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So, I am so sick of people calling me quiet. Last night my professor totally called me out on this in front of the entire class (pretty much was like 'yeah, you're so quiet I don't even know your name... are you shy?'). Sounds silly, but I'm still stewing over this. Afterwards some girls came up to me and started asking me why I don't talk. How rude to point out my flaws. I wanted to say 'how come you won't stop talking?'

So, I decided that I should try to do toast masters or something. My therapist mentioned it was a good way to overcome public speaking. Does anyone have experience with this?
 

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Your professor is typical of most professor's who are extroverts that love yapping in front of as many people as possible. The girls, same thing pretty much. It doesn't enter their world view, that to you, they are just as weird for not shutting up. You were right, they were wrong.

I was in toastmasters for a good 8 months or so, and I joined for the exact same reasons you're thinking of.

I'll give you the run down of how it works. You go to a meeting that's typically held at either a rented spot, or in a business that want's to be promoted. In my case it was a bank.

Most of the people there were sales people. Others had jobs where they needed to present a lot and they used the meetings as a practice round for speeches they had to give at work.

The meetings usually took place once a week and lasted an hour. During the hour, it would break down usually to two or three speeches per the hour. Every speech was followed then by a critique from a specified person who got up in front of everyone and then critiqued the previous persons speech. The speeches were done in the format of these instruction manuals that all members are given when they join. For example a manual may have 10 speeches in it that your suppose to do your first year. And the first speech will be your "icebreaker", where you talk about yourself. The second speech may be "humor", where you focus on making jokes ect. The idea of the program is progress through all the books, as do more speeches and build your skills the speech scenarios become more sophisticated.

There were other duties also like introducing people and starting and ending the meeting.

The meetings always ended with something called "table topics", where a random person would be picked and then asked a question. And on the spot you're not suppose to know the answer to the question, your just suppose to respond with whatever comes to your mind first. So for example you may be asked "what's your favorite fish". And from there you're just suppose to talk about "fish" for the next minute or so.

At the end of the meetings, you vote for what speech you liked best. Also throughout the meetings you make anonymous comments after each speech that you give to the speakers.

All in all, I'd say it can be pretty helpful. They're usually glad to have new members and they never rush you into speaking. They give you whatever amount of time you need before you want to make a speech. You can always push your date back if you want. Also you don't come up with a speech when you're there. You're given like a week or two weeks before you do your speech to write one out.

I will say most people are just going there to get better in the narrow area of public presentations. As in they are trying to overcome a performance anxiety in that specific area.

I'll say I did benefit from it, I learned how to give speeches and I picked up some skills for making small talk from doing "table topics".

If you have any questions I'd love to answer them. Send me a PM or post here.
 
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