Toastmasters is about making people better at public speaking.
I get really nervous when I talk in front of crowds, but I love doing it. I love speaking at conferences... partially for the speaker discounts, partially for the prestige. the "speaker" badge you get to wear. that sort of thing.
And as life as gone on I've gotten better at speaking. I hated the idea of taking speech class in college, I put it off until my last semester, I thought it was pointless. I was going to be an engineer. Engineers just draw stuff, right?
Wrong. We have to sell ideas all the time, my dreams of entering an industry purely based on logic evaporated before my eyes. I had to lead a training for pilots, I froze up and just read the powerpoint. Half of them fell asleep. So I took a work class on public speaking, two days, they filmed us. It was so helpful I almost found it to be life changing.
Then I did some more presentations, and got complements on my enthusiasm.
But I still have struggles... for one thing I talk WAY too fast. I'll rehearse a speech, I'll be sure to have 45 minutes of material, and then it'll take me 20 minutes. And everyone is looking at me like they've been blown over. Happy! But kinda stunned.
So my toastmasters club will meet weekly for a while which is wonderful, and I will get lots of practice speaking, and I will be awesome. In fact I have a major presentation to give in January, I bet they hate hearing this but it's half the reason I joined... it's for the women's group at work, I'll be discussing the implications of Lean In and why we need to discuss issues affecting women, and network... it's something I'm passionate about and I really want to get through to people, so much that they totally believe in me. And are crying, and holding up lighters. Will toastmasters international get me there? STAY TUNED.