Better communication leads to better lives and better careers.
That’s the belief of Toastmasters, an international, non-profit organization that helps its members develop public speaking and leadership skills.
“Toastmasters is an organization that’s founded around the idea that people who don’t have communication skills or leadership experience can sign up and acquire those experiences,” said Jim Kohli, Toastmasters international director. “Toasting can happen, but there are social elements as well as some education elements.”
Toastmasters has approximately 345,000 members in 145 countries. There are 40 clubs in the downtown, metro Honolulu area alone.
“You can always expect that it will be a safe and friendly environment. There’s evaluations that are done which I think is critical to everyone’s experience,” said District 49 director Caron Lau. “Everything that you learn in Toastmasters, you can translate to your business, your work, your family and friends, and in fact I use it a lot in my communication with my husband.”
Every Toastmasters meeting includes an evaluation that utilizes the Oreo-cookie method, where you “sandwich” your criticism with praise.
“I have a promotion that I received at work that moved me from Wisconsin to California as part of the experience of Toastmasters. It’s made a difference in terms of what I do and who I work with, and it’s a positive difference,” said Kohli.