What is Toastmasters?
Toastmasters International is a non-profit organisation and world leader in communication and leadership development.
The Toastmasters mission is to provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.
Over 350,000 members in over 14,000 clubs across 125+ countries!
I am keen, but don’t want to do this talking thing
The leadership projects are what makes the club run. Somebody leads the meeting (called the Toastmaster), we have a timer, speech evaluators, sometimes somebody looking out for good grammar, etc. All those roles are seen as Leadership roles, and combine prepared and impromptu speaking. Some are easy, like timer, some are more advanced like being the Toastmaster.There is a lot of guidance in the project manuals on what those roles teach you: critical thinking, listening, giving feedback, motivating, etc.
There is a lot of guidance in the project manuals on what those roles teach you: critical thinking, listening, giving feedback, motivating, etc.
Prepared speeches are pretty much what they say on the tin. These are speeches that you would present, about any topic and usually last 5 -7 mins.
That sounds like a lot of time and I get it, you might have fears of public speaking and just don’t think you have what it takes to hold an audience’s attention.
This is a call to action… step out of your comfort zone, do something you have not done before. Practice makes perfect, so give it a go. Nothing is forced and clubs generally have an easygoing, positive atmosphere.
When you join Toastmasters you’ll be given a manual that guides you through giving your speeches and areas to work on in each speech.
How do I get involved?
Contact the club, let them know you are interested and then make sure you turn up.
Once you register as a member of one club, you get access to them all, what a bargain! I have made friends and grown my network all over the world!
Where do you fit into all this Sumit?
I am fortunate enough to work at a company that believes and invests in personal development, they have also endorsed and continually support The Toast Rack, which is a Rackspace’s resident Toastmasters club. By definition, a corporate club, that too with a Distinguished status!
I am the President of this club and am supported by other club officers. I also take care of the PR, Finance and generally support all functions of its operation. I have learned huge amounts about running an organisation, mentoring members, budgeting, marketing, event organising and many others skills. I successfully won Best Social Media award and regularly put my club members through bi-annual competitions, many of which have succeeded a few rounds.
My highlight has to be the organising of an event with the World Champion 2014; Dananjaya Hettirachi
…and also leveraging international networks to give speeches on International stages;
- Adobe, New Delhi, India
- Tata Consultancy Services, New Delhi, India
- Dell, Toronto, Canada
- Google, London, UK
- HSBC, Dubai, UAE
The Toast Rack Online