The Many Facets of Toastmasters: Self-Confidence

The single greatest transformation I had ever seen in anyone in my time as a Toastmaster was a woman who joined our club a few years back. She was the single shyest adult I had ever met. She stood with her arms crossed tightly over her body. Her eyes were constantly down casted and you could feel her pain as she forced herself to speak to anyone, whether to the group or just one person. About two years later, she left our club … to join an acting troop.

This woman’s transformation made me think deeply about one of the greatest secret gems of Toastmasters: the opportunity for anyone to develop self-confidence. I saw it in my own life. As a recovering shy person, I can easily see the difference in my life before I joined Toastmasters and now. At work, I never spoke up. I didn’t think I had the authority. This is what my inner dialog sounded like.

“I have an opinion.”

“This isn’t your place to speak. Just keep it to yourself.”

“OK.”

After being a member of Toastmasters my inner dialog changed. It began to sound something like this.

“I have an opinion.”

“This isn’t your place to speak. Just keep it to yourself.”

“I don’t care if it’s my place or not, I’m giving my opinion.”

“You never listen to me anymore.”

“Are you still talking?”

I really did begin to give my opinion at work whether I had the authority or not. I noticed that the rest of the people in the meetings didn’t always agree with me, but they did always appreciate my thoughts. I would never have found out that my opinions actually mattered if I didn’t have the confidence to speak up and I have Toastmaster to thank for it.

How does Toastmasters build confidence? As an active member, you have a lot of opportunities to test and push the limits of your speaking and leadership abilities. As you do, you also test and push the limits of your comfort zone. The bigger your comfort zone gets the more confidence you have that you can be successful and authoritative in life.

Steve Errey, a confidence coach wrote a post for LifeHack.org called 63 Ways to Build Self Confidence. After going through all 63 recommendations Steve makes, I realized that 42 of them are things we have the opportunity to work on in Toastmasters. Numbers 1, 18, 35, 38, 41 and 57 especially caught my eye. These, in particular, are things we work on just by showing up at Toastmasters meetings.

Steve wrote in the beginning of his post, “Confidence is a tool you can use in your everyday life to do all kinds of cool stuff, not least to stop second-guessing yourself, manage your fears and become able to do more of the things that really matter to you.” Besides being a place to learn public speaking and leadership, Toastmasters really is a self-improvement organization which helps us to clarify our hopes and dreams and most importantly helps us to realize that we can achieve them.

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2 responses to “The Many Facets of Toastmasters: Self-Confidence

  1. Reblogged this on Plantation Toastmasters and commented:
    So true

    Like

  2. speakingwithmike

    Thank you for the reblog. I am honored.

    Like

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