Aug 12, 2009

TRULY SPEAKING: Here's to Your Growth!

Raise a glass and celebrate: It's time to toast!

Birthdays, weddings, and christenings are just a few of the formal functions where speeches may be expected of you. And if you mess up the toast, not everyone is forgiving! But the repercussions to the rest of your life are often limited—unlike work-related public blunders.

To see some hilarious toasts captured on video and posted on YouTube, click the link and search "hilarious toasts." You'll find both good and bad examples of public speechmaking.

If you've ever been even half as embarrassed as some of these folks who flubbed (or if you recognize yourself in a video!), you might want to consider getting some professional assistance before you tackle a toast again. And if you can't afford one-on-one coaching or can't make a regular commitment to a communications coach, you may best benefit from a less demanding group format.

Maybe you should try Toastmasters.

Toastmasters is where I started when I first realized I wanted to make a career change from behind-the-scenes corporate production work. Founded in 1924, Toastmasters is a non-profit international organization "helping people become more competent and comfortable in front of an audience" (according to its website). The group also purports that "most Toastmasters meetings are comprised of approximately 20 people who meet weekly for an hour or two. Participants practice and learn skills by filling a meeting role, ranging from giving a prepared speech or an impromptu one to serving as a timer, (speech) evaluator or grammarian." The grammarian's job is to note interesting words and phrases, as well as to count "ums," "ahs," and other filler words used by the speakers.

Having your speech evaluated—by fellow speaking students in a safe and friendly environment—can be an incredible boost not just to your self-esteem, but to the way you communicate in both personal and professional situations.

© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2009

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