Toastmasters – Another side!!

Hi everyone, I attended Chandigarh toastmasters (TM) club meet yesterday as a guest. I was really impressed by some of the speakers and not so impressed by some of them! To my pleasant surprise I was chosen to speak on a table topic and I am so glad that it happened as it save me around Rs 3500 and a lot of agony and pain in future!

Actually while speaking on the given topic I became aware about what I knew already – WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A GOOD COMMUNICATOR. And its NOT fluency! One of the most important thing to be a good communicator is clarity of thoughts. Now clarity of thoughts come from reading, writing and sharing/discussing, then more reading, more writing and more discussing and then doing it more and more (I want to write more and more a hundred times :-). So toastmaster may help you ONLY IF you have got this basic thing – clarity of thoughts and a lot of things to speak about i.e. knowledge.

In Toastmasters the language for communication is English which is very obvious as the group started in west. So people like me who don’t have English as their first language (and are really poor at English :-), toastmasters is not really the place to be! Why would you want to stand there for 5 minutes per week with your EMPTY HEAD and only say umh, aaaa (By the way standing silently in front of a large audience for 5 minutes can very therapeutic..But you don’t need to pay for it in country of 1.2 billion people :-)..

Some of us just fall for it by listening to some good speakers in TM without realizing that why they are good speakers! I would rather go and work as a volunteer for any NGO on every saturday and talk to people there only in English and improve on my communication in English. Also It would be better if I buy books worth Rs 3500 and then spend 1800 on books every six months (these are toastmasters fees) so that I read more and more. Also start my own blog and do such more meaningful things for me rather than just join the herd mentality!

P.S. Do go to toastmasters a few times as guests to get adrenaline rush and also to learn time management skills. These guys had their eye on the watch through out the meeting!! Even though i didn’t do well in my table topic speech, I was really surprised to see how accepting i was of myself as a human being and how easily i was able to concentrate on the NOW in next moment!

Post Author: Harish Usgaonker

12 thoughts on “Toastmasters – Another side!!


    (February 13, 2011 - 3:37 pm)

    I stammer. I mean quite a lot. Thank for ur post. I know TM is not for me. I must spek first. Become comfortable with self. Then, may be..


    (February 13, 2011 - 4:30 pm)

    Mr JP,
    I both agree and disagree with you.Well,your case is totally different from most recovering pws.You have accepted your stammer 100 % ,but for most others it is easier said than done.I joined the toastmaster with an aim,an aim to improve with each passing day,for years I have lived in a box but now I like challenging myself,i stuttered a lot on my table topic but the feeling i spoke for 1:44 minutes when most guests couldnt speak for even a minute was just so cool,For the first time I went willingly to speak in front of a crowd,it really is a good way to remove my fears !!!! I dont know about others but i know it will work for me !!I am still feeling confident just because i talked for 1:44 minutes there !!! Mr J.P. is also right,it may not be for everybody,but i love it !!!

    Vaibhav Talegaonkar

    (February 13, 2011 - 6:13 pm)

    @JP: it depends on person to person.
    @dhruva: i agree with you.TM is a good place to remove fear.People listen carefully thr which is good to see(Although you pay for that but doesn't matter)


    (February 13, 2011 - 6:23 pm)

    Fear, yes. But fear is not the only thing stammerers have to fight with. They also have huge amount of shame (remember the ice-berg? 90%)- They also fear the "block": What will I do if i get one of those blocks?

    Does TM offers something for the deep seated shame? Does it teach you block correction techniques, for the money it charges?


    (February 14, 2011 - 3:58 am)

    I guess its a nice discussion going on here 🙂


    (February 14, 2011 - 9:00 am)

    I totally disagree with Mr.JP. Toastmaster is full of success stories of PWS who became successful communicators and motivational speakers. I myself have gained a lot after joining the club.For the first time in my life I am in such an encouraging and supportive atmosphere. Where fellow toastmasters encourage you to speak. Effective communication is entirely different with knowledge. It is not correct to say that once you have knowledge on a particular subject a PWS can properly communicate the same to an audience. In the chandigarh toastmasters club meet 29.01.2011 I had won the best speaker award in the table topic session. Before that I had the obsession that I can not perform in this session. After winning the same I became very emotional while expressing my thanks to the club. That is one of my biggest achievement for which all credit goes to the Toastmaster only.Moreover it is a personal choice. It all depends upon what we want to achieve in life. What are our personal goals.How and upto what extent we have accepted our stuttering. I personally believe that Mr. JP should have put some restraint while writing such incorrect negative things about the Toastmaster, which is certainly going to discourage the PWS. I had joined the club on the recommendation of Dr. Sachin, for which I am ever grateful to him, for showing me the correct place for further improving my communication.I request Dr. Sachin to comment on the created issue . And Mr. Manohar you also please write something. I had received tremendous support from you before giving my ice breaker speech in Toastmaster club, for which I am highly obliged.


