You may be more comfortable communicating by electronic mail or telephone than in person. Speaking to large or small groups, or even one-to-one, may intimidate or frighten you. Yet good communication skills are vital if you want to be successful. Corporate leaders say that the ability to communicate well orally is one of the most important skills their recruiters look for in job candidates. Businesses want people who express themselves clearly and confidently, and are persuasive and comfortable communicating with a wide range of people, from top executives to assembly-line workers.
Most schools and universities don’t offer this type of training. Toastmasters does. Toastmasters teaches one how to formulate, express and sell ideas with poise and confidence. Toastmasters provides a platform to improve people’s ability to listen and evaluate others’ ideas and to develop leadership skills along the way.
The Toastmasters program is not a college, trade school or other formal course in public speaking. There are no instructors, professors or classrooms. In Toastmasters, members learn by studying and practising communication and leadership skills with other fellow members.
Toastmasters club meetings enable its members to build “quick thinking “skills as members give one-to two-minute speeches on general subjects during Table Topics. Toastmasters give the opportunity to its members to introduce speakers, conduct meetings and perform other roles that give lots of practice in a variety of communication experiences. But the greatest learning at Toastmasters come from the preparation and presentation speeches which members deliver.
The Communication tract within the Toastmasters competent communication track consists of 10 speech projects designed to develop the speaking skills of members one step at a time. Every project builds upon what you have learned in the preceding project so that members are required to present their assignment in numerical order.
The Ice Breaker is the first speech members do at Toastmasters. Normally during the first speech, members speak about themselves. In subsequent speeches, members learn the importance of organisation, speech purpose, proper word usage, body language and vocal variety. Members also learn how to do research, use visual aid, speak persuasively and inspire others. The duration of the speeches are normally between 5 to 7 minutes long. This provides ample time for a speaker to develop his speech. Through this, members learn to speak with confidence, clarity, persuasiveness and enthusiasm.
All speeches at Toastmasters are evaluated and the speakers are given verbal and written feedback on every speech they present. The evaluator provides a personal opinion of the speech, pointing out its strengths and offering suggestions for improving the speaker’s next speech. Evaluations have one purpose: to help members become more effective speakers. Eventually as new members gain more experience, they start evaluating the speeches of others.
Toastmasters also has a leadership stream apart from its communication stream. Recently, Toastmasters International came with its new logo and brand statement: “Toastmasters, where leaders are made”.  At Toastmasters, members build their leadership skills by following 10 projects in the Competent Leadership stream. Members are also encouraged to develop additional skills by serving as a club officer, formulating and implementing plans to help the club meet members’ needs.
At the Financial Toastmasters Club, members meet every 2nd and 4th Wednesdays every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Conference Room of Le St Georges Hotel, St Georges Street Port Louis. If you are interested in vanquishing your fears of public speaking or if you want to become a leader in your field, please feel free to consult our website at www.financialtoastmasters.org to know more on how you can attend our meetings.