At times people ask me “ Is the Toastmasters forum for people who are formally dressed ” ? My answer always being a big “NO”. We have many Toastmasters clubs wherein participants dress casually including the Friends of Yoga Toastmasters in Dubai. But Toastmasters certainly trains and prepares you to be better dressed be it your attire or your communications skills.
In the professional world you are expected to dress formally unless you are Steve Jobs or Larry Ellison. Hence, my first questions to you is “How many times have you had the opportunity to address an audience in the professional world?” My second question is “How comfortable were you addressing the audience on a scale of 1 – 5; 5 being the least comfortable.” And on the podium, did you realize that your necktie was an irritant whilst you delivered the speech or that your socks did not match with your shoes or worse still, your belt had a rough look. And after the completion of the speech, your best friend had the audacity to point it out.
Now fast forward. “How many times will you have the opportunity to address an audience in your Toastmasters club?” To which my answer would be “As many a times you wish to attempt your project speeches, educational sessions and other role plays.” My next question is “How many times will you be given constructive feedback from the audience?” And the answer is “As many a times you attempt your project speeches.” And over a period of time, realization will dawn, and you will see that the constructive criticism and evaluation of your fellow Toastmasters has smoothened the rough edges when it comes to your attire and your communication style. Now, when you get down from delivering at a professional podium; your best friend will pat you on your back and congratulate your beautifully choreographed speech.
My message to people who ask, “Is Toastmasters for people who are formally dressed?” is NO, but, Toastmasters certainly trains and prepares you to become a better dressed individual be it your attire or your communication skills.