Or you really want to speak out at a city council meeting. Or the instructor asks you a question in class. Or you are asked to lead a group of community volunteers. And you wish the floor would swallow you right then and there.
The fear of public speaking (glossophobia or “stage fright”) is believed to be the single most common phobia, affecting as many as 75 percent of the population. It is ranked even above that of death.
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld jokes, “The average person at a funeral would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
But effective communication is one of the most important skills we can possess. Many careers require the ability to present information to clients or colleagues. But it is not limited to the business world.
“Imagine knowing how to successfully present your ideas to your children as well as to your employer, co-workers, and clients,” said J.D. Dirkschneider, a distinguished toastmaster. “To impart knowledge and to persuade people to your view is an asset in all areas of life.
Although most great speakers have a natural ability to engage, motivate and inspire, these skills can be learned, and Toastmasters International is the world leader in teaching us.”
Members come from all backgrounds and circumstances. They are housewives, teachers, missionaries, doctors, engineers, professional speakers, real estate agents, community leaders, librarians, authors, retired people, business owners — a cross-section of the community.
In addition to learning and polishing their speaking abilities, they develop the competence and confidence to effectively listen, give constructive feedback, make decisions, delegate, and mentor others. They learn by doing and improve by repeating.
Headquartered in California, Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that, since 1924, has been teaching public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of local clubs. With over 270,000 members in 116 countries, the more than 13,000 clubs offer a proven - and enjoyable - way to learn, practice, and hone these skills in a safe, supportive environment.
Membership is open to anyone at least 18 years of age.
In the state of Georgia (or District 14 as it’s called) there are close to 309 clubs. Georgia Toastmasters would like to start one here in Calhoun. If you are interested in being a part of this, call Jo Kelly at 678-524-8408 or email at JoKelly0@bellsouth.netToastmasters clubs meet weekly or bi-weekly, and visitors are welcome.
To find a club near you, visit www.toastmasters.org/findaclub .