January 7, 2023
5 min read
Is Toastmasters worth it? What difference does it make in people’s lives and careers?
Toastmasters International is the world’s premier public speaking and leadership organization. Through its local and virtual clubs, digital learning programs, and competitions, it makes speakers and leaders out of ordinary people who aim to learn and grow.
Continue reading to discover the benefits of Toastmasters and determine whether it’s worth the investment.
Toastmasters membership costs $60 for six months. New members pay a $20 one-time fee. Members generally invest an hour or two a week in club meetings. They often spend additional time on speech preparation, leadership responsibilities, online learning, and speech contests.
So, is Toastmasters worth it? Is it a good investment of money and time? Over 280,000 people think so. (That’s Toastmasters’s global membership.)
Let’s explore six benefits of Toastmasters and take a look at what members have to say.
The benefits of Toastmasters enhance both the personal and professional lives of their members. They include the development of skills, self-confidence, and self-awareness; access to the top-ranked public speaking app Yoodli; and opportunities for fellowship, networking, and building others up.
Toastmasters is an educational organization. All of its activities help people develop communication, public speaking, and leadership skills. These skills are in high-demand in all industries, so Toastmasters members have an edge in the workplace and job market.
Toastmasters member Nancy Huynh says, “This is probably the best thing that you can do for your career. No matter what job you have, communication is key.”
Dolores Lara joined Toastmasters to become a better public speaker, and she found even more than that: “I’ve become an accidental leader.”
Toastmasters helps David Reichelt lead his own company and brilliantly handle the PR that comes along with the success of his business. As David says, you never know when you’ll be in a real-world situation where you need the skill of public speaking!
Communication, public speaking, and leadership are quite broad categories, and the Toastmasters Pathways education program breaks them down into over 300 competencies in 11 learning paths that include conflict resolution, project management, interview preparation, effective coaching, and visionary communication.
If you want to be a competent communicator or leader, it helps if you believe you can do it. Most people have a fear of public speaking, and many think that leadership is beyond their grasp. One of the benefits of Toastmasters is that it can help you believe in yourself—and give you good reason to do so.
Here’s what Man Jen Ng has to say about his Toastmasters experience: “It revealed things I never thought I could do. I never thought I could write, and I never thought I could speak in public.”
The Toastmasters experience boosted Sara’s self-confidence so much, she made a career change. Although, perhaps it’s more accurate to say that she found her true self. Watch Sara’s story.
How does Toastmasters improve your self-confidence? It stretches you while supporting you. You’re given opportunities to speak and lead, you’re equipped to do so with examples and guidelines, and you’re given encouragement and constructive feedback from people who care about you and want you to grow and succeed. Toastmasters culture is, by design, safe and supportive.
Feedback contributes to self-awareness, another benefit of Toastmasters. You might not realize that you tend to say “you know” at the end of sentences or that you can come across a little bossy when you lead. Your fellow Toastmasters will let you know in a way that’s encouraging and insightful rather than scolding or shaming.
You also might not realize that you have a way of putting people at ease when you facilitate meetings or that making eye contact is one of your strengths. Your Toastmasters club companions will tell you. Self-awareness helps you embrace the real you, leverage your strengths, and grow where you need to.
Toastmasters partners with Yoodli, the top-ranked public speaking app. Toastmasters members have access to their own version of the Yoodli’s artificial intelligence-powered tool for speech practice and coaching.
In Toastmasters clubs and contests, members deliver prepared speeches and impromptu speeches. With Yoodli, they can practice their prepared speeches ahead of time and get immediate, judgment-free feedback on elements such as filler words and eye contact. They also can practice impromptu speaking with Yoodli’s fun games.
While those features are available to all Yoodli users for free, the Toastmasters version of Yoodli also includes Table Topics®, a grading rubric, sample speeches, and additional custom content.
The heart of Toastmasters is its clubs. Clubs are just the right size for members to foster both friendships and professional relationships. They’re big enough to be diverse in ways that matter and small enough to provide a warm, welcoming environment where you can truly belong.
Toastmasters member Nilofer Tanna says, “Each and every member in the organization I meet is positive. They are always there to encourage you. They are always there to guide you, to support you.”
While Toastmasters is an educational organization, they realize that learning (especially of this kind) is at its best when it’s in the context of community.
Member Pia Duryea puts this benefit of Toastmasters rather well. Toastmasters, she says, gives you “the ability to make other people better.”
While Toastmasters isn’t categorized as a service organization, it certainly could be considered as such. You’ve already learned how members encourage, equip, and support each other. While they engage in healthy, fun competition at times with their speech contests, ultimately they know they’re all on the same team. They root each other on, they provide priceless feedback, and they set everyone up for success.
So, is Toastmasters worth it? Each of these benefits of Toastmasters has huge value for your career and for life in general. But, you can be the judge. Find a Toastmasters club near you, and see what difference it makes for you.
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