All About Toastmasters Public speaking is a tool for personal and professional growth

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PART 2: SELF-EXPRESSION

BeGes Toastmasters offers this five-part series on public speaking and the benefits of Toastmasters. Toastmasters is a non-profit organization. Guests are welcome to attend any meeting for free. This week’s article is about self-expression.

Have you ever missed getting a job because of a poor interview? Have you ever remained quiet during an important meeting because you were afraid to voice your thoughts? Are you confident enough to promote a cause you believe in or to participate in a radio or televised interview? Imagine the opportunities that might open up for you if you were comfortable and confident in expressing yourself. Let’s look at three skills that can be developed to improve self-expression.

First is the content of your message. When informing an audience, simplicity should be your motto. Keep the language simple, and use repetition to drive home your point. To entertain or inspire an audience, use personal experience to connect on an emotional level. Using vivid and descriptive details in your stories and anecdotes will enable you to make a connection with your audience that’ll sound like the buckling of a seatbelt.

A second skill involves the use of your voice. The tone of your voice can either augment or negate the content of your message. Think about how your voice can completely change the meaning behind the sentence, “I can’t wait.” You can greatly enhance the expression of your thoughts and feelings by varying the rate of your speech, the tone of your voice, and the volume of your delivery.

The final skill that contributes to self-expression is the language spoken by your body. The body speaks through posture, breathing, gestures, eye movement, and other facial expressions. When the verbal message and the body language contradict each other, we tend to give credence to the message the body is conveying. A good poker player knows how to use this to his or her advantage!

In Toastmasters, we improve self-expression through speech content, vocal variety, and body language. When all three are working together, our voice and body language harmonize with our content and reinforce our verbal message.

As we learn to better express our thoughts, feelings, and convictions, we feel more confident in ourselves. We become more active in pursuing our goals and ambitions in life, thereby living more fully. Next week we will reveal how the format of a Toastmasters meeting encourages self-confidence and develops high self-esteem.

You are invited to attend a free workshop on Friday, Aug. 10, from noon-1 p.m. on “The Power of Communication.” BeGes Toastmasters meets Fridays from noon-1 p.m. at GeoEngineers, 1101 Fawcett Ave., Suite 200, Tacoma. For more information, check our website at beges.toastmastersclubs.org or call (253) 433-9768.

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