I’ve been selling for 42 years and had NEVER participated in Toastmasters until I came to work for Corus360. If you don’t know, Toastmasters is an organization that seeks to improve people’s communication skills by public speaking in a relaxed, friendly environment. People give speeches, the speakers get input on what they did well and suggestions for improvement, and everyone has a good time.
There are two primary benefits I’ve received from participation in Toastmasters over the last four years. One is purely selfish – it’s that I’ve gotten to know people in the Corus360 family that I otherwise wouldn’t have, and that makes it much easier to ask for help from them. The second is that it’s helped me refine the way that I speak in front of groups. Following the simple guide that Toastmasters provides for different kinds of speeches has made me think more about the audience that I’m speaking to and how to structure the information I want to present. In other words, it has helped me figure out how to package my “sales pitch.” As a salesman, that’s a big deal.
Beyond those things, Toastmasters has made me realize that each of us tells stories every day. Whether it is about our experiences at school or work or the food we had for dinner last night, we’re constantly talking to someone about something. Toastmasters helps us learn to tell our stories to people that we might not otherwise share them with and how to better tell them to those that we would anyways. It helps us learn how to overcome the obstacles that often hinder us from telling our stories and connecting with people, be they old friends or crowds of strangers.
If your company endorses Toastmasters or something like it, I encourage you to go to a meeting and see what it’s about. If not, maybe be the person who takes initiative and set up a program yourself. We can’t improve at anything without practice, and speaking is no exception. The results are worth it whether you’re a sales person like me or someone who just wants to feel more confident in their ability to communicate.