Are you afraid of getting up on stage and speaking in public? Do you need confidence in dealing with people? Then Toastmasters Club is the solution for you. I am confident in recommending this as I have benefited from joining Toastmasters Club and am now no longer afraid of public speaking or giving presentations in my workplace. Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Founded in October 1924, the organization currently has more than 270,000 members in 13,000 clubs in 116 countries. Each week, Toastmasters helps more than a quarter million people of every ethnicity, education and profession build their competence in communication so they can gain the confidence to lead others.
How Toastmasters Works
At Toastmasters, members learn by speaking to groups and working with others in a supportive environment. A typical Toastmasters Club is made up of 20 to 30 people who meet once a week for approximately an hour. Each meeting gives everyone an opportunity to practice the following:
Conducting meetings. Members learn how to plan and conduct meetings.
Giving impromptu speeches. Members present a one-to-two minute impromptu speech on an assigned topic.
Presenting prepared speeches. Members present speeches based on projects from manuals in Toastmasters’ proven communication and/or leadership programs. Projects cover topics such as speaking, organization, vocal variety, language, gestures and persuasion.
Offering constructive evaluation. Every prepared speaker is assigned an evaluator who identifies speech strengths and offers suggestions for improvement.
Upon joining Toastmasters, each new member receives a variety of manuals and resources on how to become a better speaker and a more confident leader. Members also have access to other books and educational resources. In addition, they receive the award-winning Toastmaster, a monthly magazine that offers the latest insights on speaking and leadership techniques.
Toastmasters and Leadership
Leadership cannot be learned in a day. It takes practice. In Toastmasters, members learn leadership skills by organizing and conducting meetings and by completing projects in the leadership manuals. Projects address skills such as listening, planning, motivation and team building and give members the opportunity to practice them. Just as Toastmasters members earn to speak by speaking, they learn leadership by leading.
How you can join
Kuwait Toastmasters Club (KTM) is the first club in Kuwait which conducts its meeting in Rumaithiya every first and third Tuesday of the month from 7 pm to 9 pm. You can attend the meetings as a guest any number of times and then decide to become a member. The fee is KD21 per six month period.
Speaking and Leadership Tips from Toastmasters International
Feeling some nervousness before giving a speech is natural and even beneficial, but too much nervousness can be detrimental. Here are 10 proven tips from Toastmasters International on how to control your butterflies and give better presentations:
- Know your material. Pick a topic you are interested in. Know more about it than you include in your speech. Use humor, personal stories and conversational language – that way you won’t easily forget what to say.
- Practice. Practice. Practice! Rehearse out loud with all the equipment you plan on using. Revise as necessary. Work to control filler words; Practice, pause and breathe. Practice with a timer and allow time for the unexpected.
- Know your audience. Greet some of the audience members as they arrive. It’s easier to speak to a group of friends than to strangers.
- Know the room. Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and any visual aids.
- Relax. Begin by addressing the audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Pause, smile and count to three before saying anything. (One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. Pause. Begin.) Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm.
- Visualize yourself giving your speech. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confident. Visualize the audience clapping – it will boost your confidence.
- Realize that people want you to succeed. Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. They’re rooting for you.
- Don’t apologize for any nervousness or problem – the audience probably never noticed it.
- Concentrate on the message – not the medium. Focus your attention away from your own anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience.
- Gain experience. Mainly, your speech should represent you – as an authority and as a person. Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking. A Toastmasters club can provide the experience you need in a safe and friendly environment.
To become a member of KTM please contact Deepak Bindal – President, Kuwait Toastmasters Club at cell no. 66540189 or email [email protected]. For information about Toastmasters organization, please visit www.toastmasters.org.