It is a well-known fact that Information Technology professionals are often lacking skills in the communication department. Almost every job posting lately had stated you must have good Oral and Written communication skills. This was not me; at least until recent. I was always the guy standing by the punch bowl or snack table with hands in the pockets that said “HEY” as people walked by. IT professionals often confuse colleagues, friends and customers with their acronyms and tech-lingo – I was one of these people. Then I was pulled out to a Toastmasters meeting.
At Toastmasters I was challenged in a few different ways:
- Table Topics – A Speaking Exercise that teaches you how to speak impromptu and convincingly. Most useful in the boardroom
- Writing and sharing prepared speeches. This simply helps you formulate presentations with proper structure. It also helps you to get up in front of people.
- Listening and Evaluating; I found the hardest thing to do is listen to someone intently and then give feedback in a manner that could help someone improve. It is too easy to say you did not like something, but what exactly was it that you did not like.
- Leadership – Everyone has the opportunity to take on roles during the club meeting or even run for an executive roll. This helps break you out of your shell and trains you to be a leader in a environment where you will only be helped.
It would be a great addition to any IT professional to take on Toastmasters. It helps you to become a leader, and aids in developing communication skills. No more being awkward in the boardroom or confusing people with the tech-lingo. Speaking with confidence will help you drive your career to the next level. It will also help you to be the life of the party or ask out that girl next door. Where you will see the most difference is in your confidence levels when you go for your interviews. You will be able to sit with your head up and talk with confidence. It honesly helped me in many areas of my life.