For those who are unfamiliar with Toastmaster, it is a nonprofit organization that now has nearly 220,000 members in 11,300 clubs in 90 countries, offering a proven – and enjoyable – way to practice and hone communication and leadership skills.
From a humble beginning in 1924 at the YMCA in Santa Ana, California, Toastmasters International has grown to become a world leader in helping people become more competent and comfortable in front of an audience. Most Toastmasters meetings are comprised of approximately 20 people who meet weekly for an hour or two. Participants practice and learn skills by filling a meeting role, ranging from giving a prepared speech or an impromptu one to serving as timer, evaluator or grammarian. There is no instructor; instead, Toastmasters reach out to each other with support and helpful suggestions.
Survey after survey shows that presentation skills are crucial to success in the workplace. Many people pay high fees for seminars to gain the skill and confidence necessary to face an audience. Toastmasters provide an option that is less expensive and held in high regard in business circles.
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