During VMware PEX I attended the VCDX Boot Camp in order to gain some insight into the VCDX certification process. One of the suggestions made by the Boot Camp panelists was to look up a local Toastmasters club and participate to help improve your ability to speak in front of others. So I did just that and last night I attended the first meeting.
There are several Toastmaster clubs in my area but I chose the ComUnity Speakers Toastmasters Club #5037 located in Chesapeake. This club meets on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month at 7:00 PM and the meeting location is on my way home from work. I decided to check out this club specifically because of the activity posted on social media. The club seems to be very active with good participation from the members.
I enjoyed the meeting. The meeting follows an agenda that is very similar to the one on the ComUnity Getting Started page. The club President called the meeting to order and there were two prepared speeches by members. One was a member’s first Icebreaker speech and the other was a member’s speech project to demonstrate using props while speaking.
After the first two prepared speeches there were what are called “table topics” sessions. This is where you are given a topic and asked to speak “off the cuff” about it for one to two minutes. Everyone was invited to participate and I think everyone that was in attendance did. I even got up and talked about my cat for a minute and 18 seconds.
After the prepared speeches and table topics evaluations are given. The evaluator for each speech gives an oral assessment of the speech offering praise, tips, and suggestions. The “ah” counter and timer (everything is timed) also give their assessments. The general evaluator then gives an evaluation of the meeting overall. All evaluations were very constructive.
At the close of the meeting they asked guest to speak about how they found out about the club, what brought them to the meeting, and what they thought of the meeting. Neat process and a good group of folks. I can definitely see where this could be a benefit to anyone looking to become more comfortable with public speaking or just communicating in general.
Looking forward to the next meeting.