My experience with Toastmaters

I must admit it. I joined Toastmasters to network with others so I can find a new and exciting job. The big problem with that?  You can’t “network” with others if you are 1. scared to talk to others 2. don’t stick around long enough to engage others or 3. Don’t come early enough to engage with others and 4. Don’t trade your number with others so to network with others when you both are not there.   I also joined since I wanted to increase my confidence -specifically during job interviews. So my reason for joining is completely selfish in nature. I want to help me. I want more money, I want a better job, I want to make $36K a year NOW. Not next year. Not by 2020.  Now, June 2016. I should be making that, but how do I get it? Employers want people that are confident!

I’m an introvert or so I seem to think a part of me is. I know there is one person that reads this and that person would tell you that I’m NOT an introvert once I start to feel comfortable with a group. The issue (for me) with Toastmasters is three fold

1. You got to pick your own topic that you are going to speak about.  YOU pick the speech. They don’t tell you what to talk about. Sure, you get a book that tells you the “how” of the speech, but the “What” is your part. Are you going to talk about cars and how to fix them?  Great. If you enjoy that topic, you will probably talk about it.  You got to have an idea what you want to talk about.  If you don’t have that down, then each month you will probably dread “the day that you signed up to give your speech”.  I’m sorry, but I need YOU to give me a topic to research and then I can talk about it. That is what was so EASY about earning my MBA. I was TOLD what topic/CEO/Company/etc to look up and I looked it up and created a paper on what I was TOLD to look up. Or I was given a choice “Company A, B or C” and I picked one.

So far, I’ve given three speeches (the 1st book is 10 or 12 speeches, so the average person will go through the 1st book in one year). Now, I joined in April 2016. It’s been 12 weeks. That’s it. Now you may think “you can quit, can’t you?” Not so fast. I’ll explain that later.

2. You got to study your topic AND you must schedule your time accordingly. For me, I usually volunteer to give one speech every 5 to 6 weeks since every 4 weeks is just too much for me. I’m BUSY on my days off and when I get busy, I don’t schedule time to study my topic or write down an outline. I get shit done on my days off since NOW I finally have some type of income.   So each Monday/ Wed/Thurs I’m busy going there, here, there, with mom to her MD appointments (and she has A LOT of them).  When I work, I get up at 4:30am to get to work by 7am and I’m home by 5pm and guess what happens when I get home? I do NOT go online to look up some topic that I want to talk about.  Why would I want to research more? Haven’t I done that enough during my MBA years and my undergrad years?

3. Study your topic AND provide references /the source to back up what you are saying (at least I think each speech requires this.  What if you already KNOW a topic from previous experience? Must I list the websites that I went to – IF I already have first hand knowledge about the topic I’m talking about?  Really? List some references? So I’m planning on talking about Zen Buddhism soon. My question is, What is this? An APA paper? It’s a freaking speech!   The reason I know about Zen Buddhism and how to meditate is because I went to a practitioner and paid that person for 2 years and we meditated together I already KNOW what Zen is, I know how to cook up a 5-7 minute speech in no time since I already KNOW it. An outline is a little different.  But I think the requirements for each speech is “Look up a source and share it in speech”. I’m not sure.

3. Make sure you enjoy your job and if you don’t – don’t go to Toastmasters on YOUR Sunday. My Monday is Fridays.   I work three days a week and I don’t really enjoy my part-time job. I’m not going to state what it is that I do for a living since I don’t want others to know how I am. In addition to that – I don’t want to complain about my job.  Now if you enjoy your work, you are probably going to look forward to going to work. Right?  Guess what day my Toastmasters is? It is on Thursdays and Thursday is MY SUNDAY! I don’t enjoy going in on Thursdays since I KNOW that the very next day (Friday) is my Monday. I endure the job I have for 9 hours and I say “endure” since I get bored at my job!  My boss has seen me roll my eyes and she knew that I got bored at my job since I told her.  She left! She found a new job. She was only there 2 months, less time than me.  Okay, I’m done complaining.

So now. Why don’t I quit? I was given a “scholarship” to TM since my income feel by about $200 right when I got interested in TM. So I need to commit to 6 months or at least until August or is it September 2016. I’m not going to state which TM I meet at.  If you did what I do for a living – and making the kind of chunk change I’m making working only 3 days a week, you probably wouldn’t volunteer to join a club where YOU need to pay $36 every 6 months since no one can live on only 24 hours a week.   So if you are serious about joining TM, just know. It’s not a piece of cake. It’s work. It’s harder than earning a freaking MBA.  I so don’t want to go anymore. Even if I do enjoy meditation, I just don’t want to talk about it! (Hence, why I need a job where I don’t need to talk much).  I will probably get much better with table topics as time goes on (which could make me a better leader and better job interviewer)  the impromptu speech is where you speech off the cuff with no preparation (1-2 minutes only) and you are asked a question and you need to answer it.

But creating an outline and studying is getting very “worky” – to me.

Oh, just as a side note, I got best speaker for 1st speech and best table topics a few weeks back. I’m working on my table topics more since I need to get better with off the cuff speaking. And I never really “hated” giving presentations during my MBA or undergraduate studies. I was given a topic and that was actually fun.