evening, you can be the Toastmaster for the evening, which is like being the emcee, you can tell a joke, or you can be the timekeeper.
I'm looking forward to being pushed out of my comfort zone because that's when you really get the opportunity to learn things. I gave my first speech and I was more nervous than I've been in a long time speaking in front of a crowd, simply because it was so different. I gave a 5 minute speech that was about myself and that I had planned from start to finish.
I spent hours preparing and it paid off because the crowd enjoyed it, I got great feedback, and I now feel more confident going forward towards my next speech, both for Toastmasters and in my business.
Tell me in the comments, are you comfortable with public speaking? What helped you? And if you aren't, have you ever considered Toastmasters?