Business owners and other business professionals need to be effective at presenting their ideas one-on-one and in front of larger groups.
And there are times when we need to provide feedback to others. These people can include business partners, employees, vendors, contractors, and, of course, customers.
In addition, being able to communicate in a clear and succinct manner, whether formally or informally, is an important skill for everyone to master.
What can you do if you want to make a powerful impact whenever you speak, but are not a natural presenter? As a long-time member, I highly recommend joining a Toastmasters club.
As a member, you will increase your self-confidence and speaking ability. These changes happen as you develop your communication and leadership skills. All the members in your club help you develop these skills, and you can ask for one to one mentor.
I first learned about Toastmasters in November 1996, shortly after I got into the field of sales. At the first meeting I visited, I immediately saw how being in Toastmasters could help me as a fledgling salesperson. So, I joined my first club, Energetics Toastmasters, in January 1997.
Here are just a few ways that I apply the skills I have learned in my 20+ years in Toastmasters.
- Researching my audience well in advance, so I can tailor my talk to meet their needs
- Developing a presentation that is well-organized, informative and impactful
- Delivering that presentation in an engaging and enthusiastic manner
- Anticipating equipment needs and other logistical arrangements in advance, and knowing how to carry on when things go wrong
- Flexibility allows me to adapt to ever-changing dynamics of the speaking area and the audience
- Really listening to the challenges my clients share so I can adapt my tutoring accordingly
- Critiquing a client’s social media profile in a kind and direct manner
- Offering suggestions diplomatically to fellow leaders in business organizations and other groups
Impromptu Speaking Skills
- Answering questions directly and clearly in the question and answer session after a presentation.
- Developing a positive rapport with a potential client – over the phone or in person
- Succinctly sharing information about myself and my services when meeting one-to-one with a business colleague
- Discovering more about that colleague by asking open-ended questions in a friendly manner
- Addressing any objections someone might have to using my services
I use all these and many other benefits that have accrued over the years so often that many have become second nature.
No matter your current speaking ability, you will benefit from learning more from Toastmasters. To find a club in your community, go to www.toastmasters.org and click on Find a Club.
How About You?
Have you ever been a member of Toastmasters? If so, how did that experience impact your communication and leadership skills? Have you had other speaking training, such as a Dale Carnegie course? If so, how did that help you?
Joyce Feustel helps people, especially those ages 45 and older, to become more comfortable using social media, especially Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter.
She works with business owners, business development professionals, leaders of nonprofit organizations, job seekers, consultants, and many others. Find her at www.boomerssocialmediatutor.com.