Glossophobia â€“ the fear of public speaking.Â Iâ€™m admittedly not overly familiar with all the "phobias" of the world, but thanks toÂ a recent commercial for the Nexus 7, I know that one.
I wouldnâ€™t say that I have glossophobia, but public speaking has never much appealed to me. Iâ€™ve always considered myself more of the "man behind the curtain." When I began my current job last April, however, I was approached by two co-workers about joining a local Toastmasters club.Â I ended up attending a meeting, and I was hooked.
Toastmasters â€“ a nonprofit educational organization created in 1924 to help people improve their communication abilities â€“ starts you off with the option of completing two tracks: a communications track and a leadership track. You can complete both tracks simultaneously or focus on one.
The competent communicator track walks you through ten speeches, each speech focusing on a different aspect of public speaking, helping you to improve and build upon your skills.Â I recently completed my fifth speech, and the progress is noticeable.
As I filled out my Part 1 evaluation, I realized just how much I had improved. Iâ€™ve cut down on filler words, become better at impromptu speaking and even boosted my confidence in front of an audience.Â By actually evaluating myself, I was able to see how far Iâ€™ve come.
After every speech, you are provided feedback from the club, but for me, it was hard to believe it was anything more than supportive and encouraging words. Now I can say I think Iâ€™m on my way to becoming a better speaker, a speaker like some of my club members that I admire.
On the leadership track, there are also ten projects required for completion. Each project involves fulfilling some sort of role within the club while focusing on leadership traits, like listening, giving feedback, facilitation and team building. Iâ€™m currently a bit over halfway finished with the leadership track. Iâ€™ve also noticed an improvement in my ability to take more leadership roles. Following along with these projects has helped me to come out of my shell and voice my own opinions, in addition to being a more active listener.
I strongly encourage everyone to check out a local Toastmasters club. Whether youâ€™d like to be a better public speaker or not, the club has so many benefits beyond helping a person articulate.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Lisa Simonson
Published Dec. 16, 2013
Like many other brave souls in our winterized city, I decided some events are completely worth journeying out into the snow. Hover Craft 2013, at Turner Hall, was one of those events.
Published Nov. 17, 2013
To some, that may sound like a morbid question, but isn't it also kind of beautiful? Maybe I'm just a sucker for overly romanticized ideas about living your life to the fullest and pursuing what brings you joy and happiness. However, it seems I'm not alone in that.
Published Oct. 23, 2013
I'm turning 26 and wanted to do something special. I wasn't looking for an average birthday celebration. I wanted to go out of town, maybe get crazy in Las Vegas, something new and exciting. However, it proved to be a bit difficult to coordinate my group of friends and get everyone on board for a vacation. Instead, I thought why not run 26 miles for my 26th birthday?
Published Sept. 24, 2013
Lisa Simonson sits down to talk making music, old people candy, alcohol and, of course, metal with local band Population Control.
Published Sept. 18, 2013
There are few things I'm embarrassed to admit. I'll freely tell anyone almost anything about my life; however, there's always been one thing I've had a hard time owning up to. I've never been to a Packers game. Not only was Sept. 15 the Packers' home opener, but it was also my first trip to Titletown.
Published Aug. 7, 2013
A recent trip to Walker's Point Tattoo taught me a valuable lesson about myself: I'm not very good at getting tattoos. Although not my first, I'm sure the other patrons in the shop thought it was, given my wincing, cringing and twitching. Â
Published July 16, 2013
Hoping to get my motorcycle license, I opted for a two-day Basic Rider Course at Ride Alive Motorcycle Academy.
Published July 8, 2013
It's not every day a local business reaches a milestone like its 25th anniversary, but that's just what happened for independent skate shop Sky High this past Saturday. The all ages celebration brought out both younger and older skaters, proving that this Bay View staple is here to stay.
Published March 21, 2013
About a month ago a friend asked me to come down and visit her in Austin for South by Southwest. At first I thought she was crazy, but decided it was a brilliant idea. Of course, being so close to the actual event, I couldn't find tickets for less than $700.
Published Feb. 14, 2013
I believe I've mentioned that I'm somewhat of a workaholic, but one job or 10, we can all agree on one thing, sometimes work just sucks.Â Yesterday was one of those days, but instead of heading home I decided to try my luck one more time and see if a few cocktails could at least bring me out of my foul mood and cloud of self-loathing.Â