One of the questions I get asked all the time is, “What about Toastmasters?” Students and managers that I work with want to know if I think they should join Toastmasters.
Toastmasters International offers anyone who joins one of their local affiliates the opportunity to “practice public speaking, improve your communication and build leadership skills.” They invite prospective members to “break barriers, not your budget.”
Both of these assertions might cause me a moment’s hesitation. First, is the implied slight that other methods of learning – mine included – are prohibitively expensive. And I could easily counter, “In life, you tend to get what you pay for.” My method is a bargain. Toastmasters also seems to suggest that improving public speaking, communication and leadership are three discrete benefits of membership. In my view, when it comes to a business presentation, they are inseparable. Public speaking is a communication skill that requires leadership. Sustained leadership requires effective communication and public speaking skills. Etc.