Toastmasters - Page 2 - Social Anxiety Forum

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post #21 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-27-2012, 09:26 PM
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Hasn't helped me yet,I'm thinking of quitting.
Unfortunately this was my experience as well - I went to one meeting to see how it was and did not like it at all. I stopped going because I got into a class that was on the same evening that meetings were held, but even if I hadn't I would have been hesitant to go back.
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post #22 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 04:05 PM
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someone up the thread said one should find a TM group that matches you rather than fitting in. i sense it's a bit cheesy but reports from many people sound like it really can help.

i'm attending one session in 2 days. i fear a mix between it might be great and oh-no-there-i-go-again-throuw-my-time-down-thedrain.
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post #23 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-20-2012, 11:56 AM
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went to a TM club and found it interesting, liked it. felt like a safe environment to practise several social interaction aspects.

like many posts and internet reviews say, I did find that many people there had SA and they do have a clapping attitude. However, unlike said elswhere, these guys did not refrain from highlighting bad points and I thought all feedback was well balanced.

i could join that group, i find that after a while people might get bored with repetition (meeting structure repetition). however, that might be good to some (including me) because it offers structure, no doubt. i learned of another group nearby and that the other group is good, but a totally different bunch.

i say yes to toastmasters, impressed me well
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post #24 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-21-2012, 09:54 PM
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I've been in Toastmasters for 2.5 years now. When I first started, I went consistently then I went M.I.A. for 5 months. When I came back again, I had to start all over with facing my public speaking fears.

The goal is to 1) attend every meeting and 2) take all roles and participate in table topics. The more you attend meetings, the more comfortable you get with the other members and this makes you feel more safe (and feel free to embarrass yourself here). Taking on roles is essential because, I believe, they are the baby steps to becoming a great Toastmaster. Timer is a great beginner's role so do it! The more you attend, those butterflies in your stomach will fly together, rather than run rampant and frighten you to the whole public speaking and dealing with people process.

Much luck to those who attend! Remember, hard work and dedication to public speaking (and consequently overcoming social anxiety/phobia) will make us who we want to be: our best potential selves!

"If you can't sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It's the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep." - Dale Carnegie
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post #25 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-24-2012, 02:00 PM
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I attended five sessions in a row, but I felt that it wasn't helping at all. I wasn't able to make any speeches or even talk that much at all. The amount of clapping just seemed absurd to me, and I felt as though when I did utter anything, I was being judged (and not in a friendly way).

I realize that it's difficult to allow everyone a chance to speak, but I just ended up listening to other people speak about things I didn't care about, which wasn't the goal at all. I don't know, did I totally miss the point somehow?
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post #26 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-24-2012, 05:26 PM
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post #27 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-25-2012, 08:07 PM
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I attended five sessions in a row, but I felt that it wasn't helping at all. I wasn't able to make any speeches or even talk that much at all. The amount of clapping just seemed absurd to me, and I felt as though when I did utter anything, I was being judged (and not in a friendly way).

I realize that it's difficult to allow everyone a chance to speak, but I just ended up listening to other people speak about things I didn't care about, which wasn't the goal at all. I don't know, did I totally miss the point somehow?
I'm surprised you didn't get a chance to talk. Maybe the structure is different in some groups. In my group, if you're not on the agenda for a role or speech, you get a chance to do table topics or replace somebody who isn't present at the meeting. And if you want to make a speech or choose a role next time, you have to contact the TM leader ahead of time to get put on the agenda. We do have 35 members in our group, and they still try their best to give everyone a chance to talk! I'm also very interested in listening to what people have to say, and give them the same positive attitude as they would give me.
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post #28 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-17-2012, 03:13 PM
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I had let my social anxiety ruin my life. It kept me from job advancements, as I wouldn't speak up in meetings and, when I did, my blushing gave my insecurity away. I joined Toastmasters as a way to start working on my anxiety, and it made an amazing difference. After taking smaller roles in meetings, I began giving speeches. Over time, I became less self-conscious, and even started to have fun with it.

After several years of membership, I did the unthinkable: I applied for a job that required travel and public speaking. Eight years and 46 states later, I'm a living testament to Toastmasters. I even perform improvisational comedy with a group around Charlotte.

To be clear: Toastmasters is not a miracle cure. It will take effort, time and patience, but if you stick with it you will be amazed at the difference. Visit several different clubs before joining, as their "vibes" vary significantly and it's important to find the right one for you.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions about it, and good luck!
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post #29 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-20-2012, 06:26 PM
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I have been a Toastmaster for 5 years. It has been a great help to me. I am not the life of the party but I can speak up when asked. I am not nervous like I used to be.
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post #30 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-20-2012, 09:41 PM
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I had let my social anxiety ruin my life. It kept me from job advancements, as I wouldn't speak up in meetings and, when I did, my blushing gave my insecurity away. I joined Toastmasters as a way to start working on my anxiety, and it made an amazing difference. After taking smaller roles in meetings, I began giving speeches. Over time, I became less self-conscious, and even started to have fun with it.

After several years of membership, I did the unthinkable: I applied for a job that required travel and public speaking. Eight years and 46 states later, I'm a living testament to Toastmasters. I even perform improvisational comedy with a group around Charlotte.

To be clear: Toastmasters is not a miracle cure. It will take effort, time and patience, but if you stick with it you will be amazed at the difference. Visit several different clubs before joining, as their "vibes" vary significantly and it's important to find the right one for you.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions about it, and good luck!
Your story is inspiring ! I've reached a point in my professional life where I know I have to make a change and I've seriously thought of joining a toastmaster club. But something always holds me back, fear I guess. Mainly fear that the outcome won't be what I hoped for. But one of these days I know I'll pay them a visit. Thanks for posting, really made me want to give it a try....

