Advertising
Advertising

Why You Need To Be A Toastmaster

Why You Need To Be A Toastmaster
Toastmaster

I came home for Christmas break last year and the first word’s out of my parents mouth’s were “You look taller, have you grown?”

Only six months had passed since I last saw them, and I hadn’t grown one inch. I was sure of it.

I thought nothing of it until a few days later when I realized what had happened, I’d become a more confident person.

Confidence can do funny things to you. It can change the way you walk, how straight you stand, how high you hold your head, and how your eyes move.

All of these barely perceptible movements come into play when people size you up.

Advertising

Several studies have shown that people decide a lot about you in the first two seconds, and the vast majority of it is related to body language.

Malcolm Gladwell related one such study in his best-seller Blink.

The researchers in this study compared the evaluations that two groups of students had filled out about some professors. The first group spent a semester in the class of each professor, and evaluated them at the end of the semester. The second group was only allowed to evaluate the professors based on a two-second video clip of them teaching. The video clip had no sound.

Remarkably, the second group of students, who had seen nothing more than a two second clip of the professors teaching, rated their ability as a teacher in the same order as the first group 78% of the time.

Advertising

If they were shown a 10 second video clip of the professor teaching (still with no sound) the percentage went up to over 90%.

Is it really possible that we make up our minds in the first few seconds? Apparently so, and its the power of first impressions at work!

So if your body really is broadcasting such a loud message to the world, do you know what it’s saying?

We can all improve out body language, and one of the best ways I know how is through a group called Toastmasters.

Advertising

Toastmasters is a non-profit organization designed to teach public speaking. Members meet once per week (there are clubs in every major city in the World) and work through manuals to practice giving various speeches.

You may be called from the audience to give a two minute speech on the spot with zero preparation! Or you may prepare a speech before the meeting and deliver it while focusing on a specific area to improve. Or you may be called to evaluate another member and offer advice for improvement (and yes, you’ll be doing this with another speech!)

On the surface, Toastmasters is only about public speaking, but underneath it is so much more.

You’ll get constructive feedback in a supportive environment on all sorts of issues, not the least of which is your body language.

Advertising

While giving a speech, your nervous ticks tend to come out. It wasn’t until I started going to Toastmasters that I began to see problems in my eye contact and nervous gestures I would make (not to mention non body language problems like saying “umm” ever few seconds).

I watched video recording of my speeches, and I couldn’t believe what I look like! My hands would be clasped awkwardly, or I would nervously put them in my pockets. Sometimes I would pace back and forth or shift my weight uncomfortably.

It was nerve racking to get in front of an audience and give speeches, but I slowly eliminated little body language problems over time.

The more I learn about body language, the more I realize there is an entire unspoken language occurring all around us. Sometimes I like to go into a room and just watch people’s body language. I can often guess the relationships between two people, or how successful a person is, just by observing them from afar (sometimes I go meet them to see if I was right!)

If you’re interested in becoming more successful, you quite simply can’t afford to ignore your body language, and a great place to get started is in Toastmasters. Make it a habit to attend once per week, and in a year you might just be a few inches “taller”.

Brian Armstrong has been a Toastmaster member for two years and achieved his “Competent Communicator” certification. In 2005 he quit his job, started his own business, and achieved financial independence just one year later. To learn how to start your own business, get tips from self-made millionaires, and build the lifestyle you’ve always wanted, check out his web site.

More by this author

How To Instantly Feel Better When You Are Depressed 8 Essential Skills They Didn’t Teach You In School How To Make A Bunch Of New Friends In Any New City Tired in the morning and awake at night? Here is a REAL solution. How to Launch a Business Without Spending a Dime

Trending in Communication

1 7 Ways To Deal With Negative People 2 How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward 3 What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships 4 How To Stop Negative Thoughts from Killing Your Confidence 5 This 4-Year Old Girl’s Explanation On the Problem with New Year’s Resolutions Is Everything You Need

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

Advertising

In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

Advertising

But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

Advertising

5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

Advertising

You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

Read Next