Friday, September 18, 2009
Speaking Coach or Toastmasters?
"Should I hire a speaking coach, or join Toastmasters?"
I get this question all the time, and it's always the same answer: YES!
With 10 years of Toastmasters under my belt, I'm a strong believer in the program. Toastmasters gives you a weekly opportunity to speak in one way or another, a supportive audience always ready with feedback, and a wealth of educational information. And that's just on the speaking side. They also have a comprehensive leadership training program, and opportunities that could literally have you travelling the world before you're done.
That said, I'm also a speaking coach. While I advise all my clients to join Toastmasters, many of them have an event within a 1-4 weeks to prepare for, and Toastmasters simply doesn't have an intense enough program to for them to go from 0-60 in that short a time. Nor does Toastmasters have a program designed to teach preparing a long training session, a keynote speech, or sales presentation that is instantly available to new members. As a coach, I, and my peers, can provide that guidance immediately.
Not all speaking coaches are created equally, just as not all Toastmaster's Clubs are equally strong. Next week I'll discuss what to look for in a speaking coach (it won't be what you expect), and next Friday, I'll talk about finding the right Toastmaster club. Friday's will be designated Toastmaster-related posts, so tell your TM friends to be on the look out.
Most coaches provide one-on-one, project-oriented services as well as longer-term, goal oriented services. As I tell my clients, personal coaching is Toastmasters on Steroids. But I still expect them to go to the gym.
By all means, join Toastmasters. Then call me, or another coach in your area. You'll reach your goals faster than you felt possible.