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But, umm, so, you know...

image made by myself. Front view of the mouth ...Image via Wikipedia

Ten minutes?

You seriously expect me to get up in the front of a room without any note cards or PowerPoint slides and talk for 10 minutes?

These thoughts ran through my head the first day of the Toastmasters program that I hesitantly entered into at my previous job. Ah, the timeless art of public speaking. This probably won’t be the last time I write about it. But that is because it is a blast! Yeah, I said it.

It is one of the most humbling skills there is. No matter how good you think you are, you can always get better. For the young professionals of the world, it is a skill to embrace and learn early on.

I’m glad I did.

I seriously had to be talked into this free Toastmasters program at my first job out of college. That is how crazy I am! And like many young professionals, I stumbled my way through my first speech using my fair share of the words “but,” you know,” “like” and so on.

But people say “practice makes perfect” and with time I got better. And as my public speaking ability improved, the more excited I got for my next speech. I am still nowhere near being an expert on public speaking, but now I can at least say I look forward to the opportunities I get to speak to a crowd. Not only that, but strong vocal skills can be a huge asset in being successful in the workplace.

Take the time while you are young to improve this invaluable skill. Ever ramble in a job interview you didn’t get called back on? Ever walk out of a networking event thinking I should have handled meeting so-and-so differently? Ever give a presentation to a client that left them scratching their head?

Want to rock your next 10-minute presentation? Check out Toastmasters' 10 Tips for Public Speaking.

- Jason Wells


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I have been part of the Toastmasters group at CDS for a few months, and the regular speaking opportunities keep me engaged and "on my toes" mentally. Funny that you mentioned the networking event- we recently had a speaker give a speech specifically about mixers.

I've always enjoyed speaking in front of groups, but Toastmasters helps me hone the craft. Hopefully, ah, I will continue to, um... you know... improve each, um, week.

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