Encouraging and Educating through Evaluations

As the Evaluator, you are one of the most important people in the meeting. In the words of Toastmasters International, “Evaluation is the heart of the Toastmasters educational program”. But don’t let that scare you away! With a little bit of preparation and practice, you can be ready and raring to go.



Why are the Evaluators so important? Well, we are all at Toastmasters to improve, in one way or another. For those of us that want to improve our public speaking skills, the most beneficial part of Toastmasters is the feedback we get in a kind, positive, and safe environment. As the Evaluator, you get to encourage the Speaker by telling them exactly what they did well and educate them on how they can improve. Have you ever listened to someone speak and thought “wow that was a great line, I wish they had paused afterwards so I could get the full effect of it”? In this role, you get to do that!

Introducing the Speaker

When you get assigned to be an Evaluator, there will also be a Speaker assigned. This is the person that you will get to evaluate. Prior to the meeting, you should receive an introduction from the Speaker and possibly an Evaluation form. If they do not provide a form, you can use this generic one. If you do not receive an introduction, you can write up a quick one yourself (see below). You will also need to know the Speaker’s expected time range. Talk to the Toastmaster if you need help getting any of this information.

During the meeting, right before the Speaker’s speech, the Toastmaster will invite you to introduce them. This is where you will either read the given introduction or the one you created.

Here is an example of an introduction that a Speaker might provide: “John Smith is working on Level 1 in his Path Visionary Communication. This current project is to research and present on a topic new to him. The speech will be 5 to 7 minutes. John’s favorite food is mashed potatoes. He decided it might be fun to learn about the journey potatoes go through before they make it to his plate. Please welcome John Smith for his speech, From Potatoes To Puree.”

Alternatively, here is an example of an introduction you might make up if you didn’t get one from the Speaker: “John will be giving a speech that is 5 to 7 minutes. Please welcome John Smith.” (In both these cases, you will want to clap/jazz hands/whatever it is your club does to celebrate someone.)

Now, what did those two introductions have in common?

  1. They both gave the time the speech is expected to be. This is very important for the Timer so they can do their role properly.
  2. They both handed off the “stage” (either physical or virtual/theoretical) to the Speaker. From here, the Speaker can roll right into their speech without having to introduce themselves.

Listening to the speech

Now that was a lot of lead-up to the speech, but you are finally getting to the good part. This is where the bulk of your work comes in. You have to really pay attention to the Speaker and their speech and keep notes of anything that you might want to say in your evaluation later.

Here is a list of 8 speech criteria to try focusing on (taken straight from the Evaluation form itself):

  • Clarity (Spoken language is clear and is easily understood)
  • Vocal Variety (Uses tone, speed, and volume as tools)
  • Eye Contact (Effectively uses eye contact to engage audience)
  • Gestures (Uses physical gestures effectively)
  • Audience Awareness (Demonstrates awareness of audience engagement and needs)
  • Comfort Level (Appears comfortable with the audience)
  • Interest (Engages audience with interesting, well-constructed content)
  • Well Supported (Speech content is well-supported and sources are available if requested)

If you notice something else that doesn’t fall into one of these categories, that’s fine too! Whatever you notice will be useful. Be sure to keep track of both what is done well and what could be improved on.

While the Speaker talks, scribble your notes down. You want to keep track of your thoughts but also pay attention to the speech, don’t jump forward to writing or planning your evaluation right away or you might miss something important in the speech.

Preparing your evaluation

After the Speaker has finished, the Toastmaster will ask for everyone to send them a little note about how they did. You do not have to send any notes now, since you will be giving them all your feedback later. Now is the time for you to prepare for the evaluation you will give.

Depending on how much preparation you need to do, this time involves a little bit of multi-tasking. Between now and the time you will be giving your evaluation, there might be another speech and also the Table Topics session. You can use this time to organize your notes and mentally prepare for what you will need to say. But don’t be so deep into your preparation that you don’t notice the Table Topics Master calling on you! You still need to present in the meeting as well.

Here are some ideas for how to prepare and structure your speech evaluation.

The Feedback Sandwich

The most basic (and very useful!) approach is the Feedback Sandwich. Basically, this means you say a few positive things, followed by a critique or area for improvement, and wrap it up with another positive note. This helps the Speaker to feel proud of the things they did well since the “negative” thing is buffered a bit.

