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Old 01-03-2014, 05:58 PM
 
151 posts, read 256,952 times
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Recently I read an article quoting Warren Buffett saying that "If you improve your communication skills, I guarantee you that you will earn fifty percent more money over your lifetime." I can't agree more with this statement. I am getting a promotion this month and I have no doubt in my mind that joining a Toastmasters club seven months ago is a big contributing factor for getting the promotion.

I came to this country at 16 and didn't speak a word of English. I also came from a culture and family that do not value good communication skills. During HS and college I always spoke English with a heavy accent and was shy and timid. My first speech in HS was a nightmare because the students didn't understand half of what I was saying and some mean kids were laughing and saying things like "go back to China" [I am not from China]. From that experience, I was always terrified when I need to make a presentation. The saying that many people rather be in the coffin than delivering the eulogy is true. My fear of public speaking persisted through out my career until very recently. The only reason I do reasonably well in my career is because of my strong work ethics.

I know about Toastmasters since I graduated from HS. I knew joining it would help me tremendously but my fear of public speak prevented me from joining. Finally last year, when a Sales Managers asked me to do a product presentation to a group of 40 Engineers at a company with a $2 mil account that I built up I said "I can't" and at the end, I had to ask a colleague to do it for me. I was so ashamed of my fear that I finally decided to face it and joined Toastmasters.

It was much easier than I thought because fellow Toastmasters are so supportive and understanding. At Toastmasters, I learned the basic skills of communication. The art of formulating a effective story with introduction, body and conclusion. The importance of body language. We get immediately feedback on what we do well and how we can be more effective. And most importantly, the experience of practice presenting in front of many people. As my communication skills improved I also gained a lot of confidence. I asked my boss for a 30 minutes meeting in which I effectively presented to him my long list of contributions to the company and why I am due for a promotion. Amazingly he agreed on the spot. Recently I made a product presentation to a prospective customer and the Sales Manager commented that I did very well. I intend to keep going to Toastmasters for the next few years.

So my advice is that most people will benefit by joining Toastmasters. Communication skills can be learned. There should be a Toastmasters club near you. Some clubs meet weekly and other clubs meet every other week. Check them out.

Last edited by MattNguyen; 01-03-2014 at 06:06 PM..
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Old 01-03-2014, 06:06 PM
MJ7
 
6,221 posts, read 10,665,257 times
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Communication skills are one thing, the way you convey your message to others is key. You can sound fancy, but can you insight others?
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:08 PM
 
151 posts, read 256,952 times
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The way you convey your message is part of the communication skills you can learn at a Toastmasters club.

1. Preparing an effective message to persuade your audience. This requires you to know your audience, what message you want to convey.
2. Practice
3. Deliver

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ7 View Post
Communication skills are one thing, the way you convey your message to others is key. You can sound fancy, but can you insight others?
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:16 PM
 
1,057 posts, read 2,403,155 times
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Thank you for sharing your experience. I always wanted to join a Toastmaster but have been putting it off. I also have a fear of public speaking ughhhh! The ability to communicate well is really important and I think part of it is also being charismatic. Have you notice how great leaders are usually very charismatic? They sort of "hypnotize" you and captivate you so much that you can listen to something that you have zero interest in and still enjoy it
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:16 PM
 
Location: PHL-Terminal C, Gate 11
153 posts, read 307,032 times
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Default Thank you for posting this

I had completely forgot about Toastmasters- I think it would be a good idea to join s i have been having a problem with expressing myself clearly. Thanks for the reminder!
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:30 PM
 
151 posts, read 256,952 times
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DCmum,

Yes, I totally agree with you. People like Reagan, and Clinton are all extremely charismatic and captivating. I think some of it is genetic, the social settings that they grew up in are also important but I think it can be learned. No, we will never be as Charismatic and at ease like Reagan or Clinton in public but we can be much better than where we are now. Hope you will find and join a club near you soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DCmum View Post
Thank you for sharing your experience. I always wanted to join a Toastmaster but have been putting it off. I also have a fear of public speaking ughhhh! The ability to communicate well is really important and I think part of it is also being charismatic. Have you notice how great leaders are usually very charismatic? They sort of "hypnotize" you and captivate you so much that you can listen to something that you have zero interest in and still enjoy it
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:38 PM
 
2,429 posts, read 3,990,990 times
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Is Toastmasters a regional group -- or usually associated with a certain socio-economic level? For men and women?
Who is it for -- people who need to improve their speaking? or those who are already excellent speakers -- and how would you find out about it?

I'm fairly well -informed, -educated, and -traveled, (good schools, excellent student) and I never heard of Toastmasters until I was in my 30's, in my second professional career job. I was just surprised I'd never heard of them.

Heck, I'm from Philly and I'd heard of 4H -- and not Toastmasters.
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Old 01-03-2014, 08:01 PM
 
151 posts, read 256,952 times
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Toastmasters clubs is a non profit international organization that started out as a speech club in California. They are for anyone who wants to improve their communication skills. However, most members are white collar professionals. There is a good mix of real estate professionals, Accountants, Managers, Engineers, Sales folks, college students and even Trial Lawyers. Some people are shy, some are extremely outgoing and there are a few non-native speakers who go there to improve their English skills. Some people are extremely polished speakers but choose to come back to coach newer members. If you go the Toastmasters website you should be able to find local clubs near you. Certainly not all Toastmasters clubs are the same, some clubs are extremely helpful and some because of poor leadership may not be as effective. You can go to a few clubs as guest before choosing one.
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Old 01-03-2014, 08:02 PM
 
Location: Bellevue
2,953 posts, read 3,176,633 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdflk View Post
Is Toastmasters a regional group -- or usually associated with a certain socio-economic level? For men and women?
Who is it for -- people who need to improve their speaking? or those who are already excellent speakers -- and how would you find out about it?

I'm fairly well -informed, -educated, and -traveled, (good schools, excellent student) and I never heard of Toastmasters until I was in my 30's, in my second professional career job. I was just surprised I'd never heard of them.

Heck, I'm from Philly and I'd heard of 4H -- and not Toastmasters.
Toastmasters International - Home

Here's the link to Toastmasters International

A world wide organization in 122 countries, about 292,000 members in 14,350 clubs.
Use the TI site to find the club & meeting time most convenient for you.

TI is for any adult (over 18) who wants to learn speaking & leadership skills.
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Old 01-04-2014, 01:10 AM
 
Location: Corona the I.E.
10,137 posts, read 17,369,049 times
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The people I know of that have gone have nothing but good things to say about TM.
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