We’ve all been there before: You’re at an important meeting and asked a question that you just can’t seem to formulate the perfect answer to on the spot. But, 30 minutes later, on your way home as you replay the meeting in your mind you come up with numerous things you wish you had said earlier. Now you are kicking yourself thinking, “Why didn’t I say that!?”
What if I told you there is a very inexpensive way to help you develop the skill to think on your feet along with improving your overall communication and leadership skills?
One of the single most important organizations I got involved with a few years ago is my local Toastmasters club. Toastmasters provides a friendly, encouraging environment that helps individuals improve their speaking and leadership skills regardless of their current level – amateur speaker to orator, mail-room clerk to CEO (my club consists of entrepreneurs, professors, artists, IT professionals, military personnel, students and many others). It is a workshop type setting where you learn-by-DOING. If you want to learn more about the history of Toastmasters or how to join, you can visit www.toastmasters.org; but in this post, I want to briefly share with you four ways you will immensely benefit from joining and participating in a local club.
Learning to speak “off the cuff”
One of the most beneficial parts of a Toastmasters meeting is the “Table Topics” section. This is where you are called upon to speak for 1-2 minutes on a topic that someone has just told you about. You have to quickly formulate your ideas in your head and speak “off the cuff.” There are numerous benefits in developing this skill for real estate professionals – from improving your negotiating skills to handling seller objections on a listing presentation.
Developing leadership skills
There are several leadership roles one participates in while attending a Toastmasters meeting. Each one helps you develop various skills which can be applied to your professional and personal lives. I had the privilege of serving as our club’s President a couple of years ago and the role was very rewarding in terms of the skills it taught. As president, you end up having to speak at EVERY meeting; you are continually challenged to ensure each meeting is an invaluable resource for current and potential members; and you learn teamwork while working with your fellow club officers in meeting the needs of the club. These skills and many others will help you with such goals as getting involved and taking on leadership roles within your REALTOR® associations or deciding to build a team of agents around you as you grow your business.
Becoming a better overall speaker
Working through the various speaking assignments you will not only help you develop more confidence, you will also become a better, well-organized speaker. The tools you learn will help you if you plan to hold first-time home buyer workshops, present webinars, speak at your association…really, the sky is the limit. Even if you are already doing these types of presentations, Toastmasters will help you do it even better!
Networking and Self-improvement
An added benefit to belonging to a Toastmasters club is that you will be surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals all seeking to better themselves. You will meet people from vast cultural and professional backgrounds, which will only serve to help you in your pursuit of continual growth and improvement. This also becomes a great networking opportunity where you can even incorporate your real estate expertise within your speeches.
I believe so strongly in the Toastmasters program that I virtually guarantee you will see profound improvements (regardless of your current skill level and background) if you find the right club and commit to participating at the meetings. By going to the Toastmasters website you can locate a club and meeting time that works for you. I encourage you to visit a few of them in your area and find the one that is the “perfect fit” for you. There is so much more I could share with you about the benefits of Toastmasters, so please feel free to email or call me if I can answer any questions or help in any way. In the end, the goal is for each of us to continually improve ourselves, our businesses, and to never have to leave another meeting thinking, “Why didn’t I say that!?”
I originally wrote this blog post for the NAR YPN Lounge. You can find it here.