Many people put off professional development. Here are some typical excuses used to avoid joining Toastmasters.
Do these ring any bells? If so, we ask you to reconsider. Perhaps Toastmasters is not what you thought.
I don’t need Toastmasters. I’ve been giving presentations for years.
In that case you’ve probably been using the same techniques for years. For experienced speakers, Toastmasters is a way to enhance or improve your presentation style. You will get honest feedback about your approach and good suggestions for alternative techniques.
I don’t give speeches.
Does your boss never ask for a status report on your project? What about when you present an idea at a staff meeting? Do you talk on the phone to ask a question or give information? When you begin to consider your business and personal conversations as ‘presentations’, your focus will shift to present conversations in a more meaningful way. Toastmasters will help you develop that professional edge.
I can’t think of anything interesting to talk about.
Everyone has something that interests them. What do you enjoy doing for a hobby? Have you ever met anyone famous? Describe your job. Do you have any interesting characters on the family tree? Where did you go on your last holiday? You actually have a lot to say.
Other Toastmasters are already good speakers. I’d be nervous.
While there are good speakers in every club, everyone starts at the same place. Even the most experienced speakers are nervous. Toastmasters won’t be able to eliminate that. However we can help you discover a way to use nervousness to your advantage. Many members continue to attend and give presentations because although they have improved their speaking skills, there is always something new to learn.
You must attend every meeting.
You can attend as many meetings as you want to. As a courtesy to other members and to get the full benefit from the organization, you should participate in meetings regularly either as a speaker or in one of the other meeting roles. Just being there as an audience for the other speakers is vital to everyone’s success.
Each speech is criticized.
Toastmasters is adamantly against criticism. Our keyword is ‘evaluation’ and we concentrate on helping each person understand what they are doing RIGHT. Improvements are also suggested for future presentations. This method helps you build your speaking technique.
Toastmasters is very time consuming.
The amount of time you give to Toastmasters depends on your needs. Giving presentations does require preparation, but you can use topics associated with work or home so content preparation is minimal. You can also space your presentations to meet your schedule. Meeting roles such as evaluator and timer require no preparation. Table Topics Master and Toastmaster require some preparation – none at all if you can think on your feet!
I can’t afford it.
Being a member of Speakers of Croydon currently costs only £11 per month. Having read the above can you afford not to be a member?
Join us and experience how Toastmasters can help you.
By Trudy Kuhn SOC VPE