Public speaking is some people’s worst nightmare. I happen to love it. Honestly, this job would be very difficult if I didn’t.
When I first got to Michigan First, I was enrolled in a public speaking program called Toastmasters. It’s an international program that focuses on the development of great public speaking skills, such as: building confidence, using effective body language, speech organization, and vocal pitch. As a member, I have to attend two monthly meetings, and give five speeches during my one-year Spokester term.
Here’s what I think about Toastmasters: I absolutely love it.
It has allowed me to learn so much about my team members through their speeches, while building my own public speaking skills. I did my first speech this week and it turned out great… if I say so myself. I don’t have much of a problem speaking in front of anyone, but if I had the choice, it would always be in front of strangers. There’s something just a bit unsettling about speaking in front of a group of people I see every single day. Ya know, in case I mess up or say something incredibly stupid. But I realized that they all want the best for me. Everyone is growing, and it is a fun and loving environment.
My biggest antic: I use crutch words to transition ideas. That’s what I will focus on improving. At each meeting, there is someone called an “Ah Counter” who literally counts every time someone uses an unnecessary word, such as: uh, um, so, like etc. Let’s just say, I didn’t know I had it so bad.
The cool thing about Toastmasters is that each speech brings on a different objective, has different time limits, and requires different methods of storytelling. The first one was fairly straightforward: introduce yourself. But believe me, it’s harder to boil your whole life down into four to six minutes than you think.
I’m so thankful that Michigan First provides me with resources that will enhance me as not only a Spokester, but as a person. I’m already pumped for Speech #2!
What are some of your public speaking tips? There's always room for growth. And if you need guidance on how to brush up your skills, join a Toastmasters Club! It's fun and is an awesome way to build relationships with like-minded people.