Raising Your Voice: Toasting the Toastmaster Experience

Gary Schmidt, top Toastmaster, now with Clackamas County Public Affairs(Part of an occasional series about speaking tips.)

The old line that the answer to the question of "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" is "Practice," also rings true for public speaking.

Nothing improves public speaking more than more public speaking. And one of the best ways I know to practice public speaking is by joining a local Toastmasters International Club.

One of the best advertisements for the benefits of Toastmasters is Gary Schmidt. Gary worked with me in former U.S. Senator Gordon Smith's office, and now works as public affairs manager for Clackamas County.

Gary joined Toastmasters in 1995 because he wanted to improve his communications skills. Boy, did he ever. Gary is one of the finest public speakers I know. Not only did Toastmasters help to make Gary a very effective communicator, it also helped make him a very effective leader.

In fact, Gary just completed a year-long term as president of the entire 260,000-member Toastmasters International organization. I am proud to turn today's blog over to Gary for his insights into the benefits of becoming a member of Toastmasters. Gary, take it away...

Gary Schmidt's comments:

Thank you Kerry!

Toastmasters is a worldwide, self-development organization that truly helps people transform their lives. Of course you learn to be a better speaker, but you also learn so much more: How to engage in conversation; lead others; be a better listener; run effective meetings; and, provide meaningful feedback to colleagues, just to name a few.

You learn to become confident and to believe in yourself. The greatest secret of success in any endeavor is the ability to communicate and work well with others. Toastmasters trains you to do just that, by offering a laboratory of learning. The self-paced program allows you to focus on what skills you need to advance.

As Kerry can attest, my skills blossomed when I joined Toastmasters. Every aspect of my career and personal life were enhanced by my membership in this life-changing organization. You can learn more by visiting a local club -- there are more than 170 clubs in Oregon that meet every day of the week, all times of the day, in most locations. Club meetings are only one hour, once a week. Find out more at: www.toastmasters.org

Are you ready to take that next step to augment your skills? If so, visit a Toastmasters club today! Thanks for letting me raise my voice, Kerry, in the hopes that your readers will raise theirs too.