    (February 14, 2011 - 9:33 am)

    Let me first share a few basic reasons behind sharing my experience on the blog –

    1. Toastmasters is being promoted BLINDLY to Indian PWS, which I am totally against! Lets stop bringing success stories of people who have English as their mother tongue or are good at the language! Would you recommend toastmasters to someone who is not very good at English ? Personally i would ask the person to read more and more books, write more often, watch good news/movie channels! And may be then join toastmasters!

    2. How does toastmasters help me deal with the emotional baggage that I may be carrying ? (Majority of us are struck due to this!)

    I still stand by my point that Toastmasters in NOT for everyone (certainly not in India and other countries where English is not our first language)!

    It will be better if learn the good things from toastmasters and use them to improve our SHG meetings!

    I would always recommend a well planned and executed SHG meeting over toastmaster meet to a PWS!

    Regarding challenging yourself, I doubt whether toastmasters will remain a challenge after a few meets!

    If someone really wants to challenge themselves, you will have to be really innovative! Go and volunteer in a school for weaker section! Stand in a bus and shout that you stammer! GO to a shopping mall and try to approach people who seem to be in a rush! Go for stuttering interviews every weekend! Buy a box of pens and try to sell them as a salesman! Need more ideas ? 🙂

    vaibhav talegaonkar

    (February 15, 2011 - 10:26 am)

    @Jasbir ji: Sir i m fully agree with you.TM really helps to gain confidence(although i didn't go thr but i m sure.)
    @JP: i think start should be from small place.You can't go in front of 5o or 100 people's at first time(i m not talking abt have accepted 100% of ur stammering and u r now habitual but others are not).Second thing not necessary to go TM, a person can join any speaking classes where he/she can improve English as well as gain some confidence as there are few ppl.

    vaibhav talegaonkar

    (February 15, 2011 - 10:31 am)

    one more thing i want to say when u will go to public how many ppl want to listen you ?
    But in TM or any English speaking classes everybody will listen carefully and appreciate or criticize you.which is really helpful.


    (February 15, 2011 - 11:01 am)

    For people who go to toastmasters thinking that it is some kind of speech therapy,then they are wrong.Toastmasters is a place where people who are not confident of their communication skills join,and then improve at their own pace,its not just the impromptu speech(its just a part),one person introduces a new word at every meeting(wordmaster),one tells a joke(jokemaster),and then there are prepared speeches of about 4 minutes duration,this saturday is my first meet as a member and i am the wordmaster while one other guy who joined a week before has already given a prepared speech,but I am going slow,so what i believe is that when you are recovering your stutter,then you should keep on taking steps to improve your speech everyday(however small they may be),6 months ago I couldnt gather the courage even to join an english speaking course,but now I know I am ready to take the next step,my next step is to speak in public and I cant find a better way than toastmasters to fulfill dat !!! I believe it will make me practice more,it will give me a reason to work hard.


    (February 15, 2011 - 2:41 pm)

    In my opinion the debated post is not totally against the TM as it only calls for some fundamentals of English one need to know before enrolling for the course. To join or not to join TM or any personality development Platform is one own decision and undoubtedly such courses improve communication skills in long run.
    Given the fact that a large chuck of PWS are unemployed, it might not be possible for them to join paid courses and hence TISA may come at their rescue.. isn't..?? .Therefore we should focus our ideas in getting more and more PWS in TISA and keeping Toastmaster as a supplementary for those who can afford it.
    Recently I am hearing a lot about TM in TISA, before that I did’t know the existence of such organizations..:). I am certainly looking forward to join TM if I get an opportunity in near future.


    A R Hirani

    (July 5, 2014 - 7:01 pm)

    I came to know about TM on youtube while searching for amazing speeches and I watched the whole competition of 2012 and 2013. It was truly fab.I am a stutterer and I like speaking very much but often times words are hard to come out! I think TM is a great opportunity for PWS to remove their anxiety and fear from the mind. May be some people won't agree to me because they think that TM is for the people who can speak confidently,but they are partially right.It can very well prove to be a grand stage for people who fear public speaking because they will be between those who are more or less like them and that would prove to be a confidence booster in itself.

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