This is what I say when I’m trying to explain to people who are scared of public speaking why it’s a good idea to join Toastmasters.
Speaking in front of large groups is often nerve-wracking for people. That’s because when you have to make a presentation, it’s to clients, at a conference or a community meeting — and you only get one chance to get your message across.
No wonder public speaking is terrifying. It’s all or nothing. If these are the stakes every time you have to make a speech, when can you practice?
You can practice at Toastmasters. Toastmasters is full of people like you. They’ve joined because they want to be better speakers. They’re supportive. They would never make fun of anyone for stuffing up.
I’ve got a story for you. This happened backstage at the grand final of the international Toastmasters competition one year. The contestants were waiting to get on stage. One guy was relaxing against the wall. Another guy was pacing anxiously backwards and forward, forward and backwards.
“What’s wrong, mate?” the relaxed guy said.
“I’m nervous, really nervous,” said the anxious man.
“Nervous?” The first man was incredulous. “What for? It’s Toastmasters! Even if you’re crap, they’ll still clap!”
Even if you’re crap, they’ll still clap. That, my friends, is the philosophy of Toastmasters.