Heard, Felt, Saw

An alternative approach (if you can’t decide what areas to focus on) is to choose these three areas: something you heard, something you felt, and something you saw. The benefit of this method is that it also helps you phrase your feedback in a less confrontational manner. For example “I heard your voice quaver in the beginning of the speech” sounds friendlier than “your voice quavered at the start”. Using “I heard”, “I felt”, and “I saw” makes it clear that these are your personal observations, not direct criticisms. You can also combine this with the feedback sandwich method by making two of these statements positive and one negative.

Constructive Criticism

An important part of giving the evaluation is giving the Speaker something concrete to improve upon. Instead of saying “you should have included more gestures”, you can point out a specific example: “when you were listing off the counties that grow the most potatoes, you could have raised your hand to count off 1, 2, and 3” (and model the gesture you would have liked them to use). The more examples you can give, the better, as this will give the Speaker specific areas to work on.

Specific Praise

Examples are also important when it comes to the positive praise that you are giving. A lot of speakers tend to “get in the zone” when they are giving their speech and might not remember the details of how it went. If you tell the Speaker they had good vocal variety, they might not know exactly what you mean or in which portion of the speech they did well. A better statement would be: “Your vocal variety was great throughout the speech. I especially enjoyed how you paused after each joke, which really helped the audience have time to appreciate the humor.” Phrasing your praise in this way, with a specific example, will help them to both remember when they did that and also feel proud about how they did.

Delivery over Content

You might have already noticed, but in the list of 8 criteria to evaluate on above, the first 6 were all focused on the delivery of the speech and only the last 2 covered the content of the speech. This is a good rule of thumb to follow in your evaluation as well. Giving feedback on the Speaker’s delivery is more useful because it is something they can apply to any future speech. Feedback about the content is relevant only to the current speech and isn’t as useful unless they plan on giving the same speech again later. Saying “I enjoyed how you started with a joke, which really caught the audience’s attention” is more helpful than saying “that joke at the beginning was really funny”. The delivery and placement of the joke is more important than the joke itself. This doesn’t mean you can’t mention the speech content at all, if you think the content was fantastic, by all means say that! Just try to focus on things that would be relevant for future speeches as well.

Giving your evaluation

Now that you have gone through your notes and prepared what to say, it’s time to tell the Speaker what you thought. The General Evaluator will call on you to give your evaluation, and this is your time to shine.

  • Don’t forget to keep an eye on the Timer. You have 2 – 3 minutes to give the evaluation.
  • Start the evaluation by thanking the Speaker for their speech.
  • Go through your list of notes that you prepared. You only need a handful of things to talk about. If you give an example for each one, you should be able to make your time.
  • Make sure your criticism is constructive and relevant.
  • Focus more on the delivery and less on the speech content.
  • Try to end on a happy note, either by pointing out another great thing or by thanking the Speaker again.
  • If you are nervous, remember: this evaluation isn’t about you. This is all about giving the Speaker an opportunity to learn and grow. Any feedback you have will be useful to them.

After the meeting is over, send your notes to the Speaker. If you filled out an Evaluation form, great! If not, you can send them whatever notes you had written down.

Wow. We’ve made it to the end, and this sure seems like a lot. However, a lot of this is just ideas and suggestions for how to give your evaluation. The main concept is simple: tell them what they did well and what they should work on. Keep in mind that the whole point of the evaluation is to encourage and educate the Speaker. Encourage them by using praise and educate them by providing criticism. You can surely do both of those things. Good luck!




What is Grammar, anyway?

As a Grammarian, your job is to monitor the language and grammar usage throughout the meeting. You also get the fun job of bringing the Word of the Day!



Grammar is defined as “the study of the classes of words, their inflections, and their functions and relations in the sentence”, “a system of rules that defines the grammatical structure of a language”, and “speech or writing evaluated according to its conformity to grammatical rules”. In simpler words, grammar is “English done good”.

Prior to the meeting, you will need to find a Word of the Day. It can be related to the theme if you wish, but that are not necessary. Along with the word, bring the pronunciation, definition, and an example of using it in a sentence.

At the start of the meeting, the Toastmaster will call on you to describe your role. You can give a brief summary of what you will be listening for (grammatical mistakes and exceptional uses of language) and then announce your Word of the Day. Share the information about the word as well, and then post it somewhere where people can see. During virtual meetings, post it in the chat. In person, hang up a piece of paper somewhere easily visible, such as on the podium.

Every time someone speaks during the meeting, listen carefully for any incomplete sentences, mispronunciations, grammatical mistakes, etc. Don’t worry if you aren’t entirely comfortable with grammar, you don’t have to be overly stuffy. We aren’t linguistics professors!

