I have a fear of public speaking. More precisely, I should describe it as a phobia. I’m not really scared, I just react badly when I get up in front of a large group of people. My blood pressure starts to rise, my skin starts to get flush, and worst of all, I lose all ability to think on the fly. I’m not so bad if I have something prepared, but God forbid if I have to think up something right then and there.Learning to be a better public speaker is a great thing. But conquering this area of my life probably wouldn’t be enough for me to practice public speaking every other week. I don’t make very many public speeches. But the benefits that go along with learning public speaking will help me in my every day life and in my game with women.
Women are attracted to the man up on the podium speaking to hundreds of people, whether he’s a preacher, a politician, or a professor. He is the one wielding control over the room and captivating the multitudes. True charisma is the ability to seduce thousands, not just one person.
Toastmasters is a worldwide nonprofit organization for the purpose of helping its members improve public speaking, communication, and leadership skills. Joining a Toastmasters club is one of the best things you can do to improve several aspects of your game at once. I joined a club about three months ago and it has been a fantastic experience. The people there were skilled and knowledgeable and at the same time, they were warm, friendly and supportive in helping new people learn the ropes.
Toastmasters grooms you to speak in front of large groups of people by criticizing your public speaking. They teach you to focus on things like body language: Don’t rock back and forth when you speak. Move comfortably around when you speak. Make solid eye contact. Vary your tone of voice. Vary your pace but don’t speak too quickly. Sound familiar? These are all things you should be focusing on when you approach women.
You will also get criticized on your language. A person will keep track of how many people say unnecessary words like: um, you know, and stuff, right, like, etc. Eliminating riff raff from your vocabulary makes you a more effective and high-value communicator– exactly what you’re looking for when communicating with women.
Developing Leadership Skills
One of the best aspects of Toastmasters is their focus on teaching leadership skills. Everyone at a Toastmasters meeting are volunteers. There are numerous roles at a meeting and the person in each role gets up in front of the room and conducts that part of the meeting and or gives reports about that part of the meeting. The person who listens and keeps track of vocabulary errors is one example. Another example is the person who times the speeches. There are usually two or three people who give a 5-minute prepared speech at every meeting. There are also people designated to critique those speakers. Those people get up in front of the room and speak as well when criticizing the prepared speeches. This way, a meeting will rarely pass when you would not get up and practice speaking.
And some of these people are excellent speakers. They know how to captivate an audience. They are a diverse group of people and are varying ages as well. Some of them have been in Toastmasters for 20 years or more. The speeches they give are usually insightful and worth a listen, even if just to see how people can communicate. At the same time, they provide an amazingly supportive environment for a new person to learn. These people know what it was like to have such a fear of public speaking. This makes it also easier to get up in front of a group like this and speak.
How Toastmasters Helped My Approach Anxiety
When you’ve never done it before and you begin approaching women, the approach anxiety can be nerve-wracking. It was an emotional roller-coaster ride for me when I started. If I talked to three women, by the end of the night I would be drained. I felt like I’d been through an emotional heavyweight title match.
As I did more approaches, the fear and anxiety lessened. But Toastmasters helped out as well. The fear of approaching women is very similar to that fear of getting up in front of a group of people and speaking. As I got more comfortable with one, I became more comfortable with the other as well.
There are thousands of Toastmasters clubs around the country and many in New York City. They have bi-weekly meetings that last two hours. Different clubs meet at different times.
The first few times you go to Toastmasters you’ll be a guest. You’ll be offered the opportunity to speak in their impromptu section where they give you a random topic and you speak for 2-3 minutes off the top of your head. It’s a great exercise.
After a few times of attending meetings you’ll be expected to become a member. It’s $67 a year to be a member. This allows you to attend any of the meetings, not just the club you joined. You also get educational materials and an opportunity to speak in their competitions where you can get up in front of hundreds of people, not just the 15-25 people at each meeting. They also try to set you up with a mentor.
I earlier put up a review of improv comedy classes at UCB which I think were a bit more beneficial to my game. So if I were to choose one, I would choose the improv classes. But Toastmasters is an excellent way to improv many aspects of your game. It helps you to get over your approach anxiety, become more alpha, and communicate effectively with women. It is something I could see myself doing for years because of the benefits. Learning public speaking is even just a great hobby with truly useful benefits.
If you want to join a local club, there is no obligation the first few times you go. Here is a link if you want to locate a club near you: http://www.toastmasters.org/find/