Most guys on here are a bit confused when I try to tell them about Toastmasters International:
*Oh, so you learn how to make toasted bread?
*Is it a toaster salesman company?
Does Toastmasters having anything to do with giving speeches, like a toast that the best man gives at a wedding?
Toastmasters is a dirt cheap speech and leadership club. There is probably one in your area that you are unaware of. You can search for a club in your area on their website via your zip code.
*Networking (with professionals) - my TM club consisted of many college graduates and students such as lawyers, engineers, education specialists, city council people, business/entrepreneur experts, media/news, retail workers, secretaries, and many other occupations.
*Hone your public speaking/leadership skills and eliminate Approach Anxiety and nervousness in a supportive environment.
*The cost joining Toastmasters is about $5/month, which is dirt cheap compared to taking a college/university course in public speaking.
*You can show up as a Guest to a local meeting and get free magazines, information, and meet interesting people.
*Their website is chock full of free swag: magazines, videos
*Prepare yourself for better job interviews.
*Eliminate words like, "uuuuh, ummm, ahhh, and duhh" from your vocabulary, in fact, Toastmasters encourages better grammar and helps you relax.
*Your first speech, The Icebreaker, is the easiest speech ever, because the whole club supports you and you get to talk about your favorite subject: YOU.
I joined Toastmasters around 2009 and never regretted it. I earned my Competent Communication award for giving 10 basic speeches to the club. It doesn't stop there though. They coach you how to think on your feet through impromptu speaking, how to be funnier, and set goals in your life.
The highest honor one can achieve in Toastmasters International is the Distinguished Toastmasters (DTM) rank:
They have a pretty straight forward path(s) to improving yourself from new member to DTM. I am still relatively a noob (newbie) in TI. I am working on my Competent Leadership (CL) award. As you can tell by the chart, this club has a huge amount of educational opportunities.
I have also served as a mentor for a new member, Sargent-of-Arms, and Vice President of Membership in my few years of being a Toastmasters member. My confidence has soared. I seem to be able to talk to anybody either 1 on 1 and also in groups or in front of an audience. My sense of humor has also improved. Before, I used to be quite a follower, but today I tend to lead more and more thanks to this club.
If you are shy, fumble with words, have approach anxiety (AA), and/or just want to improve your career networking, I highly encourage you to consider this club. There is probably a chapter near you and at $5/month or so, it will not break your bank account. In fact, just for trying out Toastmasters as a Guest, you can get all kinds of free swag and there is not too much pressure to join, but if you do... it is hella fun. Here are a couple examples of great speeches full of humor and confidence: