Today I experienced in a national nonprofit called Toastmasters International.

Toastmasters is a non-profit organization developing public speaking and leadership skills through practice and feedback in local clubs since 1924.

A friend of mine Heather McCollum has been going to weekly meetings and now is the current President of her local Toastmasters club.  Heather and I went to college together and she has always had a out-going friendly personality, which made me wonder why she would want to be part of some speech exercise organization.

Attending it today, not only made me think about how I present myself in front of a group but that even the most out-going, social people have things to work on.

The meeting had about 8 people ranging within age and gender. Heather presented her speech and she had someone watching her grammar, time and an official reviewer 1 and 2 while everyone else filled out a survey at the end to rate her 5-7 minute speech. It reminded me of Speech class in High School, which I did pass with an A-. What I personally struggle with is speaking slowly at times and randomly adding sides notes where can leave the listener a bit puzzled (sounds like my writing, right?).

I went up to the podium for the topic portion where I was on-target with time between 1-2 minutes, but I did catch myself saying “like” and “um” a handful of times.

Overall I think this is a great idea to brush-up on creating outlines, possible note cards, writing in general and being able to work on your presenting skills. We all know Obama would have never been elected without his outstanding public speaking ability and THAT is something we can all work on.

Will I join? I think I will attend again, frankly be a great way to stay in touch with my college friend and be able to once again learn a little bit on my Monday lunch hour. Or maybe presenting to hundreds of people through Ad Fed is good enough for the year…

Hey, one day I may have to give a maid-of-honor toast… so why not practice and be a master of that toast?

mn design gal

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