For the past few months, I’ve been attending bi-weekly meetings at the Greenfield Toastmasters club. It’s been a really good program to be a part of. The group consists of retirees and people that are still working. It’s really a supportive group. Toastmasters gives people the opportunity to work on their public speaking skills by giving prepared speeches and having table discussions.
I initially joined to work on my speaking and communication skills. However, I’ve learned a lot more. I have learned leadership skills, time management, organization, and impromptu speaking.
Impromptu speaking was one of the biggest things I needed to work on. The ability to speak confidently about a topic off the top of my head. A problem that I have is I try to organize or think of a better way to say something instead of just saying what is on my mind. Table topics at Toastmaster meetings have definitely helped me with this. Table topics are where you about a topic/question for a minute or two. The people in the meeting do not know what the topics/questions will be. This prevents people from making a prepared speech.
Another thing I needed to work on was eye contact and body language while speaking. Thankfully Toastmasters provides a way to work on these skills. There are people there that will evaluate a speaker’s performance. The feedback is very helpful to improve a speaker’s skills.
Overall, I’m really happy that I found a great group to be in and I would recommend it to anyone looking to improve their communication skills.