Confessions of a Speak a Phob: Toastmasters

A while ago, I went as a guest to a Toastmasters meeting. I’d heard of Toastmasters before, and heard it was a good place to practice public speaking, but I had always been too intimidated to actually go. I guess I envisioned myself getting called on by surprise to come up with a lot of pithy/easy/breezy things to say while simultaneously wanting to die. On purpose.

But, with my goal of being a better public speaker in mind, I recruited two friends and went to check it out. As it turns out, I was both right and wrong about Toastmasters.

I was right about it being a great resource for public speaking practice — the whole meeting is designed to give participants a chance to try their hand at being pithy. If you become an actual member, it sounds like there are good resources too.

I was also right about it being intimidating. There were all kinds of scary things about this meeting. The official titles (a grammarian!), the unexplained procedures and rituals and the guy whose only job is to count how many times you say “Ah.”

Thankfully, I was wrong about being called on and then forced to come up with new content on the spot. As a guest, the only thing I had to do was introduce myself.