Toastmasters can benefit you in many ways. It helps if you know what you want to achieve, and why.
Try to refine your goal down to one sentence, including why you want to achieve it. For example:
“I want to improve my presentation skills so I can communicate efficiently and effectively with my clients and co-workers during meetings.”
Once you know your goal you’ll need to find people and opportunities that will help you.
Find Clubs In Your Area
There are a lot of Toastmasters clubs to choose from so you’ll want to narrow down your options. To do so, ask yourself two questions:
“How far am I willing to travel?”
“What times can I attend?”
Your goal determines the answer to these questions. If you want to achieve something very specific, you may need to go further out of your way to find people who can help. If a location is inconvenient, you’ll need more resolve to keep attending.
Toastmasters International has a great club-finder feature on its website. It lets you filter by location, date, and time of meetings. The finder is a good starting point in your search.
Attend Some Meetings, Ask Some Questions
Now that you know what you want to achieve and where the opportunities are. It’s time to explore your options further.
Start by attending a couple meetings at the most convenient clubs. How many people show up? Is the list of speakers full? Is it empty? Listen to how the people speak and what they speak about. Do they have a style that you would like to adopt?
Speak with the members whenever you have a chance. If you’re new to Toastmasters, it may help to arrive early and speak with people before the meeting begins. That way you can learn what takes place.
Many clubs take a short break during the meeting. While you can speak with members during that time, clubs are often strict about their agendas. The best time to have a conversation is often after the meeting ends. Then people are more relaxed and there’s less of a formal time constraint.
Think Things Through
You’ve got a lot to think about at this point. Spend a few days thinking about what you’ve learned. Which clubs were the most convenient? What can you learn from the members? What does your gut tell you? Once again, writing out the answers may help clarify your thoughts.
Whatever club you decide to join, only you can achieve your goals. Toastmasters is rolling out the new Pathways program. There will be more things that Toastmasters can help you achieve than ever before.