At Least One of These 17 Reasons Will Excite You to Join a Toastmasters Club
How much would you want to develop the skills to communicate effectively before a job interview panel, for a business presentation, before investors, defending a project in school or talking to the opposite sex?
Few things are as spirit liberating as being able to speak confidently and effectively in your personal and professional life. Few people possess these skills naturally. But for those of us with the natural awkwardness for public speaking, we have to find ways to actively develop this skill.
Ralph C. Smedley, saw the need for young people to develop these vital skills to become more successful in their personal and professional lives, when he founded what has now become Toastmasters International, at YMCA in Santa Ana, California in 1924.
Toastmasters International offers people the opportunity to improve their listening, thinking and speaking skills. With headquarter in USA, the organization has more than 280,000 memberships in 13,500 clubs in 116 countries (including Nigeria and other African countries).
How I Found Out About Toastmasters International
I first read about Toastmasters Club from a book by Dale Carnegie. I get attracted to activities that encourage self and people development, so it sounded like something I’d want to explore. I procrastinated for another one year. July 2013, as my birthday gift, I took the step and attended Lighthouse Toastmasters Club meeting. It was the best decision I made that year.
So far, I’ve experienced definite progress in my speaking, listening and thinking skills. I’ve gone from being uncomfortable and withdrawn to actually loving to meet with and speak before a group of people. This has continued to influence my personal and professional life in tangible ways. I’ve been privileged to represent my club in Area and District speech contests.
I feel so connected to this wonderful life-transforming organization that I rarely miss any of our club meetings (1st and 3rd Saturdays every month) and other Toastmasters activities.
What others are saying about Toastmasters International
Michael Olafusi wrote on his blog, “I used to be a very shy person, and extremely shy amidst people all suited up and way older than me, and worse when they all work in those companies/organizations I only dream of. Now… On the contrary, I’m most bold before such people. I simply dazzle them… And for people who knew me, this is definitely a brand new Michael”.
Chrysta Bairre wrote, “I didn’t even realize how much my social anxiety had improved until recently. I thought about what changed and I realized what changed was me, and what changed me was Toastmasters”
Governor, District 94 West Africa, Toastmasters International, Dr. Mike Omotosho, had this to say in an interview with Punch Newspaper: “Growing up, I loved to speak. Whenever I spoke, I got compliments. I prided myself that I could speak well, until I discovered Toastmasters… and then I realized I could not speak as well as I thought I could.”
Every member of Toastmasters just seems to have the same story of transformation to share.
To whet your appetite even more, here are 19 reasons to excite you to attend a Toastmasters club meeting this weekend.
1. You’ll Discover speaking skills you already have – everybody has talent; it’s just a matter of moving around until you’ve discovered what it is – George Lucas
The first speech project for every member has two clear objectives:
- To begin speaking before an audience
- To discover speaking skills you already have and skills that needs some attention
Becoming aware of your strength in speaking will give you the confidence to kick off your journey to become a competent communicator. You’ll learn to leverage on your strength and develop areas that need improvement.
2. You’ll Develop Self Confidence – As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Just stepping into a toastmasters meeting gives you the impression that you are with the right group of people. That alone gives you a dose of confidence to begin with. Then, you take it from there.
3. You’ll learn to speak effectively – take advantage of every opportunity to practice communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style. The sharpness, the clarity and the emotions to affect other people – Jim Rohn
It’s a beautiful feeling to know that you can stand before a group of people and express your thoughts clearly and vividly. If truly speeches and rhetoric caused the fall of the Roman Empire; Toastmasters Club is the weapon of mass rehabilitation.
4. You’ll Develop Leadership Abilities – Leadership cannot really be taught. It can only be learned. – Harold S. Geneen
Toastmasters Club is not some leadership conference or seminar. It’s practical, learn-as-you-go, lifelong leadership learning experience. Everything rises and falls on leadership – Dr. John Maxwell
5. You’ll Network with Like minds - Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them – W. Clement Stone
I met my closest friends and business partners at Toastmasters club. Life is more pleasurable when you surround yourself with the right people. The Richest people in the world look for and build networks; everyone else looks for work – Robert Kiyosaki
6. You’ll develop your writing skills – If I went back to college again, I’d concentrate on two areas: learning to write and to speak before an audience. Nothing in life is more important than the ability to communicate effectively – Gerald Ford
To be a great speaker, you are either great at writing or have someone great at it. With the help of a mentor, you’ll learn the act of effective writing and speaking.
