Toastmasters can aid your public-speaking skills

“Healthy Living” by Carl Hendrickson

Carl Hendrickson

Do you have or do you know someone who has glossophobia — the fear of public speaking?
This is the No. 1 fear often expressed by individuals — a fear even greater than the fear of death.
Career success often depends upon how well one is able to express oneself. But many are extremely uncomfortable when speaking in front of others.
Years ago, I noticed that successful individuals, whether involved in the workplace, on a church committee or serving a community or civic organization, shared two common traits.
They had well-developed presentation skills and they were able to inspire others to follow them. Individuals who are able to lead others are those with the greatest communication skills.
They are able to communicate a vision for the company or the organization and motivate others to follow.
As a young attorney many years ago, I found an organization that assisted me in developing my communication skills, helped me to develop leadership traits and assisted me in gaining more confidence.
All this was extremely helpful as an attorney, and also when I ran for public office and served in the Missouri General Assembly.
Even today, I am asked to speak to groups or serve as a master of ceremonies.
The experience and skills I gained through Toastmasters have been invaluable to me.
Toastmasters has been around for almost 100 years and offers a proven and enjoyable way to practice and hone communication and leadership skills.
From one club started in 1924 at the YMCA in Santa Ana, Calif., the organization has grown to international scope with almost 16,000 clubs in 142 countries.
The Toastmasters program is not a course as conventionally viewed, but it does offer a practical laboratory that supplements formal education. In this laboratory setting, an individual joins in self-improvement efforts with other conscientious people from a wide variety of professions and backgrounds.
In my more than three decades in the South County Toastmasters, I have seen individuals gain self-confidence, increase their ability to organize and present thoughts and ideas, critically analyze the words of others and practice group management and administration.
If you or someone you know can benefit from this program, the South County Toastmasters will host an open house and guest night from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, at the MetLife Building, 13045 Tesson Ferry Road. I plan on attending.
For additional information about the South County Toastmasters organization, visit www.southcountytoastmasters.org.
Visitors are always welcome to attend for free.
If you or a friend cannot attend on April 19, feel free to visit from 7 to 9 p.m. any Wednesday at the MetLife Building.

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