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Submitted by Roccobass on


Should I start attending Toastmasters before going to a public speaking training class sponsored by my company?

I was just informed that my company is sending me to a training course on public speaking in mid-March.  My initial thought was that I should start doing Toastmasters ASAP so that I'll be "impressive" and already know everything when I get there.  On the one hand It has been on my list of things to do for a long time and this could be the impetus to finally get that ball rolling.  On the other hand I have a very full plate right now and will through the end of February so adding one more thing to it just so I can look "impressive"  My job does not call for public speaking on a regular basis, nor is this training an indication that it will call for it in the near future.  It is a skill that I want to develop and improve. However, there are other areas on my self-development list that I feel have a higher priority - like project management - that will give me more bang for my time invested "buck".

That said I do not see this training class opportunity as a waste of time since

a) I'm sure I'll learn from it and

b) It is an opportunity for networking and exposure to the higher ups in our firm with whom I do not interact on a daily basis

Please post your suggestions and comments.




Smacquarrie's picture

If you have the motivation, and the ability, to go I would say go.
From your own comments, it sounds like you want to go but not for the rigt reasons. Go to make yourself a better public speaker, not because you want to impress a room full of co-workers.

As with anything in life, you need to take stock of what is on your plate. Decide which of these are required vs. nice to have/do. If you are able to make the time to attend, and it will not set your other work behind, then I say go.
There is no shame in showing up to a training class less than stellar. The reason they are sending you is to help you develop. This means that they do not expect to M&M for your first speaking engagement.


Roccobass's picture
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                Thanks for the quick response.  J

I am definitely planning on attending the offered training what I was specifically asking was - should I train for the training? The question of availability comes if I decide to do Toastmasters before the offered training.

I like your point about required vs. nice to have/do - that helps.  In that light I see this as a nice to have/do and therefore doing extra training through Toastmasters is something I can forego. 




wpjoosten's picture

Toastmasters is a very cheap and nice way to improve your public speaking. Another benefit is that you can expand your network, not only interacting in a course with your co-workers.

I think the two main questions are: what is your goal? The best public speaker of better projectmanagement? And what is your timescedule? In toastmasters you have a program to go through and you need to start with the fundamentals.

Good luck!

Peter Joosten
consultant paperless office and blogger

GlennR's picture

I've been a Toastmaster for six plus years and highly recommend it. Peter is right about the additional benefits such as networking.  However, if you think you can attend a TM club for a couple of meetings and then walk out of there a polished speaker, think again.

Having said that, once you begin delivering speeches, you can pick up valuable tips about your skill that will give you an advantage when you attend your training. The key is to get off your butt and deliver speeches sooner rather than later.

If you really want to maximize your experience in the same time period, arrange to have your prepared speeches recorded so that you can play them back and review yourself. Video is better than audio, but use what you have available.

I've enjoyed other benefits besides sharpening my speaking skills by attending Toastmasters. I've not only expanded my network, but I've made personal friends, been very motivated by many speeches, and have learned how to coach better by delivering evaluations.

All in all a great ROI for a 75-minute meeting once a week at a very reasonable bi-annual price. can help you find a club near you.



Gareth's picture

I am a toastmasters member and speak very highly of it to all. I am 9 months in and can't believe what I have learnt. You won't learn from your works sponsored course like you will in Toastmasters - only when you get to practise on a regular basis do you really learn. It is also crazy cheap!

You will gain so much out of a small investment of time at Toastmasters. You really should go!