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post #31 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 12:43 PM
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Is it possible that simply learning to overcome my fear of public speaking would affect my social anxiety in every other area of my life?
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post #32 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 03:11 AM
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Helpful reviews, thanks. I've been thinking about giving this a try for a while although now I'm not so sure.
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post #33 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-10-2013, 12:44 PM
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Toastmasters is an okay thing to go to if you want to make some friendships. Just be prepared to make a fool out of yourself a lot in front of a large group of people because that is often what you have to do. I have seen people literally bribe the audience into liking their speeches. Personally, I just feel like it's a waste of time and money because in the grand scheme of things, none of my speeches even mattered.

I am a believer the the Twelve-step Program.
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post #34 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-10-2013, 02:08 PM
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A toastmaster meeting is 3 parts. First part is prepared speech where you give a 5 - 7 minute talk about anything that interest you. Newbies are intimidated by this. Remember you are there to be comfortable in front of an audience.

Second part is table topics or impromptu speech for 1-2 minutes. You are asked a question and you have 1 -2 minutes to respond. I used to be scared of table topics. Now I am a seasoned toastmaster, I learned not to answer the question but talk about anything I wish to talk about for 1- 2 minutes.

Third part is evaluation where you will evaluate the speech given by another speaker. Evaluation is generally the sandwich method. You say what you liked about the speech then where the speaker can improve and finally what you liked about the speech.

Please join toastmasters. It will help you overcome some of your SA.
I joined Toastmasters in the past (at least 3 times, 5-10 years ago) and each time it has helped me greatly. Table topics taught me to be able to talk about different topics and that helped me in social situations when I have to talk to different people. When I had to do my first speech, that helped me practice and see what I had to work on and also what I was good at already. It helped me grow because by speaking in front of a group, it helped me feel more comfortable speaking up in social situations. No, I am not cured of SA but I am much better at socializing than I used to be.
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post #35 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-25-2013, 09:48 PM
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I went to my first Toastmaster group today. It was a very popular group apparently, there were more than 30 members total. I was greeted by a few very mature and experienced gentlemen wearing official badges for TM. I found the meeting to be very structured, in fact one of the most formal meetings I've been to (like a city hall meeting). TM makes public speaking seem like a hobby almost, as theres ongoing competitions and prizes involved within the organization. Almost everbody gets put on the agenda for minor roles such as time keeping and grammerist or bigger roles like making a speech. For those that aren't, they're included in the table topics to give impromptu speeches. It seems like everbody has to speak at some point.

I felt somewhat nervous when I had to introduce myself briefly, but I also understood that many people feel or felt the same way. I was somewhat overwhelmed though by the amount of people there and imagining giving a speech in front of such a large audience would be frightening (and of course being evaluated afterwards!). There is so much to learn about public speaking like tone, content, gestures, emotions, when getting past the anxiety part is a feat in of itself! How could you even think about the right way to speak when you're too scared to? A lot of practice apparently. I wish there would be an intermediate step before making a public speech and I'm not sure how to go about it.
Update: I can't believe its been over a year since I wrote that! I'm still going to Toastmasters, and guess who won a "Best Speaker" of the night ribbon??? GUESS!

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post #36 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-07-2013, 06:03 AM
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I am totally with Drew on this. I don't think that toastmasters is necessarily good for people with social anxiety. As Drew mentioned Toastmasters is not about helping and encouraging people, but it seems to be more about perfection and nit picking. That was the experience I had anyway when I joined a club. Perhaps all clubs are not like that and some are friendlier.

I was expected to be 'perfect' in any role I performed. If I deviated in the slightest from the normal procedure I would be corrected. There was even this woman in the club who would interrupt me while I was performing a role to tell me that I was doing it wrong. Not a good way to build confidence. Every time I performed a major role I came home feeling really bad, which was not good for me at all.

As others have mentioned if you are using Toastmasters to overcome social anxiety, then you need to have done some sort of training or therapy before hand to be sure you can cope with Toastmasters. Perhaps something like group therapy would be a better option. It is a much safer and nurturing environment.
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post #37 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-09-2013, 10:52 AM
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Someone suggested I join about a year or so ago and I thought you needed to take a public speaking class or something to join because the person said it would be helpful for me to get over my SA and meet new people which sounds like a great idea but at the same time I am extremely nervous.
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post #38 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-20-2014, 02:24 PM
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Talking

Excited!


After reading this forum I was encouraged to join Toastmasters! I had my first session yesterday, and I can't stress just how confident I felt after just one! I had a spring in my step, and I am so excited for what the future can bring! I am most excited at the prospect of being able to voice my opinion and influence others.

I think the hardest thing about the session was doing the table topics because I just had no idea what to say, but I said whatever came to mind and it wasn't great, but I didn't care! I was just so proud I got up in front of an entirely new group of people and was honest and truthful... and they didn't bite my head off after all. They were all so supportive, and there were also a few other new people there who were just as nervous as I was.

I can't wait to receive my manuals and get started on improving my speaking skills. It will look amazing on my resume and give me a major advantage when I go looking for work! I definitely recommend it!!
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post #39 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-21-2015, 08:48 AM
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I've been to 2 TM groups. The first one was ok but I didn't click with the people. The 2nd one has been amazing, I love the vibe and the people. The chemistry of the people makes a big difference so be sure to shop for the right group.

Before nearly every meeting I feel nervous and after nearly every meeting I feel empowered and happy. That pretty much sums it up.

If you're ready to put in some effort and work for your recovery, you should give TM a try.
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