Where do you rehearse your presentations, sales pitches, or jokes? Do you have a few trusted colleagues or friends who’ll watch and listen to you practice. If you do have such friends, great! And if these same colleagues or friends are Toastmasters, even better. For in Toastmasters, members learn the art of giving effective evaluations.
Why is this important? Contrary to popular opinion, practice does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent. So it is best to practice your trade where you will be assisted or receive a critique from a knowledgeable observer or better yet by a trusted sensei. Not a martial artist? Then think of how you might improve your tennis stroke or golf swing. You can ask your hacker friends or even your caddy. But if you want to improve your game in the most efficient and cost-effective manner, you should consult a professional coach, someone schooled in observation and in communicating effective feedback. Not into sports? Then think about where best to learn to cook. Do it yourself, watch the cooking channel, or enroll in a chef’s school.
I belong to two Toastmasters clubs — one a corporate club and the other an advanced community club. I also routinely volunteer to teach workshops at my place of employment as well as at the district’s Toastmasters Leadership Institute. To me, Toastmasters training venues are very much like attending an aikido seminar — where the better ‘sensei’ share their wisdom — and then I can practice or rehearse what I’ve learned in these seminars at my home dojo.
One more thing … For those who attended the February 19th workshop Train the Trainers <– click here to view/download a comic strip which may help you remember the material we covered in group exercises. For those who missed this class, perhaps this artifact will entice you to attend this class or another in the future.