Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Moving on beyond Toastmasters

Recently I concluded there no longer was a good reason for me to stay in Toastmasters International. It has been a useful experience. On July 30th James Feudo posted a Toastmasters Tips Roundup on his Overnight Sensation blog. I agree with James that:

“You can become a better speaker by taking an active role in the right Toastmasters club.”

In 2008 Olivia Mitchell discussed How to Get the Most out of Toastmasters, and last year Kevin Kane described How to Make Sure that Your Toastmasters Experience Doesn’t Suck.

Last Wednesday I spoke to to  25 members of the Ada County Advanced Master Gardeners class. I gave them a 45-minute Brief Introduction to Public Speaking.

Back in September 2007 I walked down the hill past the Boise Depot to my first meeting of (The) Capitol Club Toastmasters. After the second meeting as a guest I joined. I served as Vice President Education for two years in a row, gave 35 speeches from manuals, and received my Competent Communicator, Advanced Communicator Bronze, and Advanced Communicator Silver awards. Also I gave four more educational speeches from the Better Speaker series, spoke to two youth leadership programs, and gave a club contest speech. 

At the 2008 District 15 Spring Conference I spoke in an educational session (and gave a similar speech in 2010 at a Division TLI). I wrote and co-authored a pair of articles for the District 15 Newsletter, the Pulsebeat: Rocket Science for Speech Topics and Fear of Public Speaking Affects 1 in 5 Americans. Currently the Pulsebeat is in limbo, and no longer even shows up on the menu at the district web site. Fortunately both articles also are posted on this blog, here and here

The fear of public speaking article about the NCS and NCS-R in the Pulsebeat was an excerpt from a longer manuscript about recent surveys on social fears submitted to Toastmaster magazine, but rejected. The other Canadian and Swedish surveys about fears were mentioned later in my blog. Another shorter manuscript about Timing Tiles also was rejected. 

By July I’d noticed that Capitol Club’s Wednesday lunch format didn’t really fit into my life anymore. I decided to try going to a club that met in the evening.

On further reflection I realized there’s no good reason to stay. For me the costs exceed the benefits. I would need another five speeches for the Advanced Communicator Gold Award. That award also calls for mentoring someone through their first three speeches, which I’d enjoy. But, it also calls for conducting a Success/Communication/, Success/Leadership, or Youth Leadership module which I would not enjoy right now. Continuing in Toastmasters feels like this cartoon.

What I really enjoy is finding information and sharing it. This blog lets me do that far more effectively than attending meetings of a Toastmasters club. Typically a weekly club meeting is attended by about twenty members. Right now this blog averages about 100 hits per day, or 700 per week, - so it provides information to 35 times as many people. (The latest comment on it came from Sydney, Australia).

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