My experience with Toastmaters

I joined Toastmasters to network with others so I can find a new career away from customer service dead end jobs.  This will show the issues I have with Toastmasters and give advice on how to network with others  – and how to NOT run into the trouble I did with joining or staying “in”  the meetings.

You can’t “network” with others if you

1. are at work when the networking events happen

2. don’t stick around long enough to engage others

3. Don’t come early enough to engage with others

4. Don’t trade your number with others.

Networking can be at a church – get their really early (What I enjoy doing).  Or stay later to chat (What I hate doing since I don’t enjoy donuts or other junk food around me and I do not see to see it near me).

To network with others you need to be around others. For my current position, it makes it difficult to “Be” around others when I work each and every Saturday and Tuesday.  Many networking events happen on Tuesday at 10am, and I don’t know why.  I would think that is the WORST time to have a networking meeting for professionals since – are not most people at work at 10am?  I mean, unless this is networking for UNEMPLOYED professionals that are LOOKING for a career in their chosen field. But 10am? I’ve looked on  Always on a Tuesday.  I work every Tuesday.

I also joined Toastmasters since I wanted to increase my confidence -specifically during job interviews.  I want to help me. I want more money, I want a better job, I want to make $40K year NOW. Not next year. Not by 2020.  Now, June 2016. I need to make that much to pay all of my bills and all of my mothers bills. Should she go into a SNIF, I must be able to pay all house unities.  Can’t do that on $24K a year.

I should be making $40K a year now. but how do I get it from A to B? Employers want people that are confident! Employers want people that can SELL THEMSELVES on the interview. Show me what you got in 3 minutes or less. I’m sure that is all the time any boss has due to their limited time constants and their deadlines their boss puts on them, the other interviews they need to do and NOT TO MENTION  – they probably HATE doing interviews more than you do and YOU are the one being interviewed.  *****I have experience in interviewing others and I hate interviewing others. Many do not show up to the interview and don’t call me to let me know they are not coming.

Toastmasters is one area where you can network with others.

I have found some interesting things about Toastmasters. Each one is different. What I like about it is that you get to LEARN how to lead. You get to LEARN how to make mistakes in your speech.  Now, you need to pick your own speeches. It gives you guidelines on each speech and there are 10 speeches in the Competent Communicator book. It took me a little over a year to complete it since I don’t go to each and every meeting and I didn’t do 1 speech every month. There were months were I didn’t do any speeches due to work.

The bad thing about Toastmasters is, if you don’t see one in your area when it is convenient for you to go, then someone will say “Start your own”, which makes you – the Toastmaster or at least – The President of the Club.  Congrads! You just made yourself a leader by starting your own club!

I refuse to start my own club on a Sunday 2pm-3:30pm (That is a very convenient time for me to go). I went to a meeting at 12pm Thursdays, which was hard for me to get to since it is smack dab right in the middle of my errands and I’d have to STOP everything at 10am just to go home at 10:30am to make lunch for my disabled mom – have it ready by 11am and be out the door by 11:35am to be on time. For me to stop everything at 10am is way too early. I’m just getting started at 8am with errands. Plus right now Thursday is like a Sunday to me.  The other issue was my 1 hour staff meeting at 3pm and I’d need to leave home at 1:45pm to get there on time for parking.  That did not leave me enough time to leave the TM meeting, get home, eat and leave. I mean, if I wanted to NETWORK at Toastmasters, I”d have to start chatting at 1pm and leave around 1:20pm since the TM meeting was over at 1pm. But If I left the meeting at 120pm, I’d get home around 1:35pm and that would be way too much of a rush for me to up and leave again at 1:45pm. Not enough time to take a breather.

So I changed meetings to San Jacinto Tue Night at 6:30pm starting time and they end at 8pm. Not good when you don’t live in San Jacinto. I’d be so freaking tired from waking up at 4:30am for work on Tuesdays and by 7pm, I’m beat.  I often just wanted to leave at 7:20pm sharp due to being so tired. If I left at 8pm, I would not get home until freaking 8:50pm. That is just too late.

The other issue is that not all membership meetings do the little “tell me how I did” notes. The one in Menifee at 12pm at least said “Okay, now lets write notes to the speaker and let them know how they did on their speech”. The one in San Jaicnto does not do that. I don’t understand why the meeting in San Jacinto is 1.5 hours and the only in Menifee is 1 hour.

The good thing about this different meeting is that I’m am meeting different people. However, I don’t STICK AROUND after the meeting to chat. I’m tired and when I’m tired I get grumpy and I don’t smile at others.

Right now I just did my Ice Breaker at the 2nd TM group I belong to. I already did my Ice Breaker in Menifee in early 2016. But I’m told each time you join a NEW TM club – you are expected to do your Ice Breaker for your 1st speech since they don’t know you. I still need to do speech number 1 from my advanced manual. Since I don’t normally go on Tuesday at 630pm, I’m not getting these speeches done. Seems like a waste of money to me.

My advice to anyone that would like to join Toast Masters is to look at the international website and find a club less than 13 miles away from your home. If it is longer than 13 miles away from your home (or your job), then you will likely not go.

Pick and time that you can go each and every meeting. If you pick a meeting where you know you can attend and you know it is not that far from home – but you can only make it 1 time a month  —— then you are probably going to go only 1 time a month. You may also find excuses to NOT go at all. I’m too tired. I’m too busy. I have not practiced my speech.

The best thing you can do is pick a place where you know you an go each time it meets. If that means you need to drive 18 miles one way —yet you KNOW that you can make the meeting EACH TIME it meets  – then go to that one.

There is nothing worse than paying $60 or $80 twice a year if you don’t go to EVERY SINGLE MEETING.  You are throwing your money away (it is an investment in yourself) if you only go once a month (Unless the meeting only meets once a month. In that case, the premiums should be less than $60 every 6 months)

The other thing is – do not go on “your Sunday”.  If you work Tue thru Saturday and you are off Sunday and Monday and you want to “kick it” like you do on Monday – or may be you run a LOT of errands on Monday — do NOT use Monday and your TM days.  You will feel rushed if you need to get errands done that day.  TM club is a LOT Of work and you will not be “kicking it” on Mondays. You will be asked to do things and you may not want to do anything. You may want to binge on your favorite show on Netflix on Monday. If you have a career where you work 40 plus hours a week, you may find it difficult to join a club, especially if you have a family to care for in addition to working 40 plus hours a week.