Monday, August 4, 2014

You Should Join Toastmasters

There is a wonderful organization out there that can help you be a better writer, a better public speaker, and have more confidence at signings and other public events that as an author you may need to be part of.  That organization is Toastmasters.  There are Toastmasters clubs all over the world (14,350 clubs in 122 countries).  But why would a writer need to know how to speak better in public and communicate verbally.  Well, you might find yourself in front of an audience at:
  • Public readings
  • Con panels
  • Book signings (even if the audience is just one person)
  • Telling people about your work
Toastmasters has an education program that teaches you to be confident in public speaking and all interpersonal verbal communication.  And writing a speech is writing and can help you learn to organize your thoughts and present them in a coherent and understandable manner.

One of my favorite parts of Toastmasters (yes, I'm a member) is Table Topics.  This is where you may be given a topic or a question and you have one to two minutes to speak on it.  It really helps you think on your feet instead of stammering and hemming and hawing.

I've been in Toastmasters since April of 2011.  In that time I have given at least 33 speeches and I have learned so much about verbal communication.  I have two more speeches to go to earn the top speech education award in Toastmasters: Advance Communicator Gold.

Dues for Toastmasters are a very reasonable at $36 every six months (most clubs will round that up to $40 so the club gets $4 to fund their activities).  Compare that with a Dale Carnegie course that can cost thousands of dollars.  It really is a very nice bargain.

To find a Toastmasters club near you, go to their website.  You'll find a fun, friendly, and welcoming atmosphere to learn to communicate better.  And communicating better can and will help you in your writing career. Or any career, really.

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