Summer Fun and Learning at Toastmasters

I’ve been part of a local Toastmasters club for the last two years.  This was my first foray into the Toastmaster’s world. We meet once a week; early morning (6:55-8:15 a.m), at a local community centre.

Toastmasters and my experience with Toastmasters

Toastmasters focus is to provide a supportive environment to improve public speaking.

Toastmasters originated in the United States in the 1920s. Today, its’ a global association; 15,000+ clubs in 135 countries. It’s still run from its’ US base; with an attendant American flavour to the operations. The standard meeting format is very structured, with space for improvisation within that structure; a decent formula, on many fronts.

In my club, there are 25 active members. Membership is diverse; drawing: retirees, students, politicians, new immigrants, executives, social workers, teachers, office workers, craftsmen, etc. No boundaries.

Toastmasters is also an opportunity to try out a few new things, out of the ordinary, and have a bit of fun. Here’s a video of a 6 minute speech I did last week, at my club; my take on buying “A Dozen Eggs”.  My intent was to be entertaining. (Hey, its summer) It mostly worked. Enjoy:

(video not displaying? watch it here, on Collaborative Journeys)

I consider Toastmasters a community-of-practice, whatever way one wants to scale that community; e.g., your club only or the world. As such, it provides opportunities for learning, networking, socializing…

The Toastmasters culture is ‘make it safe’; a safe space to have conversations, experiment, learn, connect…; it offers a decent implementation of collaborative maxims.

I joined Toastmasters to improve my speaking skills; mostly in the context of my workshops.

The additional benefits, learning from, and connecting and befriending, other members, and community outreach, I hadn’t fully anticipated; though, maybe I should of – knowing that frequent, regular, positive communications, are the basis of good relationships. Oh, and then there’s the fact that I got roped into being my club president, for this year. :)

A couple of books on public speaking

Toastmasters is one in-person way to connect with kindred ‘speaking-minded’ spirits. Another, is books. Here’s a couple of  books I highly recommend, and from which I’ve learned much: Michael Port‘s Steal the Show and Kristin Arnold‘s Boring to Bravo.

Toastmasters in Victoria

There are many Toastmasters clubs in the Greater Victoria region; some are listed on Meetup. Check them out.

Or, maybe I can recruit you to mine? Contact me.

Cheers!

 

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