One new thing I started doing shortly after my most recent blogging hiatus was joining Toastmasters International. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Toastmasters is an international public speaking club. Each meeting two or three speeches are given by members. After the speeches are done each one is given an evaluation from another member. Evaluations are brief, with usually two or three positive things mentioned about the speech and one (no more than two) things to improve upon.
I’ve never been afraid of public speaking. On the contrary I’ve always enjoyed it. I joined because I wanted something new to get into and it never hurts to hone your public speaking skills.
When you first join you are given a manual to get your first title, Competent Communicator. In order to achieve this you must complete the ten speeches required by the manual, each one is focused on a specific task that will help you when you give speeches later. Once you have your Competent Communicator you are free to start on a more advanced manual (there are a ton to choose from) or give speeches unrelated to to any manual.
Another thing you will learn to do well is writing. You’ll write almost all of the speeches you give in the club, and writing is just as important as delivery when it comes to speeches. If not more so.
I managed to get my Competent Communicator in 12 weeks, which senior members of my chapter told me is the fastest any member has done it in recent memory. If you want to sharpen your speaking and communication skills I highly recommend you check out Toastmasters. Here is a link to get started: https://www.toastmasters.org/find-a-club