This guidance recommends having any of your directs who present, and maybe even yourself, join and attend a Toastmasters Chapter.

We don't often recommend external sources for managerial development, but it's hard not to just bow low to an organization as effective a tool for managers as Toastmasters is. Toastmasters is probably the most effective quasi-professional member-driven voluntary organization we know of.

And why Toastmasters? Because presenting matters, and most of us just aren't very good at it. That said, it's not as if we're all naturally born with the skill, or that we're taught it well. Some schools in the US have started students presenting more but there's very little instruction on it. (To be fair, though, let's not go the other way and just teach it without having young people do lots of presenting.)

A brief definition for those of you unfamiliar with Toastmasters International: TI is an international organization dedicated to helping people become effective presenters and communicators. There are over a quarter of a million active members all over the world, who generally meet in weekly or bi-weekly meetings. There are HUNDREDS of chapters in most of the major cities in the US. Over 200 in Chicago. There are 12 in Paris, and 25 in London. It's an incredibly LOCAL organization - local chapters meet and practice speaking, and that's about it. You go to TI to become a better presenter and communicator. There aren't service projects which are a big push for you to be "more involved." There are some small fees, and it's unlikely that you as a manager couldn't afford paying yourself for your team, let alone having your company do so.

The modern workplace has become much less vertical and formal than it used to be. More folks are expected to be able to present at all levels. (It used to be 95% of all presenters were managers). More folks know that they have to manage their own careers. Not as many know that results are where their career marketing starts...but surely folks know that others' impressions of them matter a great deal.

If you have directs who present, it's your job as a manager to help those directs be effective when they do it.

This Cast Answers These Questions

  • How do I teach my directs to be better presenters?
  • How do I become a better presenter?
  • How do I coach my directs?

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