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The Power of Toastmasters

When people think of the Toastmasters clubs they tend to think of public speaking. Certainly this is a big focus for the clubs, which seem to exist all over North America if not the World.

I am not a member of toastmasters however many years ago when I was first moving into a sales role it was suggested that this might be a good organization to help me to refine my presentation skills. I spent two years in the group, gained a certification in public speaking and learned a great deal. It is an experience that I would suggest to anyone in business, but particularly for sales people.

Here are some of the benefits that I personally enjoyed:

1. First and foremost a grounding in public speaking. How to organize a speech; how to present the speech and many "do's" and "don'ts" of public speaking.
2. Thinking on my feet. The group has exercises that force you to think through a mini-speech with very little preparation time. It is amazing over the years how many times I have mentally developed an ad hoc presentation. Introduction, body and conclusion!
3. Meeting organization. Not an obvious thing when you first hear of toastmasters, however their meetings run like clockwork. It is a great way to learn about effective meetings!
4. Networking. The people in the clubs are all trying to improve themselves, so there is already a common connection. Many "up and comers" will view these clubs as a good learning mechanism and so it is a good place to meet like minded people.

There are many other ways to learn about public speaking and organizing one's thoughts before talking, but I have fond memories of my time at Toastmasters. It is worth a try for any budding sales person or even people who give presentations.

A quick Google search will reveal a multitude of clubs wherever you are in Canada.