Many, many years ago I served a group called toastmasters when I worked as a waitress at the National Press Club in Ottawa, the nation's capital in Canada. I had no idea what the group was all about. Actually, I thought it strange that people would gather to toast, whatever that was. Since they met on a regular basis, I soon learned the purpose of the group and the seed was planted in my brain that one day I would like to join. I really did not believe I had much need for this type of coaching in my current position so I did not think of it again till last year when a colleague mentioned he was a member.
If ever I needed a reason to join it was now. I had started a business and like a dear caught in headlights had a fear of doing presentations, approaching potential clients, basically all things I needed to be doing to market my business. I thought about it for a few months and finally decided to take the plunge and join the group. I have absolutely no regrets.
They wasted no time in getting me up there front and center but in such a non threatening environment that half the battle was already won. I have since done 2 of my required 10 speeches and I survived, lol. I am not quite ready to run for office but every meeting requires active participation which builds on my confidence.
If you have never heard of Toastmasters International, they are the world leaders in communication and leadership development. They have been around since 1924 and their learning model is a workshop without a specific instructor but rather member guided with specific goals to be reached as you progress through a very specific set of guidelines. To learn more about the organization you can visit: http://www.toastmasters.org/MainMenuCategories/TheWhatWhyandHowofToastmasters.aspx
I have also found benefits that I had not expected, specifically content creation. As a virtual assistant and social media manager, it is important to write professional, value based content that engages people through a blog, newsletter or social media network. Having to create speeches to achieve toastmaster goals has already begun to help me gain confidence in writing content. There is a long way to go but practice makes perfect and with toastmasters helping to guide me, I have no doubt it will come sooner than later.
So if you want to improve your confidence, become a leader and be the best that you can be personally and professionally do yourself a favor in 2013 aned join a local chapter of toastmaster.
Leave a comment and share any toastmaster experiences you have had or if this is your first time hearing about it.
We make our own opportunities and I want to see you succeed in 2013.
Shari Larkin is an Online business strategist and social media manager helping entrepreneurs and small business owners utilize the internet as a tool to grow and administrate their businesses online. You can learn more at www.sharilarkin.weebly.com