I have started attending the Toastmasters club at the downtown S.U.C.C.E.S.S. office called “Talk for Success Toastmasters” as a guest. It was started by my neighbor Suddhodan and the sessions have been helpful so far. It is held on Wednesdays from noon to 1PM and I’m petrified everytime I attend. Stage fright is the hardest thing to conquer I think but I know I have to get over it. I have yet to take on some of the roles like time keeper, table topic evaluator, speaker, etc and to be honest, I’m not looking forward to it.
Their membership benefits include books that clearly spell out the roles, etiquettes, and best practices. I have just attended two sessions and have already learned the following:
– Do not apologize and never say ‘sorry’. In previous public speaking engagements, I would apologize in advance at the start of the speech because I wasn’t a skilled speaker. This is apparently a no-no.
– Do not draw attention to your gap-fillers like ‘uhms’, ‘ahhs’, ‘you know’ , etc. This becomes apparent at Toastmasters clubs where someone is counting your gap-fillers. Just keep going.
It’s a very informal crowd and everyone is nice. You and I would probably rather go to the dentist for a root canal but joking aside, I welcome the challenge.
(Room 110, 28 Pender Street West, Vancouver | http://talk-for-success-toastmasters.wikispaces.com)