How Public Speaking Improves Your Social Life
I have a fear of public speaking. More precisely, I should describe it as a phobia.
Im not really scared, I just react badly when I get up in front of a large group of people. My blood pressure starts to rise, my skin starts to get flush, and worst of all, I lose all ability to think on the fly.
Im not so bad if I have something prepared, but God forbid if I have to think up something right then and there.
Learning to be a better public speaker is a great thing. But conquering this area of my life probably wouldnt be enough for me to practice public speaking every other week.
I dont make very many public speeches. But the benefits that I pickup with learning public speaking will help me in my every day life and in meeting new people.
People are attracted to the person up on the podium speaking to hundreds of people, whether hes a preacher, a politician, or a professor. He is the one wielding control over the room and captivating the multitudes. True charisma is the ability to seduce thousands, not just one person.
Toastmasters is a worldwide nonprofit organization for the purpose of helping its members improve public speaking, communication, and leadership skills. Joining a Toastmasters club is one of the best things you can do to improve several aspects of your ability to meet new people.
I joined a club about three months ago and it has been a fantastic experience. The people there were skilled and knowledgeable and at the same time, they were warm, friendly and supportive in helping new people learn the ropes and pickup the
Toastmasters grooms you to
speak in front of large groups of people by criticizing your public speaking.
They teach you to focus on things like body language: Dont rock back and forth when you speak.
Move comfortably around when you speak. Make solid eye contact.
Vary your tone of voice.
Vary your pace but dont speak too quickly.
Sound familiar? These are all things you should be focusing on when meeting new people.
You will also get criticized on your language. A person will keep track of how many people say unnecessary words like: um, you know, and stuff, right, like, etc. Eliminating riff raff from your vocabulary makes you a more effective and high-value communicator exactly what youre looking for when communicating with someone you are interested in.
Developing Leadership Skills One of the best aspects of Toastmasters is their focus on teaching leadership skills.
Everyone at a Toastmasters meeting are volunteers. There are numerous roles at a meeting and the person in each role gets up in front of the room and conducts that part of the meeting and or gives reports about that part of the meeting.
The person who listens and keeps track of vocabulary errors is one example. Another example is the person who times the speeches.
There are usually two or three people who pickup and give a 5-minute prepared speech at every meeting.
There are also people designated to critique those speakers. Those people get up in front of the room and speak as well when criticizing the prepared speeches.
This way, a meeting will rarely pass when you would not get up and practice speaking. And some of these people are excellent speakers. They know how to captivate an audience. They are a diverse group of people and are varying ages as well.
Some of them have been in Toastmasters for 20 years or more. The speeches they give are usually insightful and worth a listen, even if just to see how people can communicate. At the same time, they provide an amazingly supportive environment for a new person to learn. These people know what it was like to have such a fear of public speaking. This makes it also easier to get up in front of a group like this and speak.
How Toastmasters Helped My Fear of Speaking to Strangers
When you’ve never done it before and you begin speaking with strangers, the anxiety can be nerve-wracking.
It was an emotional roller-coaster ride for me when I started. If I talked to three people, by the end of the night I would be drained. I felt like Id been through an emotional heavyweight title match.
As I talked to more new people, the fear and anxiety lessened. But Toastmasters helped out as well.
The fear of approaching people is very similar to that fear of getting up in front of a group of people and speaking. As I got more comfortable with one, I became more comfortable with the other as well.
There are thousands of Toastmasters clubs around the country and many in New York City.
They have bi-weekly meetings that last two hours. Different clubs meet at different times.
When you are a 101 beginner, the first few times you go to Toastmasters youll be a guest. Youll be offered the opportunity to speak in their pickup impromptu section where they give you a random topic and you speak for 2-3 minutes off the top of your head.
Its a great exercise. After a few times of attending meetings youll be expected to become a member.
Its $67 a year to be a member. This allows you to attend any of the meetings, not just the club you joined. You also get educational materials and an opportunity to speak in their competitions where you can get up in front of hundreds of people, not just the 15-25 people at each meeting. They also try to set you up with a mentor.
Toastmasters is an excellent way to become more confident, and it will improve your social life and help you to feel comfortable in social situations.