Your true goal here is to catch things that detract from the speaker’s message, and also applaud the things that added to it. Did the speaker say “you and I” where they should have said “you and me”? You can take a note of that if it stood out to you, or ignore it if it wasn’t distracting to the overall message. Or maybe the speaker kept switching back and forth between past and present tense, which was confusing to follow.

In addition to the grammar and sentence structure, pay attention to the words used. Does the speaker use “very” too often? Could they have substituted “extremely” or “enthusiastically” instead?

Don’t forget to celebrate exceptional use of language! Did the speaker bring their story to life with their description of the “glittering waters”, or evoke any emotion with the “dreary droll day”? Take notes of anything you found especially interesting.

During the Table Topics section, the speakers need to use the Word of the Day you brought to qualify for the Best Table Topics award. Be sure to listen for usage of that word! The Table Topics Master will ask for a Grammarian report from you, where you say who remembered to use the word and who didn’t.

Near the end of the meeting, the General Evaluator will call upon you to give your final report. List off each member and if you caught anything they might be able to improve upon or anything you might want to celebrate. In our club, we have a special award for the Grammarian to present to someone: the WIST award (Wish I Said That). If anyone said something that struck you as an especially interesting turn of phrase, present them with this (imaginary) award now.

Now you know how to fulfill the Grammarian role! If you need practice, go re-read this post and find the grammatical errors I snuck in. How many did you find? Did I have any interesting use of language?




Invocation & Pledge AKA Starting the Meeting

Woohoo! You signed up to start the meeting. While this is a small role, it is pretty important. The Invocation and Pledge section of the meeting has two purposes.



First, it helps keep meetings consistent. If we start the same way every time, it helps get us into the groove and know what to expect. Second, having all attendees say the Pledge of Allegiance means that everyone gets an opportunity to speak. If a guest is too nervous to participate in Table Topics later in the meeting, we can celebrate them for having participating in this small tradition instead.

As the “Pledge Master”, your main job is to lead the attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance. If you forgot what your role was and remember 5 minutes before the meeting, have no fear! You can adequately fill this role with no preparation whatsoever. However if you are interested in preparing something extra, you can bring either an invocation or an inspirational thought.

An invocation is religious or spiritual in nature. This can be whatever you want, but it is nice to keep it short and sweet. The other option is an inspirational or motivational thought. Quotes from authors work well for this. Another idea is to try to match the theme of the meeting here.

The order is as follows: invocation, pledge, inspiration. Invocation always comes first and Inspiration last. You can remember this by referring to the saying “God before country.”

As the person giving the Pledge, it is your job to start the meeting. Be sure to be prompt and start right on time! Then give your chosen combination of invocation, pledge, and/or inspiration. Make sure to invite all attendees to do the pledge with you.

After you are done, introduce the Toastmaster of the meeting and turn it over to them. Easy peasy!




Meeting Role Tutorials

If you signed up for a meeting role and want to double check how to do it, you’ve come to the right place! As Toastmasters, we have lots of different roles to fulfill in each meeting. Toastmasters International has a great resource explaining each role: A Toastmaster Wears Many Hats. Below is a list of each meeting role and resources specific to that role. Hope this helps!



Toastmaster

Invocation/Pledge

Timer

Ah Counter

Grammarian

General Evaluator

Joke Master coming soon

Educational Speaker coming soon

Table Topics

Speaker

Evaluator

Table Topics Speaker




Your Toastmaster Debut

Copied from Medium with permission from the author (myself), and altered to fit a virtual meeting format.

Congratulations! You signed up to be Toastmaster for your very first time! Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it looks. With just a little preparation and a whole lot of fun, your Toastmaster debut can go smoothly. (If this isn’t your first time, these tips may still help).



Pick a Theme

First step is to pick a theme. You can choose whatever you want, as long as it’s something you can spend a little bit of time talking about. Anything goes! If you need help choosing, try to pull inspiration from something in your life. Maybe it’s summertime and you spent every weekend at the lake. Your topic can be “Fun in the Sun”. Maybe you are looking forward to the holidays and family events. Your topic can be “Family Reunions”. Whatever strikes your fancy. If you are still at a loss, choose a random one off this list. Choosing is the hardest part, once you have the theme, everything will fall into place!

Creating an Agenda

After choosing a theme, let’s make an agenda. This will help you make sure you have enough people to fill all the roles and give you time to find extra people if you need them. Some clubs have the VPE create the agenda, but here at Liberty Lakers, we believe everyone could use the practice. Here is a sample agenda you can follow.

