Toastmasters isn't only for improving your public speaking or communication skills. By giving speeches and working through a learning path in the Pathways learning experience, you will learn how to structure your presentation and incorporate tone and body language to truly engage with your audience.
Toastmasters is a powerful combination of a proven education program where you receive effective evaluation that helps you build skills at your own pace. Plus, Toastmasters’ communication and leadership development does not take place in a typical instructor-led classroom and is not limited to a set timeframe, like a seminar or conference.
Five Reasons to Consider Joining Toastmasters
1. You'll become a better presenter/speaker. If you stick with the program, you'll work through a manual toward the goal of becoming a Competent Communicator. The process takes you through 10 prepared speeches that focus on specific aspects of speaking -- including organizing your speeches, utilizing body language, persuading with power, practicing vocal variety, and incorporating visual aids. Most of the speeches are designed to be between four and six minutes. With each speech you give, an evaluator will give you constructive feedback. Some clubs even allow the option of videoing your speech so you can watch it and judge your progress.
2. You'll become more comfortable speaking on the fly. If you're the type of person that doesn't like talking in small groups because of the pressure to keep the conversation going, you'll quickly gain confidence and ease through the Table Topics portion of Toastmaster meetings, which is designed to help people become more comfortable with being put on the spot. When you participate in Table Topics, you have to quickly organize your thoughts on the fly as you respond to an impromptu prompt or question. Members receive the prompt, take a moment to gather their thoughts, and then speak on the topic for one and two minutes.
3. You'll become a better researcher. While only one of the prepared speeches in the Competent Communicator series deals specifically with conducting research (#7: Research Your Topic), many speakers conduct research for all their speeches. The topic of each speech is totally up to the speaker; and some members cover the same subject across all their speeches while others choose from a variety of topics near and dear to them. The more research, the better the quality of the content of your speeches, which should also help give you the confidence in delivering them.
4. You'll become a better listener. Members do not speak at every meeting, so you'll have some meetings in which all you are is part of the audience... of course, Toastmasters also has the role of Evaluator. Evaluators are designated roles in which you evaluate a speaker based on specific guidelines for the speech, as outlined in the speech manual. (And, of course, evaluators also give a short speech/report on their evaluations.) But even if you do not serve an official role, you'll want to listen and learn -- and discover neat tricks and techniques to incorporate into your speeches.
5. You'll gain confidence. The one constant I have heard of all Toastmasters Clubs is that the members are very supportive of each other; in other words, it is a safe environment to practice your craft and gain self-assurance as you become more comfortable speaking in front of the group. I was a Toastmaster member, even after years of teaching and making presentations, and I found the experience both uplifting and renewing.
Source: Dr. Randall S. Hansen