Research reveals that a lot of people fear public speaking more than death and taxes. "The best speakers know enough to be scared... the only difference between the pros and the novice is that the pros have trained the butterflies to fly in formation," said Edward R. Murrow.
If that’s you, Toastmasters is your best option. In SoCal, primarily the Greater L.A. area or District 52, there are 110 Toastmasters chapters. This week, that number grew one more. Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) became number 111.
LAHSA is the lead agency in the Los Angeles Continuum of Care, which is the regional planning body that coordinates housing and services for homeless families and individuals in Los Angeles County. LAHSA manages over $70 million dollars annually in Federal, State, County and City funds for programs that provide shelter, housing and services to homeless persons in Los Angeles City and County. There are nearly 54,000 men, women and children, who have nowhere to call home on any given night in the greater L.A. area.
LAHSA was treated to two International Lt. Governors and Competent Toastmasters for District 52, Lance Webster, who also teaches public speaking at the local universities and Janet Walters, who attended the Spring Toastmasters Conference and competition in Glendale over the weekend (May 17, 2014).
“The only way you’re going to become a great speaker is to get up in front of this podium and do it,” said Walters to two dozen LAHSA employees, who signed up for the new club in downtown L.A. “The benefits are endless.”
Members will receive two Toastmaster manuals, 1) The Competent Communicator Manual” and 2) The Competent Leader Manual.”
The working manuals comes with 10 speeches with step-by-step outlines in organizing each exercise and speech. The first speech is an icebreaker all about you and your interests. Later lessons cover how to use props, eye contact, gestures and persuasion in getting your message across.
The leadership workbook includes tasks in 10 different categories commanding the meeting to helping you build confidence. Membership includes a a monthly international Toastmasters magazine with inside info about becoming a better presenter, speaker and overcoming the fear of public speaking.
“If you value self-development and becoming more confident at home and on your job, this is the best training you’ll find anywhere,” explained Lance Webster, International Toastmasters’ Lt. Governor, Dist. 52. “It’s fun, especially in the table topics segment of the meetings and it’s interesting in learning about your fellow colleagues.
Webster also said, everyone always talks about things in their own life. "Toastmasters doesn’t decide the topics of our speech, you do. So you will be talking about things you know and care about and through that you learn things about yourself and everyone else,” he said.
Webster also said Toastmasters clubs create a “sense of fun and family.”
International Toastmasters require all new clubs to have a minimum of 20 members to become a chartered club. LAHSA Toastmasters is open to the public. Contact LAHSACommunications@lahsa.org to join. For more about Toastmaster International visit: http://www.toastmasters.org.