To make a meeting successful, there are a few roles that are necessary. First you need at least one speaker. It’s not Toastmasters without the speeches! You will also need an evaluator for each speaker signed up. Next you will need a Table Topics Master, to run everyone’s favorite part of the meeting, impromptu speaking! While that role is all about being on the spot, it’s easiest on the Table Topics Master if they have time to prepare, so make sure this role is filled sooner rather than later. The next “large” role is the General Evaluator. Luckily this role doesn’t need much preparation and is easier to fill last minute.

The next few roles are lighter on the speaking. Ah Counter and Grammarian roles can be filled by two different people or one person can take both, whichever works best for the members. The Timer role is pretty easy, if you are lacking a Timer, try encouraging one of the newer members to jump on in.

The above are all the “required” roles to help a meeting run smoothly. The other roles (Invocation/Pledge, Joke Master and Educational Speaker) are all “nice-to-haves”, but don’t stress if they are not filled. Sometimes a member who has one of the roles above will take one of these extras too.

If you have all the roles filled, great! If not, now is the time to send out a blast email telling the club what roles are missing and asking people to fill them. Hopefully people respond quickly so you don’t have to pester anyone. You can ask one of the officers to pester people if you are not comfortable doing so.

Once you have all the roles filled, create an agenda with everyone’s names. Make sure your theme is on the agenda! Other roles find it useful to play off the theme you have chosen, for instance the Table Topics Master can base their questions around your theme as well. You can email this out to the club early, and you will want to print out enough copies for everyone to have one.

Prepare your Theme

Agenda done! Now let’s go back to the theme you picked. There are a handful of times in the meeting where you will have time to share about your theme: comments, facts, short stories. If your theme is “Fun in the Sun”, some of your comments can be “how vitamin D is good for you”, “popular summer pastimes”, and “why summer is the best”. You can expand on each of these with studies, personal stories, tips and tricks, etc.

You can think of your theme as a sort of mini speech, with an introduction, bullet points and a conclusion. At the beginning of the meeting, you will introduce your theme. Give a bit of background as to why you chose the theme or the definition or history of the term. This will help set the stage for the rest of the meeting and get everyone interested in what else you will be sharing.

There are multiple places in the agenda you can use for the bullet points of your theme: before the first speech, between speeches, before table topics, after table topics. Any and/or all of the above work! You don’t need to fill a lot of time, even just a few thoughts or sentences each time is enough. This will give the next person up time for some final preparations and allow for everyone to finish writing notes or voting.

You can organize these bullet points in any way you like. If you have different types of points (stories vs facts) you can separate by type, tell all the facts first, then follow up with stories. Or you can organize by sub-topic within your theme. Don’t be afraid to engage the audience either! You can ask questions and have others give their input.

Near the end of the meeting, you will have a few moments to conclude your theme. You can sum up all the facts you’ve mentioned or add an anecdote to tie in some of the comments or ask the audience for their answers to any questions you asked or their thoughts on the theme. Conclude in any way you choose.

Run the Meeting!

Now that you’ve picked a theme, made an agenda and planned what to say, the last step is to run the meeting. You got this! Take that handy agenda you made. Having a copy of this agenda will help you keep the meeting on track and remember who to call up next.

First, if there is someone signed up for Invocation/Pledge, they get to start the meeting. If there isn’t, you call the meeting to order yourself and begin with the Pledge of Allegiance. Next, welcome the guests and give your introduction of your theme. After that, introduce the roles and the people who are filling them. Ask each person to explain their role, and clap (or jazz hands, as we are doing virtually) for them when they are done.

Next step is speeches, beginning with the short ones. If there is a Joke Master and an Educational Speaker signed up, this is the time to call on them. Since we are currently meeting virtually, calling their name is all you need to do here. After each person is done with their jokes/speech/etc, thank them before moving on.

Once the short speeches are done, it is time for the longer ones (You can throw in a themed bullet point here if you wish). First, say who is speaking, then introduce their evaluator and ask them to say something about the speech. When the evaluator is done, introduce the speaker, either by a written introduction if they gave you one, or with a simple “Please welcome X”. Clap (jazz hands) as they get prepared to begin. In fact, that goes for the whole meeting. Clap (jazz hands) for everyone!

