Founded in 1924 by Ralph C. Smedley, Toastmasters is an international organization devoted to aiding the professional growth of its members public speaking, leadership, and communication. Since its inception, Toastmasters has provided valuable education programs to over four million professionals. Prospective employers highly value these skills, but they don’t come easy for everyone. As a non-profit education community, Toastmasters can provide the coaching and mentorship you need to excel in your career. Below, we’ll examine some of the benefits of using Toastmasters’ education services:
1. Improve Your Public Speaking Skills
Toastmasters International has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for public speaking. In 2018, Toastmasters New Zealand held speeches for an uninterrupted 127 hours. If you struggle to assert yourself in meetings or deliver presentations, there’s no better place to improve your public speaking skills. The organization uses a club format to create a safe space for its members to develop these skill sets at their own pace. Becoming comfortable with public speaking can help further your growth into leadership roles and aid you in preparing for interviews during your job search.
2. Develop Your Leadership Capabilities
People management and leadership capabilities are extremely valuable to organizations. Growing as a leader takes time and learning with seasoned managers can help drive your professional development within your field. Toastmasters provides a number of different courses and seminars that can help you understand what it means to take on a leadership role and how you can drive the development of collaborative work cultures at your company. These resources can be especially valuable for professionals in the early stages of their career who haven’t had the opportunity to manage teams in a business setting.
3. Grow Your Industry Connections Through Networking
Building a strong network of industry connections can be extremely helpful in propelling your career forward. Toastmasters International is a highly diverse organization and establishing professional relationships with other members can be beneficial in pursuing new opportunities.
Because of the format that Toastmasters uses, you’ll find that you also become more comfortable networking at events as your communication skills continue to improve. Meeting new people can sometimes be uncomfortable for many of us and building the confidence to put yourself out there can help you grow in many aspects of your career.
4. High Impact Resume Content
Most organizations know Toastmasters International. Featuring training and education programs you attended as a member may grab the hiring manager’s attention. Becoming involved in your community will also allow you to highlight conferences, seminars, and volunteer events you attended, which will showcase unique aspects of who you are as a professional beyond your work experience. Remember, companies want candidates who are qualified for the position, but they also want to hire professionals who are the right fit for their work cultures and organizational values.
5. Develop Improvisation Skills
Employers value candidates who can think quickly on their feet. Completing a communication training program with Toastmasters can help you bolster your improvisation skills and grow as a communicator within your company. It’s one thing to rehearse a speech or presentation, but it’s another to facilitate open discourse and fluid discussions in a team-based environment. Growing as a communicator in this way will allow you to have smoother conversations and creative thinking skills, which can positively impact your career.
6. Become a Distinguished Toastmaster
The Distinguished Toastmaster Award is the most prestigious honor you can achieve within the organization. This involves completing multiple education programs and providing no less than one year of service, including coaching and mentoring other professionals. This distinction can be highly attractive to prospective employers as it shows that you’re heavily involved within the business community and are willing to go above and beyond what is expected of you.
7. Improve Your Listening Skills
A productive conversation has as much to do with your listening ability as it does with your contributions to the discussion. If the other person senses that you’re only waiting for your turn to speak and aren’t interested in what they have to say, it’s unlikely they’ll be invested in your thoughts and ideas. A conversation is in many ways, an art form filled with subtle social cues and pauses that can be difficult to navigate at times. As you improve your listening abilities, you’ll find that your discussion will become more fluid and productive in both your personal and professional life. Toastmasters club format is specifically designed to facilitate growth in this area of communication.
8. Grow Your Confidence
Trusting yourself is an important aspect of your growth and development as an industry professional. Confidence in your capabilities and ideas will draw the attention of those around you, including your managers. If you want to pursue leadership opportunities within your space, you need to show others that you have the confidence to take the lead. Overcoming anxiety during public speaking can help you become more self-assured and aid you in asserting yourself in situations that are outside of your comfort zone.
9. Prepare for Interviews
Completing a program with Toastmasters International can be valuable in preparing yourself for interviews during the job search. First impressions are significant during this phase of the hiring process, and your ability to communicate effectively will be a critical factor in whether or not you receive a job offer. Your qualifications for the position are important, but hiring managers also want to feel comfortable that you can collaborate effectively with their team. By learning valuable communication skills through Toastmasters, you will likely garner more positive experiences and results during job interviews.
10. Community Support
Toastmasters International is widely known for building an inclusive and supportive community of business professionals. Other members are likely experiencing many of the same challenges, fears, and uncertainties as you are. Having the support of a strong community can have a tremendous impact on your professional and personal growth. Although all the benefits listed in this article can help you propel your career forward, the true value of Toastmasters is in the relationships it allows members to build with one another.