Toastmasters my Communication Skills Path


Today’s photo brings the ramp to success. This is the walk you would take after you park your car and walk to the Stony Brook Medical Health Science Center, 9th Floor Northern Brookhaven Toastmasters Club.

Toastmasters in 2010 did their own SWOT analysis and the board came up with a 5 year plan. That plan is taking hold today and it will be very beneficial for a variety of reasons. One is that when I speak to people about our club most feel it is best for those that are afraid to speak in front of an audience. There are many roles at a meeting which are perfectly suited for someone that is at the early stages of building up their confidence level. We use a timer, filler word counter and a few other roles that allows for time to stand up in front of the room, but it does not require a speech, your are just delivering a report.

What are the benefits to those who are already speaking to audiences and are now focused on being more effective in their delivery? My answer is that there are multiple ways for you to further your skills.

  1. Every speech you deliver will get evaluated by the club members. Will this really help you if you are getting feedback by club members who are not necessarily speech coaches? Absolutely. We had a media coach as a member and I had asked him why he joined. His comment was that he is getting feedback from the audience he delivers to. When delivering a corporate speech his feedback some from the person managing the conference, not the ones participating in it. Toastmaster’s allows him to get feedback in  a manner that is different then what he would normally get. Also when speaking at a club he can try new humorous stories, different approaches to delivering his message, etc. Toastmaster’s allows him to try explore.
  2. Speech Contests can be a game changer. Give a speech at a meeting and it is great, we look forward to your next speech and you get feedback, you are a winner every time you speak and that is true. Give a speech at a contest, you win or you lose. You get judged not evaluated, you are growing. You are under more pressure when competing and that adds a new element, but what is even more important is that you are now delivering a speech that will generate a definitive outcome. Moving to the next level of contests or just going home with a certificate of participation. Should you win, and keep on winning, you will speak in front of larger crowds. 20 at the club, 50 at the area, 75-10 at the division contest and a winner there will have you speak in front of 300 people, on stage, microphone and video taped for all to see. Anyone wish to become a motivational speaker, sales trainer or even religious leader. They have all been members of my home club, you could be the next one. Let us not forget. If you win the International Speech contest you will be competing against any one of Toastmaster’s 250,000 plus members, on a stage in front of an international audience of 3,000 people and of course taped for all the world to see. Watch Manoj Vasudevan, ACS, CL—the 2017 Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking—deliver his winning speech titled, “Pull Less, Bend More.” It’s about the power of being flexible in relationships. Read the comments and you will see that Toastmasters love giving opinions.
  3. The people are amazing. This is very easy to see when you attend a District Conference. Generally you will have 300 people in one room all with the intent of becoming more effective in their lives by exchanging thoughts with other people who are becoming more effective in their lives. That is a winning circle of influence. At the club the same attitude is there but much smaller and each club will have it’s own personality. My home club meets on the Stony Brook Medical campus. Our members range from students to retirees. If you want feedback from a wide variety of people we are the club for you. If you normal speak to business owners only then you may want to club whose members are mostly from the business community. Know that you can always visit any club at anytime and you should join a club that fits your personality and goals as a speaker.

    The new Pathways program will not change any of this. What it will do is help you follow a more specific learning program then ever before. The new program will also offer programs on Podcasting, online seminars, blogging and ethical leadership.

    If a picture is worth a thousand words then I have 200 more to go.

    Is your path an uphill one? Do we need to walk through something before we see true growth? Yes. We must challenge ourselves to grow. Nothing new about that statement but how we do it is so important. Identifying a group for you that shares the same values and aspirations  will not only applaud your successes but will help you through the challenges. In Toastmaster’s as in life, you will get evaluated by people that may have their own agenda. You listen and you learn. Take that one step further and develop a relationship with a mentor. Not every club does this. We don’t and we should. The value is immense. I have been a member for 13 years now and have personally enjoyed the benefits of those that have mentored me. Through their support I have enjoyed the competitions as a leader and as a competitor. In 2009 I held the role as conference chair. All of these roles were new to me. All of these roles have helped me grow personally and professionally.

    May 6th, 2018 is the date for our Spring Conference. This will be held at the Long Island Marriot in Uniondale , NY. It is open to all and will feature workshops, speech contest and for that one day be the location of 300 of the most giving people I know.

    One thousand words and hopefully meaningful to you.

    Brian A Cohen
    Strategies of Success – Founder
    Long Island Speakers Bureau – Co-Founder
    Northern Brookhaven Toastmasters – President
    Brookhaven Business Advisory Council – Vice President


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