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

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PART 1: COMMUNICATION

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 Communication.

Our success in life is largely dependent on our communication skills. Yet speaking in public is one of our greatest fears. The inability to communicate effectively can lead to thwarted careers, social rejection and broken marriages.

Here’s the good news: Effective communication is a learned skill, just like learning to ride a bicycle. There are three basic parts to communication: listening, thinking, and speaking.

Listening is more than just waiting for your turn to talk. It’s an active process, which occurs on three different levels.

  1. On the first level, you listen to the language and the structure of the grammar as it unfolds. This level of listening is required to follow directions.
  2. A second level of listening involves understanding the message behind what is being said. This requires listening “between the lines” to grasp the speaker’s intentions.
  3. The third level is listening to yourself and being aware of your own reaction to what is being expressed. This means recognizing your own biases and emotions, so you can fully comprehend the other person’s point of view.

The second skill in communication is thinking. When you think, you are rearranging ideas and information that you’ve heard, and giving them new structure. Thinking includes analyzing your audience and then mapping your mind onto your tongue.

Remember, the intangibilities of your thoughts are only approximated by the words you use to express them. To communicate effectively, you must organize your ideas in such a way that they will be understood by those to whom you are speaking.

The final skill in effective communication is speaking. Only a fraction of what you communicate is conveyed by what you say. The rest is communicated by how you say it: your tone of voice, and the volume, speed and pitch of your speech. Your facial expressions, posture and body movements also communicate a language of their own.

Listening, thinking and speakingall three of these skills are practiced, developed, and honed at a Toastmasters meeting. With a motto of “Better Listening, Better Thinking, Better Speaking,” you are invited to join other women and men who are making 2018 the year to enhance their success by improving their communication skills.

You are invited to attend a free workshop on Friday, Aug. 3 from noon to 1 p.m. on “Effective Public Speaking.” BeGes Toastmasters meets Fridays from noon to 1p.m. at GeoEngineers, 1101 Fawcett Ave., Suite 200, Tacoma, WA 98402. For more information, check our website at www.beges.toastmastersclubs.org or call (253) 433-9768.

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