From small group introductions to presentations on stage with large audiences, there will come a time in most people’s careers when public speaking is required. The anxiety around public speaking is well-known, but even if it isn’t someone’s worst fear, very few people are excited about the prospect of speaking in front of others. Preparation and practice, however, will pay off in terms of reduced anxiety, and may even have you excited about your next speaking opportunity.
College is a great place to practice creating presentations, speaking in front of the class, receiving feedback from other speakers, and giving feedback. However, there is still an opportunity for speaking engagements through a great community resource called Toastmasters.
With club locations in over 120 countries, Toastmasters is one of the most well-known organizations supporting people who are learning how to speak publicly. It provides a low-pressure atmosphere where you can engage in workshops that will help you learn and practice communication and leadership skills. In addition, it is a great place to network with other professionals. There is a small membership fee required to be able to participate at the club level, but Toastmasters has a number of free resources for public speaking and leadership skills on their web site.
I found great tips in this article How to get the most out of Toastmasters for both new and current members.
I encourage you to visit them at www.toastmasters.org/ to see what they offer and to find a Toastmaster’s club in your area.