Almost every Thursday at noon, it is time to open WebEx for a video conference. This is not for a business meeting; it is for the weekly gathering of my local Toastmasters club. For the past three years or so, I have been attending these Toastmasters meetings and have found them a great way to develop speaking, time management, and leadership skills in a supportive and friendly environment.
If you aren’t familiar with Toastmasters International they are “a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, the organization's membership is approximately 280,000 in more than 14,700 clubs in 144 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators, and leaders.”
What does the program look like practically? Each participant selects a pathway based on their own speaking and leadership goals. Based on their chosen pathway, they review a series of educational materials online and then prepare a speech to practice the fundamental skills they have learned. In addition to the pathways, participants practice their speaking and leadership skills each week by participating in the weekly meetings. I have found my time spent in Toastmasters to be rewarding, both because of the professional skills I have developed, but also because of the new friends that I have made. I would recommend giving the program a try.
This month, as part of my pathway, I am practicing my ability to “write a compelling blog.” While I have had a blog off and on since 2015, this is a great opportunity to refresh the site, reflect on its purpose, and complete some long-overdue projects and updates. It is also an opportunity to get back to one of the reasons I started this in the first place: to practice writing about things I think are interesting.
So, this month will see eight new blog plots, including this one. Stay tuned for more updates and posts.