Last year around October I decided to finally attend my first TechMasters meeting. It had been something I had thought about for a few years but I just never pulled the trigger. But one Tuesday morning last October I got myself up a bit earlier and headed out to the Benchmark Learning Building where we host our weekly meetings. Knowing absolutely nothing about Toastmasters and even less about TechMasters I had no idea what to expect. But what I did know is that I had several things I wanted to improve upon personally. As a software developer for 10+ years I had become fairly comfortable with my technical skills. My communication skills however, like many of us technical types had a lot of room for improvement.
At my first meeting I was given a warm greeting from the regular members, so much so that I came back the next week and signed up. After just 6 months of attending regular meetings I can honestly say that my presentation skills have very much improved. I have spoken at my first user group, and am hoping to be speaking at the upcoming Microsoft Developer Conference. While these skills are always a work in progress and I am a long way from where I hope to be in the future, I feel like I now at least have tools at my disposal to help me communicate more effectively than before I started. These tools do not just apply to presentations, but also when communicating with people one on one or in small groups. TechMasters gives you weekly practice at impromptu speaking, listening, public speaking, and even delivering jokes to a group in a fun and friendly environment. And these skill are useful in every aspect of your life.
So why the blog post? Well it’s simple, I think its a great thing and would like to see more of the local technical folks show up. I know mornings are hard, but guess what? Now you have a chance to check it out after work. This month on April 24th we are launching the TechMasters After Dark Series. A free event where you can see some of our speakers in action. This month one of our most veteran members Paul Scivetti will be delivering a presentation on how to give presentations! Paul is a very dynamic speaker who regularly speaks at the local user groups and the like. Not only is Paul a great speaker, I was lucky enough to have him as my mentor when I joined (we have a mentoring program). And as such I can tell you from personal experience he has a lot of great information to share on the topic of presenting.
So if you are like I was, and have always been curious but just never made it to a morning meeting here is your chance!
Hope to see you there!