In this modern world of speed, instantaneous achievement and quick fixes, the idea of working at a craft, persisting with a task and perfecting a skill is sometimes lost. But not at Toastmasters and that is why I keep coming. It would have been quite easy to take away from the 6 week Speechcraft course a tool kit of public speaking skills, perhaps enough to get you through a work presentation or public speaking assignment. So why make the commitment to attend regular Toastmaster meetings?
I am sure many members attend for the camaraderie as well as the entertainment of listening to others, but you can get both of those things at many other places; like a work or family BBQ. One of the reasons why I think members keep coming, in many cases for years and the reason why I continue to attend, is because I want to feel like I am heading towards “mastering” the skills of public speaking. Mastering anything takes time, practice and effort. I have seen speakers who I thought were brilliant at my first Toastmaster meeting, become even more accomplished when delivering other speeches or club assignments. When first listening to these accomplished speakers, I assumed they had nothing more to learn, but all members continually demonstrate that persisting at the skills of a craft is worthwhile and effort produces improved results.
There is another reason why I want to continue with Toastmasters. Every meeting you learn so much. The prepared speeches are usually on topics I know very little or nothing about. That is until they are complete. It is inevitable that the meeting of a group of people from such a wide background of careers, nationalities and family circumstances would produce a plethora of interesting topics to listen to, and it does.
Finally, you learn much by watching other people speak. We are a collaborative species, and in the positive and nurturing environment of Toastmasters the opportunity to pick up small nuances of speech craft and subtleties of presentation style surround us.
That’s why I hope to remain a Toastmaster for many years.