Present Like A Pro

Being a professional and speaking like a professional are two very different things.

Before you can speak like a professional, you need to be certain that you believe that you are a professional. This may sound like an odd statement to some readers, however, many small businesses are successfully started and run by those who are more accustomed to working behind the scenes than in front of the microphone and camera. The fact is, no one is born with an innate ability to speak well before large groups and it is a skill best learned through experience and practice.

If you have confidence issues, stammer or are at a loss for words when someone asks you what you do, don’t ignore the problem! Immediately after reading this post, visit www.toastmasters.org and search for a ToastMasters Club near you. This not for profit was started in the 1920′s with the mission to assist anyone to learn better communication and leadership skills.

Learning to speak publicly is an emotional journey for most. Statistics rate public speaking as the second most common fear – surpassed only by death! Therefore, it helps to feel comfortable with those in the room. That is why ToastMasters encourages guests to sit in on an actual meeting or two – with no pressure to join or fee of any kind.

Each ToastMaster Club is run by volunteers and each Club has a different meeting schedule and for lack of a better term, style. All Toastmasters Clubs, however, have the same goal and that’s to help each of their members become better communicators.

For those of you who are fully capable of standing before a live audience and comfortably presenting your topic for 45 minutes, bravo! Now keep your hands up if you have actually spoken before a live audience within the last year. Bet that one got a few of you! ;)

You would be surprised how many experienced speakers fall back on umms, ahhs and other filler sounds. Even if you can present like a pro, you should still join ToastMasters as each Club is made up a willing audience of at least 20 ears – all there to help you improve your presentation by supplying constructive feedback as part of ToastMasters’ positive learning experience.

There is no cost to visit a ToastMasters Club and if you do join, there is a one time fee of about $20.00 for the manual and semi-annual (every six months) dues of around $30.00 (Club costs vary).

For your $20.00 you will receive a manual developed by ToastMasters International which is used by each of its 10,500+ Clubs worldwide. This manual contains ten (10) speech projects, each with a different objective and time requirement. For instance, the first Speech is known as the “Ice Breaker” and it is 4-6 minutes presentation about yourself. Other objectives include information organization, vocal variety, use of visual aids and so on. Upon completion of the 10th speech, you are awarded your Competent Speaker pin and are then able to move on to more specialized Advanced Courses.

Truly, if you wish a positive learning experience while you develop or hone your presentation skills, look not further than your closest ToastMasters Club!