Go to the gym more.
Spend more time with the kids.
Eat more healthily.
Get a (new) job.
How many times have you seen these on people’s lists of New Year resolutions? With the start of the New Year, we’re looking for ways to improve ourselves and this is why you should seriously consider public speaking as your new interest.
Personally, attending my local Toastmasters club has already helped me grow in different ways including these:
Increase my self-confidence
I have seen myself grow more confident in being at ease in front of a crowd and I did it all in small, sure steps. The first step was when I just psyching myself to get up and talk for the first time, followed by my first Icebreaker speech to leading an entire evening as the Toastmaster.
Manage stress and handle change easily
There have been times where I’ve helped run the evenings and there have been a few unexpected surprises that required making slight amendments to the agenda or how we run things. You learn to roll with it and adapt with a sense of humour. These types of situations are essential if you want to effectively manage your own study and work environment.
Socialize and network more outside of work
When I came back to France, I buried myself in my new job where I’ve often been too tired to do much else when I got off work. Toastmasters restored my work-life balance and our group members are amazing people who bring lively stories to each session.
Broaden my horizons
As I just mentioned, you meet interesting people from all walks of life and geographies from African sociologists, life coaches, and photographers to engineers, HR professionals and finance auditors. It’s without fail that you’ll learn something new at every Toastmasters session, from Word of the Day to improve your vocabulary, to random subjects from people’s speeches. We recently learned the psychology behind eating a gingerbread man!
Improve my analytical skills and hone in my attention to detail
At Toastmasters, it’s not just about talking but also about listening. One of the best ways to learn how to improve on your public speaking is evaluating how others do it. Listen out for what they do well and also what they can improve on. I’ve picked up some best practices just by doing evaluations.
Become a quick thinker
Doing impromptu speeches in front of strangers is no easy task and it really does get your heart pumping the first few tries. Yet now, I’ve grown to love and thrive in Table Topics; even winning a few!
Learn to become a storyteller
I love finding ways to make my speeches be more colourful from similes, alliterations, metaphors to onomatopoeia and personification. Toastmasters gets your creative cogs in motion and I’m becoming smitten with the English language every day.