Now the speaker is giving their speech, and you can relax for 5–7 minutes. Whew. When the speaker is done, be sure to clap (jazz hands) again. Thank them for their wonderful/lovely/insightful speech. Ask the audience to write comments for the speaker and give them a few moments to do so. This is a good time to talk about your theme again.

If there are two speakers this evening, repeat this section: (introduce evaluator, introduce speaker, clap, listen to speech, clap, ask for comments). At the end of all the speeches, ask the Timer for a Timer’s Report. If there was more than one speaker and they all qualified in time, then you need to call for a Best Speaker vote. Have your Zoom Master run the poll if they can, or have all the votes sent to yourself if not.

This is another good time to talk about your theme. The next person you are calling up is the Table Topics Master and you want to make sure they have had time to write comments for the speakers and vote before you call on them.

Invite up the Table Topics Master (clap, jazz hands) and relax, enjoy the questions. At the end of Table Topics, the Table Topics Master is supposed to ask for Timer’s Report, Grammarian’s Report on Word of the Day, and ask people to vote. If they forget to do that before inviting you back up, take a quick second to do so. This is also your last opportunity to share more theme information before your conclusion.

The last person you will be inviting up to the lectern is the General Evaluator. You’re in the home stretch! The General Evaluator will call for the Best Evaluator vote. After that, take a few moments to count up all the votes for best speaker, best table topics, and best evaluator if you need to.

When the General Evaluator calls you back up, it is time to end the meeting. Give the conclusion of your theme, followed by presenting the awards. Thank everyone for coming, turn the meeting over to the President, and you’re done! Wasn’t that bad, right? I knew you could do it!




How to.. uh.. be an.. um.. Ah Counter

Copied from Medium with permission from the author (myself), and altered to fit a virtual meeting format.

That title is hard to read, right? When people use those same filler words (“um”, “uh”, etc) in a speech, it can be distracting and hard to understand their content. This is why the role of Ah Counter in Toastmasters is so important.



Have you signed up to be an Ah Counter without knowing exactly what you will be doing? Have you filled that role before, but would like to brush up on your skills? This crash course is for you!

The main function of the Ah Counter is to keep track of the filler words and sounds people use while they speak. The most common of these are: ah/uh, um, er, like, okay, so, but, and well. Speakers tend to use these while they are thinking of what to say next or while they are nervous. This causes a problem because these filler words can be very distracting to the audience. If someone is extremely focused and enjoying your speech, but you throw in a “um so” while transitioning thoughts, this can throw off the listener and they won’t be able to appreciate what you said next. Usually, the speaker isn’t even aware they are using those words! Helping our fellow Toastmasters be aware of their filler words is the first step in them being able to speak without them.

As the Ah Counter, you will either use a form similar to the one below or take notes on your own paper.

Ah Counter Worksheet Tally

Write down everyone’s names, then try to pay attention to the words they are using when they speak. Every time you notice a filler word or sound being used, mark it on the worksheet beside their name. This process takes some time to get used to. Sometimes the Ah Counter will be so engrossed in the speech, they forget to keep track! Don’t worry if that happens, just try your best to catch all that you can.

You will also have to pay attention to the context in which the filler word is being used. “Ah” and “Um” are essentially always unnecessary. Other words like “and”, “but”, “so”, and “well” can be used without being distracting, as long as they are not used in excess. Sometimes they are needed, sometimes they are not, it depends on the sentence. Whether or not each usage will count as a filler word is up to you. Was it distracting? If they removed that one word, would the sentence still make sense? Did they start the sentence with that word? If you answer yes to any of those questions, it’s probably a filler word. If they are using the word to transition between thoughts, it might not be a filler.

Besides filler words, the ah counter also checks for other distracting speech patterns, such as false starts and word repetition. A false start is when the speaker starts one sentence or thought, and then changes direction without finishing what they were saying. An example of a false start is “Knowing that.. With that in mind”. Thoughts that are incomplete are usually false starts. Word repetition is usually due to nervousness or forgetting what to say next. Examples are “that that”, “I I”, etc.

You want to pay attention and keep track during the whole meeting, for every person that speaks. If you have a speaking role (table topics or educational speaker, for example), someone else might mark your filler words while you are speaking. It’s very hard to keep track of these for yourself!

Speaking of speaking roles (does that count as word repetition?), the Ah Counter has a few times in the meeting they have to present. It wouldn’t be Toastmasters without making everyone have a speaking opportunity!

The first time is at the beginning of the meeting. The Toastmaster will call upon you, the Ah Counter, to explain what you will be doing. All you have to do is say a sentence or two, something like “I will be keeping track of the filler words used by all speakers during the meeting” (followed by a few examples of filler words) is enough.

