Presentation Training

Presentation training vs. Toastmasters

As a Toronto presentation trainer, I had a chuckle or two as I flipped through some slides on SlideShare. Jeanne Trojan, who is a presentation trainer in the Czech Republic, was sharing her opinions under the heading 3 Reasons I’m not a Toastmaster.

Very courageous

I thought it was very courageous of her to criticize an organization like Toastmasters. That’s a bit like criticizing motherhood, but I had to laugh at some of her slides, particularly the one about how many times a speaker said “Um”. I’ll devote a future post to that one. I have strong feelings about it.

Not for everyone

I’ve had prospective clients react with surprise when I’ve suggested they consider going to Toastmasters instead of hiring me. I guess they expect me to act in my own best interest and try to convince them to use my services, but my services aren’t for everyone, just as Toastmasters isn’t for everyone. Presentation training for business purposes and delivering a speech at Toastmasters is like comparing apples and oranges. They’re just not the same thing. For one thing, Toastmasters evaluators are a lot ’nicer’ than professional trainers. But there’s good reason for that.

A very positive thing

Professionals need to hear all the negatives a business audience will react to but not comment on. If that same kind of tough evaluation were used on Toastmasters speakers it would probably be counter-productive. Many people go to Toastmasters to learn to cope with their fear of public speaking. They need positive support and they find it, along with some gentle criticism. I’ve known people who went from terror to a love of presentation because of the support and guidance they’d received from Toastmasters. And that’s a very positive thing.

The bottom line
So what’s the bottom line? Well, Toastmasters is aimed at ordinary people who want to develop some speaking skills. Is it the best place for people who want to become professional speakers? I know some who came up that way, but it certainly isn’t a replacement for professional training. They both have their place.

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About Thomas Moss

Thomas Moss is a speaker, writer and presentation coach who provides business communications services, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and throughout Ontario, including Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Markham, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Vaughan, Brampton and Mississauga. Service is also available outside of the GTA.