Effective leaders are made, not born. They learn from trial and error, and experience." - (Colin Powell)
Developing those communication and leadership skills in a safe environment for trial and error, and experience, will certainly propel you in the right direction. As Brian Tracy said, "Your ability to negotiate, communicate, influence, and persuade others to do things is absolutely indispensable to everything you accomplish in life."
Effective communication is the key to success in most avenues of life, whether that be in your work life, in your personal relationships, or in your everyday tasks to get things done.
Toastmasters is the perfect place to develop and learn those skills that will help make you both an effective communicator and an effective leader.
Toastmasters International is the world's largest organisation dedicated to helping people achieve their potential by developing members' communication and leadership skills. In over 16,800 clubs globally, including 300 clubs around New Zealand, members learn public speaking and other valuable interpersonal and leadership skills in a warm and supportive environment. Every Toastmasters club shares the same mission, clearly defined in the following mission statement:
We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.
Regardless of your background, Toastmasters is the most efficient, enjoyable and affordable way of gaining great communication and leadership skills - and developing the confidence to find your voice and make your message heard.
Better Speaking - Toastmasters will give you the skills and confidence you need to effectively express yourself in any situation. By learning to effectively formulate and express your ideas, you enter a new world of possibilities. You will be more persuasive and confident when giving presentations, and you will improve your one-on-one dealings with others.
Better Leading - Leadership is the art of empowering others to do what you wish to be done. To do so, you need to know how to communicate with others and work as a team to achieve goals. In a Toastmasters club, you will do both. You will find out how to vary your approach to suit the needs of different people, whether they are the audience for a speech, the committee for a fundraiser, or co-workers and managers.
The benefits of joining a Toastmasters Club include:
- A unique means of learning and improving your communication abilities within a supportive and motivational atmosphere of growth, fellowship and fun with your fellow Toastmasters club members in a learn by doing approach.
- A safe place to practice developing the skills you want to improve - including language skills. There are many members for whom English is not their first language.
- Access to professionally prepared educational materials and resources on: public speaking; interpersonal communication; leadership; listening; critical thinking; effective evaluation; facilitating and participating in discussions; techniques to enhance presentations involving technological resources; event management; parliamentary procedures; and running effective meetings.
- Continuing development of, and exposure to, proven communication techniques.
- Increased confidence, ability to organise logical thought and present it self-assuredly, and better understanding of interpersonal relationships.
- Experience in leadership development through training, involvement and activities.
- Unlimited opportunities for personal and professional advancement based on improved abilities and expanded experience.
- The Toastmaster magazine – every month the Toastmaster provides new insights on communication techniques, ideas and opinions.
- Affiliation with an internationally renowned educational organisation.
How does it work?
The environment we provide is friendly and supportive, and the self-paced programme allows you to build confidence with each speaking assignment. Everyone follows the same programme; but because everyone is different, everyone will get something different out of doing so. Exactly what that is, is up to you; but whatever it is, the club is there to help you achieve it.
You develop and practice your skills through delivering prepared speeches, filling meeting roles and/or participating in impromptu speaking sessions, called Table Topics.
Constructive evaluation is the heart of the Toastmasters programme. Each time you practice your communication skills you will receive written, verbal and informal feedback which will point out strengths you demonstrate and suggest areas where you can continue to develop and improve your skills.
Find a club near you.
Many clubs run short courses in public speaking, known as speechcraft courses. These are typically 6-8 weeks long, and follow a structured learn-by-doing speaker training programme. They are ideal for those who need or want an accelerated introduction to public speaking. Membership to the club which runs the course is optional, but encouraged.
Find out if their is a speechcraft course near you.
About Toastmasters International
Toastmasters International is a worldwide not-for-profit educational organisation that empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, the organisation's membership exceeds 358,000 in more than 16,800 clubs in 143 countries. In New Zealand we have more than 6,000 members in over 300 clubs.
Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators and leaders.
For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please contact us by phone at 0800 PEOPLE or email email@example.com.
Alternatively just check out this website and find a club near you.