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Undergraduate Students - January 2007

The full version of the January CAPSScoop can be found by clicking here.


Articles in this edition

Public Speaking and You


Public Speaking and You

by Angela He

Are you afraid of public speaking? If you answer “yes”, then you are not alone. Statistics say that among North Americans, public speaking is still the single most common fear. Some people are more afraid of giving a speech than getting cancer or having a heart attack. This article will address the importance of public speaking in your professional and personal life, and will introduce you to an amazing organization that will help you improve both your public speaking and leadership skills – Toastmasters.

You need public speaking skills more than you may realize. As a student, you need to do presentations in front of your classmates. Upon your graduation, you need to know how to communicate your skills to get – and keep - the job you want. Your presentation skills at work might get you the promotion you deserve. Public speaking can be the cornerstone of any career and boost your communication skills to a new level. A great place to improve public speaking skills is Toastmasters.

Toastmasters is a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching public speaking and leadership skills to adults. It provides a great platform that can help people grow in many significant ways, including how to be:

  • A better speaker: Each Toastmasters meeting is divided into three parts: A “Table Topics” session that helps train you to speak ‘impromptu’ and think on your feet. The “Prepared Speeches” session is designed to help you develop various aspects of speaking skills and become a better speaker. The “Speech Evaluation” session provides you with both oral and written feedback from other members that help you identify your strengths, as well as areas that you need to improve.
  • A better listener: The Speech Evaluation segment of the Toastmasters meeting can help you develop active listening skills. With this, members not only build their communication skills more deeply, but can also apply it to providing thorough evaluations of their colleagues’ speeches.
  • A better leader: Toastmasters lets members practice different roles in a leadership capacity that can help sharpen your leadership skills and increase your management potential.
  • A better networker: Toastmasters provides a great place to network, meet people, and make friends. On a personal note, I can honestly say that after being an active member for more than three years, the Toastmaster members in my club changed my life for the better in countless ways.

Dr. Ralph Smedley, founder of Toastmasters, said: “We work together to bring out the best in each of us and then we apply our skills to help others.” The unique learning environment provides a cost-effective yet rewarding opportunity for everyone who wishes to foster self-confidence and personal growth. Toastmasters can give you the opportunity to improve your confidence level in everything you do.

Toastmasters International, founded in October 1924, currently has 211,000 members in 10,500 clubs in 90 countries. There are more than 900 clubs in Canada.

Members of the McGill Toastmasters Club are a mixture of students and professionals from all walks of life. The diversity and the talents of members make it unique and dynamic. It is a very friendly club and you will find tons of fun, laughter, encouragement, friendship and support while improving your public speaking and leadership skills along the way. The next time you think improving your public speaking skills, be sure to check out McGill Toastmasters Club and experience the life-changing experience for yourself. Check it out at http://www.ssmu.mcgill.ca/tmmcgill/.


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