Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

As researchers and prospect managers, we tend to get comfortable sitting in the light of our computer screens. Rarely do we have time or desire to get out of this light and make it into the limelight. We aren’t front and center asking donors for money and we aren’t presenting information to the CEO or VPs of our organizations. (At least not very often, if we do.)

If we aren’t used to these opportunities and one is presented, how do we make sure we make the best of that moment? How do we make an impact that won’t be forgotten? Basically…how do we not mess up or how do we try our hardest in order to get eyed for a promotion?

For the last two years, I’ve been a member of a Toastmasters club. You may be scratching your head and asking, “What is Toastmasters?” If  you know what it is, it’s generally due to one of three reasons. 1) Your dad was in it. 2) You saw some flyer about it. 3) You were advised/asked to join due to your lack of speaking skills or shy speaking behaviors, yet didn’t join due to your lack of speaking skills or shy speaking behaviors.

The last reason above hopefully gives a clue as to what Toastmasters is – an international club of people just like you and me who want to better their public speaking skills and improve leadership skills.

Why would we, the people who live our lives in the light of the computer, need to better our speaking skills and leadership skills? Because we need to know how to share what we’re doing and why we’re doing – it in a professional way. It’s worthwhile to have your peers and supervisors understand exactly what you do and why you do it. Toastmasters teaches members to speak without using filler words like “Um” and “Uh,” and helps members learn how to formulate speeches that make sense and have a natural flow. It also allows opportunities to practice speaking, because, after all, practice makes perfect.

Like APRA Greater Houston, Toastmasters dues are minimal. Check out the directory of Toastmasters meetings around Houston. There are many locations and times of day to choose from. You’re welcome to visit a club and check out the group of people who are in it. Find one that fits for you. You’ll learn how to speak professionally and gain valuable skills to help you improve your communication and increase your opportunities for successful leadership roles at work. You won’t regret joining.

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