I have spent a lot of time recently speaking with some of my fellow toastmasters. Toastmasters is a great organization that is designed to help others develop their speaking and communication skills. There is research saying that fear of public speaking is greater than fear of dying.
How did we ever get that belief that we need to fear speaking in public. Was it taught to us in our homes? Did we learn about that in school? I suspect that school has a little to do with that. I know my own experience was worry of what my peers might think about me. Then the teacher was very critical of everything to do with the speech that we were doing for marks in our English class. Did it start here?
It seems to be a problem across many generations. In my own case, I was very shy and I ended up taking a job that required me to speak in public. When push came to shove, I did what it took and pushed through my comfort zone to speak in public. After about 6 years of public speaking I found Toastmasters.
At toastmasters, I learned about some annoying habits I had developed. It was most helpful. It was a safe place to practice and get honest feedback about my speaking. It was a turning point for me. I was successful, without toastmasters but I got bettertoastmasters.
Since being involved I have seen the shyest person in the world blossom into Speech Contest winners. We do not know our potential until we put ourselves out there. We must push through our discomfort to succeed. Why not do it at Toastmasters? We are not a group of stuffed shirts.. We are a group of caring, helpful individuals with programs designed to help you grow your speaking and leadership skills.
Today is my weekly toastmaster’s meeting and I was thinking about all I have learned. If this is something you are interested in, I am sure there is one in your neighborhood. If not, we now have online clubs. Check it out: www.toastmastsers.org.
Yours in growing awareness