ALL About Toastmasters


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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-confidence and self-esteem.

We gain self-confidence through accomplishment. When we feel good about our accomplishments, our self-esteem rises. Three conditions can greatly enhance our chance for success: 1) a proper learning environment, 2) opportunity for practice, and 3) recognition and acknowledgement for our achievements. Each of these conditions is met in a Toastmasters club meeting.

A proper learning environment should make you feel safe and comfortable. It should be structured so that your progress is clear and measurable. You should be challenged, but not overwhelmed.

Toward this end, Toastmasters provides you with a self-paced program where speaking opportunities are scheduled with a frequency that works for you. A progressive program of ten speeches challenges you to develop specific skills, while providing you the freedom to select your own speech material. Since members usually speak on topics of their own expertise and personal life experiences, participation in the meeting is both fun and entertaining.

Practice: It is through practice that you acquire your skills. Every Toastmasters meeting provides opportunities to practice and improve. Experienced members of the club serve as mentors, but all members bring with them strengths that can inspire and guide others.

Practice without feedback could just develop into a bad habit. In a Toastmasters club, you learn how to provide feedback in a constructive manner, so you are learning as well as helping others to grow.

Recognition: There’s nothing like recognition to fuel our perseverance. It’s a wonderful feeling to walk to the front of a room supported by rousing applause. During your speech, you receive the full attention of your club. After a speech, you receive both written and verbal comments noting your improvements and complimenting your strengths.

Public speaking is often a matter of facing our own fears, fears that keep us from feeling confident. The process of overcoming fear is, in itself, a confidence booster and a self-empowering experience. Next week, we look at perspectives and techniques useful for mastering our fears of public speaking.

You are invited to attend a FREE WORKSHOP on Friday, Aug. 17, from noon1 p.m. on “PROFESSIONAL PRESENTATIONS.” BeGes Toastmasters meets Fridays from noon1 p.m. at GeoEngineers, 1101 Fawcett Ave., Suite 200, Tacoma, WA 98402. For more information, check our website at or call (253) 433-9768.

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