Did you know that the # 1 fear in America is of Public Speaking? People would rather die than face a crowded room of people!
Today, while this is a major fear, the need to speak in public has never been greater. We no longer live in self-contained communities. Like it or not, we find ourselves communicating verbally and in writing on the Internet, on Facebook, Linked In, at the office, in grass-root and public community forums. The list goes on in regards to our need to be able to communicate effectively and in public.
Toastmasters International (TI) is a non-profit organization that was founded to help people improve their speaking and leadership skills. Today, Toastmasters has over 280,000 members; over 13,500 clubs; and is located in 116 countries. Members range, in age from 18 (must be 18 to join) to over 90.
Does the organization work? I think the numbers speak for themselves. Over 280,000 people have committed to spending time practicing and improving upon their own speaking and leadership skills. Short of joining a Toastmasters club, it’s hard to understand a personal commitment to belong to a speaking organization. I’ve heard people say “that’s an organization for people who can’t speak”. I don’t think that’s quite true. I think the key here is improvement, and even the best want to improve.
On the other side of that fear-of-speaking line, there are some people who live for the audience and attention. These may include motivational speakers, entertainers, media announcers, and corporate celebrity executive officers.
“Speak”, a documentary film by Paul Galichia and Brian Weidling, follows six contestants who are competing in the Toastmasters organization for the World Championship title. It’s a heartwarming story of people who have moved into that line of gifted speakers and their challenge to tell their story and be identified as best speaker.
There’s only one Champion Speaker awarded per year out of that 280,000 number, so competition is tough. People compete at their local club level(s), and the winners keep moving up, ultimately reaching the international ranks.
On March 13, District 65 of the Toastmasters organization has coordinated with the Little Theater to show this movie at 6:30 PM. After, there will be a short interview period and you’ll be able to ask questions of Toastmasters at various levels in their own careers. One is a relatively new member honing her speaking skills for a new career opportunity. Another is a gifted speaker who has competed locally and continues to enjoy her speaking gift as an enrichment component of her life. A third is an example of the people in this film, people who are competing at the International Level to become a world champion speaker.
For those who are interested in learning more about effective communication and leadership skills, I encourage you to view the movie at the Little Theater on March 13. For $10, you’ll get an insider’s view to the world of public speaking!
If you are interested in learning more about Toastmasters, it’s a great way to experience public speaking in an entirely new light. You may also visit their web site to learn more or find a club near where you live. The web site is located at: http://www.toastmasters.org/