Mastering the art of public speaking
Do you want to develop your public speaking and leadership skills in a friendly, supportive and multicultural environment?
1 Nov 2022

Do you want to develop your public speaking and leadership skills in a friendly, supportive and multicultural environment? If your answer is yes, the United Nations (UN) Geneva Toastmasters Club can help you achieve your goals!

Professionally, my activities have often focused on helping international organizations and individuals craft and share their stories with the world in a written format. Having heard about Toastmasters, three years ago I decided to find out more and participated in my first ever Toastmasters meeting. It wasn’t long before I officially joined the United Nations Geneva Toastmasters Club and I am happy to say that it has been an inspiring, rewarding and fun experience.

The UN Geneva Toastmasters club welcomes members from various cultural and professional backgrounds from inside as well as outside of the UN. The club is a friendly and supportive group that usually meets twice a month. If you join the UN Geneva Toastmasters club, you will have numerous opportunities to further develop and improve your public speaking skills while gaining lots of tips to accomplish your goals! For example, you will learn more about how to give prepared speeches of five to seven minutes or longer. During meetings, which last about an hour and a half, you will also enhance your impromptu speaking skills through Table Topics. These are shorter speeches that help members develop their ability to give a brief speech on the spot, usually through an impromptu question or topic.

A Toastmasters meeting

Giving speeches, providing feedback and also taking roles are all important aspects of being a Toastmaster. These activities contribute to the development of valuable public speaking and leadership skills which can also be applied at work or in other contexts. During meetings, as an evaluator of a speech for example, you can also practice or further develop your skills as a listener and share feedback in a positive manner that the speaker and other meeting participants can benefit from. Usually, all speeches are evaluated and there is an opportunity to reward the best speakers and evaluators. Time is also provided for general feedback and comments. When it comes to speeches, nobody is ever forced to give one. Sometimes, just by attending several meetings, members and guests develop more confidence by seeing and hearing others before they themselves feel ready to speak or stand in front of an audience. Members can also have a mentor, which is also a great way to develop your skills with a more experienced member of the club.

In addition to club meetings, members and guests have the opportunity to participate in joint meetings with other clubs, training events, educational workshops (members) and various contests both within and with other clubs. These contests start at the Area and District levels. The best speakers may eventually compete in the International Toastmasters Speech Contest with other Toastmasters from around the globe to win the coveted title of World Champion of Public Speaking.

When you join Toastmasters and especially our club, you become part of a global community that shares common public speaking and leadership goals. The UN Geneva Toastmasters Club also provides an opportunity to herald values that are dear to the UN, such as integrity, professionalism, diversity, service and excellence.

* Thomas Jewel is UN Geneva Toastmasters Club President.
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