When I first joined Toastmasters, I wanted to increase my confidence when presenting land development plans at municipal meetings. I no longer have a job requiring me to speak in front of people, but I remain a member of Toastmasters. Over the next few posts I’d like to describe the many facets of Toastmasters which I have found.
To those who have never heard of Toastmasters, it’s best known as a drinking club. To those who have heard of Toastmasters, but who’s familiarity ends there, it’s known as the club where people learn how to give a speech. Although the latter is true and sometimes the former is also true, there is a lot that goes on within the club meetings where we learn far more than speaking in front of people.
When I first joined Toastmasters I wanted to have more confidence in front of people. I certainly gained that within the first year, but I noticed something else as well. My writing skills had gotten a lot better. I’m dyslexic and, as a result, my writing, spelling and punctuation are generally horrible. Because of the time that I took to write out my speeches, I was able to literally teach myself how to write. I learned how to punctuate, I learned how to use paragraphs, and I learned good sentence construction. My spelling has improved marginally, but my use of the spell check and the thesaurus are expert.
I used to write because I had to. Now I write because I want to. In writing, I found an outlet for my creativity which I absolutely love. In case you haven’t already guessed, I write a blog now. Something that you would not know is I have written a manuscript for a historical supernatural thriller, which I am currently shopping around for representation.
If someone told you Toastmasters can help you with your writing, would you believe them? When I first started, writing was not even on my radar screen, so that would have gone over my head. Now, after writing out close to a hundred speeches, many blog posts and I don’t know how many emails, all because of my responsibilities as a Toastmaster, plus using writing as a creative outlet to the tune of a full 85,000 word manuscript and many unpublished essays and short stories, I can write much clearer than I ever have or ever thought I could. Most of my teachers throughout school would be shocked at where I ended up. I think of where I came from and I can’t help but be shocked either.