Are you an awkward communicator? Don’t worry, there’s a fix for that. As a member of Concordia Toastmasters, I am here to tell you that they have been helping people improve their communication skills for over 15 years at Concordia University.
So what is Toastmasters?
Toastmasters is a worldwide organization with more than 292,000 members in 122 countries and can be described as the ‘university’ of public speaking and leadership.
Nervousness, increased heart rate, mind going blank, and even sweaty palms. If you have ever spoken in front of a large audience chances are that you’ve experienced these bodily symptoms. Ever look around during a class presentation and realize that everybody’s either falling asleep or playing with their iPhones? Yes, this is an organization that can actually transform you into the amazing Chuck Norris of public speaking that you were always meant to be.
A master communicator by the name of Dale Carnegie (a Toastmaster himself) once said, “Fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind.” Then, why is it that it is so commonly professed that for many people the fear of public speaking is greater than the fear of death? Aside from dying of embarrassment, nothing fatal has ever happened to someone giving a speech.
At any given meeting, people will try their hand at giving toasts, telling a joke, giving a speech, or even critiquing a speech, all in front of an audience. There are many facets of communication that can be honed and individuals who become members of Toastmasters are given manuals with projects to be completed that will guide a person on their way to becoming rock star communicators.
Effective communication skills can help a person in all areas of life. Regardless of which path you follow, your success can be largely attributed to your ability to communicate effectively. For instance, great communication skills is what will help you ace that highly coveted job interview. In addition, it can even improve your love life. The fear of rejection or being judged, nervousness, not knowing what to say, are similar challenges faced, whether you are addressing an audience, potential employer, or a hottie with a body.
Jumping out of a plane is not the only way to satisfy a craving for adrenaline. Try being called up at random to make an impromptu speech in front of a room full of people who will judge you on things like grammar, body movements, and tone of voice. Unless you have Superman-worthy nerves of steel, you will come out of it feeling like you just won at a round of Russian Roulette.
Graduate students at Concordia can attend five Concordia Toastmasters meetings as a workshop offered through GradProSkills. However, being a student is not a requirement to join as Concordia Toastmasters is open to the general public but students do get a sweet discount on membership.
Concordia Toastmasters meets every Monday from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. in the Hall building in room H-400. More information can be found at concordia.toastmastersclubs.org