Five years ago I was facilitating a SigEp event in Ohio. It was one of those Saturday morning events with students…enthusiasm is scarce from the participants. One of the facilitators, however, brought energy to the conference that sparked life into both the participants and facilitators alike. His name is Chris. I was so impressed by his public speaking that I complimented him on it afterwards. Chris said something to the effect of, “Yea, I’m an attorney so I need to be able to speak well in front of a room – but I get my practice in at Toastmasters.”
I had no idea what he was talking about.
A couple months later I joined my new friend Chris in attending the “Arnold Classic” in his hometown of Columbus. We walked around, scored free supplement samples, saw some jacked people, tried a couple feats of strength and then went on our way. As we were parting ways in the parking garage he pulled a binder out of his car. He then explained a little bit more about this Toastmasters thing, and showed me the public speaking curriculum he has been working through.
This intrigued me. I decided I would join once I was in a new city.
In 2016 I moved to Baltimore, MD and looked up Toastmasters. I found that there was a club called Redwood Toastmasters that meets twice a month during lunch. Given some of my constraints at work, I decided once I had a little more freedom I would make the time to go.
About a year and a half ago I finally showed up! I rode my bike there, got lost, and showed up late – but was there nonetheless and started forming a new habit.
Now I get to practice public speaking in, dare I say, a “safe space” where it is OK to try different things and fail, succeed, learn, repeat. The results in my confidence speaking in front of a room or in front of a camera have been tremendous.
Our club is going to stay virtual for the time being, so we are not constrained to the Baltimore area for membership. If you are interested and are committed to developing as a leader and public speaker I would encourage you to drop into one of our meetings. I have found it to be worth the hour every time.
We meet on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month from 12-1pm EST. Let me know if you would like to join us.