By: Mary Jeneverre Schultz
The fear of public speaking is one of the top five fears of Americans, right up there with snakes, moving away from home and getting fired from a job.
Fear of public speaking is common. Anticipation of getting in front of a crowd, large or small, causes physical and psychological symptoms in them. Many people lose sleep the night before their speaking engagement. Others sweat, tremble, and even vomit or faint because of their fear of public speaking.
“I joined toastmasters to overcome two specific hurdles; fear of public speaking, and fear of not taking risks,” said Xiao Liang, who recently won first place at the regional competition in table topics, an impromptu speech with no rehearsal. “Toastmasters gave me a platform to hone my speaking skills. The toastmasters mentality, and its friendly and invigorating club culture, offered a great platform to help me reach my goals through speech.”
The NAAAP LEAD Toastmasters, which started with 20 members back in February 2012, is sponsored by the NAAAP organization, and has a focus on Asian-Americans. “Although there are many “corporate clubs” that are sponsored by companies, NAAAP LEAD Toastmasters has broader appeal because it helps build and strengthen the Asian and Asian American community in Denver,” said Curtis Eubanks, vice president of education of the NAAAP LEAD Toastmasters.
The benefits of public speaking allow participants and club members:
• Articulation of speech
• Confidence in speaking
• Networking among other professionals and peers
“Often times in Asian culture, we are raised with quietness, safety, and stability in mind. As a result, we are stereotyped as timid and unvocal. I wanted to break away from this mold and show our communities that Asian Americans can passionately speak, take risks to inspire, and succeed,” Liang said.
“Toastmasters offer an environment where members consistently challenge and sharpen you to become a better speaker, and ultimately a better leader. I wanted to embrace those challenges because they are risks that greatly drive personal growth.”
Eubanks echoed this sentiment of safe environment. “Benefits are the chance to speak (both prepared speeches and impromptu speeches) in front of a safe, caring audience,” he said. “The more you speak, the less nervous you feel.”
Interested in learning more about NAAAP LEAD Toastmasters, join Mary Jeneverre Schultz and her club members at the bi-monthly Sunday meetings at Sakura Square. Visit www.naaaplead.toastmastersclubs.org for more information.
Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. Every meeting is a learn-by-doing workshop for participants to develop and hone their leadership and speaking skills in a non-pressure atmosphere.
From NAAAP Toastmasters:
We meet twice a month, every first and third Sunday, downtown in Sakura Square. We are a dedicated group aimed at improving our leadership and speaking skills. We love seeing new faces at our meetings and encourage anyone seeking the same goals or want to network, come check us out! It is free for newcomers and we always have refreshments.