Near the end of the meeting, the General Evaluator will call upon you to give your final report. This is when you will tell everyone how they did. Start by saying “Thank you, Mister/Madame General Evaluator”. Go through your list of names, and tell each person their count for each filler word. If anyone has 5 or more of a certain word, those are called Bingo’s, and you don’t say the actual count. For example if Sally had seven um’s, you would say, “Sally, you had a bingo of um’s, three ah’s, and one but”. Don’t forget to look at your camera while giving your report. When you are done, you can say something like “Back to you, Mister/Madame General Evaluator” or you can just stop talking and they will get the hint.

After giving your report, you are done with your role. Great job! This is a simple role to fill, but it makes all the difference for the speakers. Once they learn about the filler words they use, they are better able to catch themselves doing so and clean up their speech. Paying attention for those filler words can be hard at first, but once you get used to it, you might start noticing them everywhere, in the news or at work. Some people, after filling the Ah Counter role, have said they can’t help but keep track of everyone’s filler words. It really reprograms your brain to pay attention!




My Why – Kseinya

By Kseinya Reyes

I originally joined to get more comfortable speaking up in meetings at work, but it’s become so much more than that. Toastmasters gave me the confidence to not only speak in these roles, but also to lead the meetings comfortably. I even got promoted! Toastmasters of course gets full credit. There have been surprising benefits that have bled over into my personal life as well, I’ve gone back to school for my masters degree and have used the skills learned in Toastmasters for multiple classes. On a more silly note, after a year of Toastmasters I had gained the confidence to compete in a coding competition. My second time competing, I won! Toastmasters has been invaluable to me. While I can’t say I’m a professional speaker by any means, I’m miles better than the red-faced stuttering ball of nerves I used to be.




My Why – Richard

By Richard Menzies

I am part of Toastmasters for the following reasons:

  1. It helps me with speaking to people/groups.
  2. I learn a lot from my fellow Toastmasters.
  3. It keeps me from being a hermit.



My Why – Jacque

By Jacque Leonard, DTM

I joined Liberty Lakers Toastmasters Club #399 in April 2005. Initially, I joined because I was in a sales organization trying to coach my sales team on how to do the business. As I got to know them, it was not uncommon for several of them to come to me and say, “Jacque, when I first met you, you intimidated me.” I would then ask them what I was doing or saying that intimidated them. Their answer was something like, “I don’t know exactly, but I’m glad that you don’t intimidate me anymore.”

When I mentioned these strange conversations to my mentor, he suggested that I join Toastmasters. Soon after I joined, I was assigned a mentor. After working with me for a few months, she told me that there were two things she saw that could be off-putting to some. One was a posture that I frequently demonstrated. The other vocabulary choices I frequently used. She helped me identify times that she observed these behaviors and begin to consciously change them. I could have fixed the problem and left; however, I discovered the world of speech competitions and became interested in competing.

When I began working as a contract trainer, honing my skills, especially in the need to incorporate humor into my presentations, became more crucial to my success. My continued participation in Toastmasters became a steppingstone to my success as a trainer.




My Why – Jennifer

By Jennifer Ferrero, DTM

My first Toastmasters speech was entitled, “I did it my way,” and was based upon the famous Frank Sinatra song.

Did you know that Sinatra never liked that song, yet it was one of his most popular?



For me, I joined Toastmasters because I knew that I wanted to become a stronger speaker. I had done quite a bit of training while owning my own businesses. But I always felt that I came off as nervous (because I was), insecure (because I was), too serious and focused on reading a speech off of paper (which I was doing)!

I knew I could improve. Was it life or death that I became a better speaker? No, but for me, I knew that I could do better.

What I didn’t know is how many opportunities would open up for me when I became a Toastmaster!

The choice

I made a choice almost immediately that I wanted to earn Distinguished Toastmaster, a designation that would take me through over 70 speeches, a leadership project, a club coaching role, a district manager role, and so much more.

It took a lot of work – but I earned Distinguished Toastmaster in just three years!

Now, because of this, I have had a chance to present at conferences and with my local chambers of commerce; I have built confidence in my training ability, and I am leading a training for business owners in my job – and having a wonderful time doing it. I have picked up my own training style – and no more nerves. Plus, my speeches are concise, funny, and organized.

Becoming a Toastmaster has been one of the most rewarding things that I have done in my career.

Won’t you give it a try this week?