Written by Michele Rose-O’Brien | 30 January 2011
For many of us, walking into a room full of strangers and having a one-on-one conversation with someone we don’t know, is likely not one of our most favorite things to do. Perhaps it even ranks right up there with say…. standing in front of a room full of people and giving a speech. Sound familiar?
We each have our own reason(s) for joining Toastmasters. However, there are a number of skills sets we develop through this association that can improve our ability to network more effectively.
Improving our public speaking skills Consider the tremendous conversation skills we can bring to our next networking event, thanks to our involvement with Toastmasters. For example, good eye contact, superior tone and variety in our voice, expressiveness, lack of “filler” words (to name just a few). Also, thanks to our opportunities to be speech evaluators, we can also utilize excellent listening skills during the conversation.
Developing a topic and preparing a speech We all want to be well-prepared when we give a speech. Similarly, when attending a networking event we can also prepare for the event ahead of time. For example, developing a clear and concise statement, as to what we’d like others to know about us and/or our business, can provide us the opportunity to make an impact, influence our “audience”, as well as have something interesting to talk about.
Participating in Table Topics Thinking on our feet – this skill is invaluable when we are meeting new people. As previously mentioned, we can certainly be prepared ahead of time to discuss our business, as well as industry-specific topics or local news. However, we also want to be able to “ad lib” and effectively carry on a conversation about subjects we hadn’t necessarily planned on talking about.
Building Confidence One of the things we all can take away from our Toastmaster experiences is increased self-confidence. Having the ability to do something that we never thought we’d be able to do – speak well in front of others. Take this confidence and transfer that skill to your next networking event.
Our involvement with Toastmasters provides us with valuable experiences we can take with us to the workplace – including being successful at networking.