Is Toastmasters worth it video originally posted on Austin Iuliano’s Youtube channel. Transcription below:
What is Toastmasters?
For those of you who don’t know what Toastmasters is, it’s an organization where a group of people meet every week or every other week and support each other in your journey at overcoming their fear of public speaking and becoming a better speaker.
My First Toastmasters Experience
The first time I had to get up on stage and give my very first public speaking talk was petrifying, I walked up onto the stage and I was standing in a sea of strangers looking up at me judging me. I heard the iridescent flickering and I was sweaty. My palms were soaked. I was nervous and I was shaking a little bit. The next thing I noticed was that my vision started to get fuzzy on the edges and then it started getting black. Then it’s going down just to a pinprick of light and I realize that I was about to pass out on stage in front of everybody. Luckily my brain kicked in and said hey Austin you dumb dumb, you forgot to breathe.
I took a big breath, opened up my mouth, and I started speaking. I don’t really know what I said I’m not going to lie but I do know that I stumbled and I fumbled and I forgot my words but eventually, I made it through. I sat down and it was like thank God this is over!
I kind of realized that I needed to be better at this than what I was doing now thankfully over the years I have become much better. Last year I gave about 50 different talks I’ve spoken to crowds of over 300 people I work with organizations like Tedx.
What Toastmasters Can Teach You
I have come a long way but most importantly I can summarize this down into certain things I’ve learned through Toastmasters which you may also learn.
Overcame Fear of Public Speaking
Now I get excited when I get to get up on stage and it activates a little spark inside of me. I go yes, I have this powerful message that I get to share with people. I get to inspire people oh my God and he just lights me up. I used to be scared and now I’m like give me the mic give me the opportunity let’s go!
Learn Your Style of Speaking
I learned my unique style, my voice and I’ve learned what works for me. Not trying to be somebody else because that’s one of the hardest things. When I started as I saw these other amazing people out there and I was like I want to be just like you and I started trying to be just like them.
Then I started realizing that it’s not about me trying to be them, it’s about me trying to be me. As soon as I did that I got this little voice inside of me that started growing and coming out. I really got to start serving more people which was amazing seeing people responding come up to me and be like I want to be just like you.
I was like, please no don’t be just like me, be you that’s where the awesome power is and I learned that through Toastmasters.
Learn How To Speak Confidently
I’ve learned how to speak confidently and not stumble and fumble over my words. If you notice in this video I will very rarely use the word uh, um, ah and stumbled. Toastmasters actually teaches you how to recognize when you’re going to say that… pause…. collect your thoughts and then continue.
Learn How to Use Your Body To Speak
I learn how to use my body language. I’m Italian I speak with my hands if you haven’t noticed. I’ve learned how to use not only my hands but my whole body to convey a message.
Learn How to Use Tone of Voice
Learn how to use my tone of voice to speak with power and conviction. Sometimes some heartfelt emotion, use some humor when I have it.
Learn How to Organize and Structure a Speech
Learn how to not freak out when I have to get up on stage and prepare a brand new speech. I can get up on stage with like 15 minutes’ notice and give a great talk because I know how to organize and structure a speech so that way the audience gets that message.
All of this is through Toastmasters and his skills that you can learn too. I’ve done fifty-plus speeches this year. I promise you if you work their system and do fifty-plus speeches you too will be able to get up on stage and not freak out and be really comfortable with yourself.
How to Get the Most out of Toastmasters
Here is how you can get the most out of Toastmasters if you do decide to join. Check out a bunch of different clubs. There are hundreds of clubs probably in your area if you’re in a big city like Los Angeles or New York. If you’re in a small City it might be only one or two but check them all out. There’s a difference between every single club because there’s a different energy, there are different styles. You have to find the one that works for you.
Try and find both a small club and a big club to check out. A small club is great because it’s going to give you many opportunities to step up and speak and be a leader. A big club is great because even though you won’t have as many opportunities, generally speaking, the caliber of a speaker is so much higher. You get to learn from them, you get to look at them and be inspired. You’ll want to show as there are not that many speaking spots, but you’re going to want to be there every single time to get your chance to learn and develop.
Look at those, I lucked out and got into one of the top clubs in my area with people who’ve been in the group for 25 years. They are some next-level speakers that inspire me to this day. I’ve also become an area director and have grown like five clubs in my area. Some of them are very small and I see amazing speakers at every single level.
How To Develop As A Speaker
Toastmasters is great because they have a system for you to get better. It’s called Pathways and it is a brilliant way of looking at yourself first and determining where you need to improve the most. Then, kind of going through these different Pathways to get you there.
I would also recommend taking your skillsets of speaking outside of Toastmasters. There are many contests that you can join. Join them and push yourself! There are other opportunities for speaking, the more you get out there and you practice the skill sets the better you’re going to get.
Finally, give yourself a pat on the back. It’s a journey, you’re going to be your own worst critic. I understand it because I am my own worst critic. Give yourself a break, join Toastmasters, go show up that accountability. Something that my club does that I love and I wish more clubs did is they recorded everybody who is giving a talk.
Then you can go back and look at your recording and determine what you like and what you don’t like. When somebody gives you the feedback you can go look at it and be like, that person’s spot on or worse you could go look at yourself and be like oh man I’m so cringy I need to get better.
You can also start seeing yourself improve and be like okay I can get better. If you have that mentality, if you give yourself a pat on the back, it’s going to work for you.