7. You’ll Develop Listening Skills – I only wish I could find an institute that teaches people how to listen. Business people need to listen at least as much as they need to talk. Too many people fail to realize that real communication goes in both directions – Lee Lacocca, former CEO Chrysler Corporation
Here’s a solution for Lee Lacocca, “open a corporate Toastmasters Club”.
The most basic human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them – Ralph Nichols
8. You’ll Learn to think on Your feet – More important than what happens to you or around you, is what happens within you – Anonymous
You don’t always get the privilege to prepare before every speaking opportunity. In real life, you get to think and react quickly to a question or situation under pressure. The table-topics segment in Toastmasters meeting is designed to help members develop the ability to speak in such impromptu situations.
9. Learn from a Mentor – If you want to know what lies ahead, ask those who are coming back – Chinese Proverb
Once you join a Toastmasters club, you’ll be assigned a mentor to help you through the process of delivering your speeches; and navigating through Toastmasters’ activities.
What is a teacher? I’ll tell you: it isn’t someone who teaches something, but someone who inspires the student to give of her best in order to discover what she already knows – Paulo Coelho
10. Eventually, you get to Mentor others – In learning you will teach. In teaching you will learn – Phil Collins
As you develop you communication and leadership skill, you get the privilege to mentor and help other members grow. It’s a wonderful feeling to inspire someone to self discovery. You also learn mentorship skills.
The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires – William Arthur Ward
11. Get constructive feedback – Feedback is the breakfast of champions – Ken Blanchard
You get the chance to be evaluated for every activity you participate in. Whether impromptu or prepared speech or role playing, everything is subject to evaluation.
I beg to borrow from Dr. John Maxwell and say that, “everything rises and falls on feedback”.
12. You’ll Advance in your Career – Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success – Paul J. Meyer
Almost every older Toastmaster I’ve met has a story of transformation since joining the club: in business growth, professional advancement or better employment.
13. You may Find a Life Partner – Live and love are like hide and seek. People spend their whole lives looking for love, but when they finally forget to look for it, they find it. – Anonymous
Sure we don’t go to Toastmasters meeting with the intent of finding romance but it does happen when two Toastmasters end up making legitimate baby toastmasters. After all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is – let it rain.
14. You’ll Develop effective time management – Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days – Zig Ziglar
Toastmasters have a tradition of working within time. Speakers, evaluators, role players, everyone works within allotted time. You’ll develop time management skills. Meticulous planning will enable everything a man does to appear spontaneous – Mark Caine
15. You’ll learn to see things from the other persons perspective – Ninety-nine percent of all problems in communication start with misunderstanding which develops as a result of differing viewpoints and conditioning – Anonymous
Toastmasters audience is the only audience that will applaud you when you make a mess of your speech or forget what you have to say. They don’t do that to make mockery of you, but to encourage you because they understand.
When you are yourself, sometimes, you don’t see the millions of people who accept you for what you are. All you notice is the person who doesn’t. – Jodi Picoult
16. Be entertained, educated and inspired – We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious; and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths – Walt Disney
Toastmasters Club is not just about completing projects. Members get the opportunity to express thoughts, belief and ideas to a receptive audience. With people from diverse background delivering speeches on a variety of topics, every meeting is an opportunity to learn something new, be entertained, educated and inspired.
17. Spend two hours of your weekend with Fun-Loving People – Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is – Francis Bacon
Aside from being good for your career, personal and professional life, Toastmasters Club is FUN. Ask any Toastmaster what keeps them coming back and they’ll tell you it’s the fun; good old fashioned fun from real live human interaction; fun you can’t get in front of a TV, or computer or from a book.
Are You Ready To Experience A Toastmasters Club Meeting?
Invest two hours of your time to attend a Toastmasters meeting – no obligation. Then decide if it is something you want to be a part of.
If you live anywhere in Lagos, I invite you to join us at Lighthouse Toastmasters Club.
Meeting days: Every 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month
Time: 10:00am to 12noon & 12:30pm to 2:30pm (you can attend either meetings)
Venue: Atlantic House, Louis Solomon Close, Victoria Island, Lagos
For inquiries, call:
Ikenna (yours truly) – President, Lighthouse Prestige Toastmasters Club (2016/2017) – 08037630832
Click here to find a Toastmasters club near you.