The Art of Speaking  

Glossophobia can be beaten

Want to overcome your chronic glossophobia? Toastmasters can show you how.

Many people afraid of public speaking - glossophobia - never confront that demon because the mind-numbing, gut-tightening fear consumes them.

But there is a way to overcome it, something Keith Orlaw is grateful he learned.

"I joined Toastmasters because I really needed help with my public-speaking abilities and confidence," said the RCMP safety occupational officer.

"I was looking for a new job, and all the interviews I had included a presentation as part of the assessment," said Orlaw, who joined Kelowna AM Toastmasters four years ago.

"To say I bombed out in the presentation portion is an understatement."

He has learned to appreciate failure because it can lead to growth and development, and learning the importance of preparation and practice.

"If you go into your meetings unprepared, you are, most of the time, going to look like you are unprepared.

"I enjoy the Toastmasters program because it is about more than public speaking. It is really about meeting with individuals who are focused on personal and professional development.

"It is also a great place to learn and develop your organizational and leadership skills."

Orlaw is just one of 345,000 members in Toastmasters, the global organization that shows people how to improve their speaking, listening and leadership skills.

Even though Reen Rose was a professional speaker and corporate trainer, she joined the Kelowna AM club to hone her speaking skills.

"I feel very confident about speaking in front of others and conveying a clear message. However, I am a passionate, life-long learner and felt that I had more to learn about speaking if I wanted to be at the very top of my game.

"I looked at my options and considered Toastmasters."

She planned to join for six months, learn as much as she could and be on her way.

"I didn't take into account the connections I would make with the other Toastmasters. The group is incredibly supportive, knowledgeable and fun.

"I have learned and practised many things while at Toastmasters, but there is always more to learn, so I'm not sure I will ever reach my goal. It's a good thing I believe that the joy is in the journey, not reaching the destination.

"I can't believe it, but I actually look forward to getting up on Thursdays and going to Kelowna AM Toastmasters.

"I suspect that I have a long future in Toastmasters."

If you want to tame your big fear, check out Kelowna AM Toastmasters at the Royal Anne Hotel, 348 Bernard Ave., on Thursdays at 6:45 a.m. (5300.toastmastersclubs.org) or email [email protected]).

Need a new year's resolution?

Any of the eight city Toastmasters clubs would be happy to suggest learning to speak, listen and communicate well.

They are skills that will serve in all areas of your life and will last a lifetime.

"When you step out of your comfort zone, your abilities grow and your comfort zone also grows as a result," said Moya Webb, president of Okanagan College Toastmasters.

"The safe, supportive environment in Toastmasters allows us to progress at our own pace."

The mission of Toastmasters International is to "empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders."

To find out more, go to Toastmasterskelowna.ca.

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About the Author

The mission of a Toastmaster Club is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment that offers every member the opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth.

There are eight Toastmasters clubs in the Central Okanagan.

For more information and/or to find a club near you, check http://www.toastmasters.org.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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