Everyone Must Practice to Get Good

Baseball practice If you were in Little League baseball or played in high school, you know how important practices were. You might not have enjoyed the practices back then and wished you could just play games all the time, but now you can look back and realize how the coaches first taught you the basics but then supplied the opportunities for you to practice what you learned over time. Looking back, you might even realize there was a planned sequence that your practices followed; a routine of sorts. You got used to the routine and your skills improved over time.

Have you ever wondered what quality of a baseball player you might have become if you had not practiced your techniques at all? My suspicion is that you would not only lose whatever skill you once had but you would also lose interest in the game altogether due to that depleting skill level. You might even take it personally, feeling like there’s something wrong with you—possibly even feeling inferior about yourself.

This is exactly what happens with speaking. If we do not practice our speaking skills, and then one day are suddenly called upon to voice our opinion across a conference room table at work or present some findings to the board or directors or rally the troops at the next sales meeting—what happens? Well, some people might miraculously pull off a decent performance. But, most of us come up short. The result is that we feel embarrassed, inferior, and simply dread the next time we might be called upon if there ever is a next time.

As far back as 1926 when the first Toastmasters club was formed by Ralph Smedley and his assistant (who we named our club after nearly 50 years ago, George Sutton), meetings have followed a structured format. This meeting flow was designed to assure a smooth, timely and professionally run meeting and so that every member gets at least some practice speaking to the group at every meeting. We call these opportunities “meeting roles.” Each member is assigned and scheduled for various roles each month. So, you always know what role you will be performing at a Toastmasters meeting.

Colorado alone has more than 100 clubs to choose from. So, find a good club in your area and visit to get the feel of how the club operates and if the meeting time and day aligns with your schedule. You are always welcome to visit us at the George Sutton Toastmasters club in Aurora. Just let us know you’re coming so we can properly greet you at the door.

To #2 of Series How Speaking is Like Baseball: Natural Talent Helps but Anyone Can Learn >>