soft skills

TalicTalic Member Posts: 423
I found a article on NetworkWorld Soft skills are sexy - Network World and they were outlining the needs of softskills. It kinda made me wish that I went with a Business Management degree rather then IT but I'm 20 credits from getting it so I might as well finish it. I noticed some talk about Toastmasters in other threads and they mention it in the article but are there any other ways to help develop softskills? The only real class experience I've had so far at school was COM101, and truth be told, I hated it. But after reading about how much softskills are needed I guess I'll put some effort into it.

A nice bonus would be good place would be to mingle with the laidies icon_wink.gif

I almost forgot to mention that they (toastmasters) want $20 dollar membership fee, which I find kinda lame but does it depend on the club you go to?

Comments

  • eMeSeMeS Member Posts: 1,875
    Talic wrote: »
    I almost forgot to mention that they (toastmasters) want $20 dollar membership fee, which I find kinda lame but does it depend on the club you go to?

    The fee depends on the club. I think the $20 is for the TI membership fee, and then each club has some amount of dues.

    Seriously, you're not sweating $20 are you?

    IMO, the best return on investment I've ever received was the very small amount of money I put into Toastmasters.

    MS
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I just paid mine a month ago, and it was $40-50. I think Toastmasters International gets a cut, as does the local club. You also get a speech manual and various other written resources sent to you. I was actually surprised at how little it cost for what I was getting. Have you attended a few meetings? You can go as a guest without committing to anything. If you don't think it's worth such a small fee, you may be better off doing something else.
  • skrpuneskrpune Member Posts: 1,409
    To those of you who are members of Toastmasters, can we get some more info about what's involved & what you've found most helpful? What's a typical meeting like? I am pretty good (I think) on soft skills overall, and I haven't got a fear of public speaking, but I'm not exactly a great speech giver either. Is it good for folks who are just inexperienced, or those who are shy or who lack confidence, or all of the above? I've given some consideration to it but I'd love some more info.
    Currently Studying For: Nothing (cert-wise, anyway)
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  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    It's pretty a formal event. A typical line: "Thank you Madam Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters, and distinguished guests."

    The meetings start by going over the last meeting's minutes, covering new business, etc. There are typically one or two speakers per event. Most speeches come from the manuals, but more experienced members often just do whatever they want.

    In addition to the speakers, there are various other roles. There's the Toastmaster, Joke Master, Table Topics Master, time-keeper, grammarian/ah-counter, etc. Our group randomly assigns the roles to different people each week.

    Table topics are another big exercise. The Table Topics Master will call on members (speakers are exempt) and give them a random topic that they need to give an impromptu two-minute speech on. Personally, I dread these more than the speeches. I still usually stumble through them, but I can tell I'm getting better than I was when I started.

    The Joke Master will give a few minutes of jokes. Time Keeper keeps the meeting on track and keeps track of the time for the table topics, speeches, etc. The Ah-counter keeps track of all the ums, ahs, buts, you knows, etc. There are more roles than I'm listing. Some people are designated as evaluators for speakers, and so on.

    The meetings close with awards. They have a variety of awards, such as best speaker or best table topics. Being terrible has had it's advantages since I seem to rake in one or more of the "most improved" awards at each meeting icon_lol.gif

    The clubs can vary quite a bit, both in terms of size and style. The one I go to is smaller, with about a dozen people, and it's very laid-back. I think that's a great one to start in. If you don't like the table topics, you can just talk about whatever else you'd want to instead. No one cares. Other clubs would through a fit. They have competitions and things like that, and some are pretty hard-core. You can attend most as a guest with no obligation of participation, so I'd encourage anyone who's interested to check a few out and see what it's all about.
  • msteinhilbermsteinhilber Member Posts: 1,480 ■■■■■■■■□□
    There are also numerous videos on Youtube about Toastmasters that you can watch and get an idea of how things work.
  • BreadfanBreadfan Member Posts: 282 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thanks Dynamik for the insight icon_thumright.gif

    We have Toastmasters meetings here at work and they monthly meetings and encourage people to join. I have wondered whether or not to try it as well.

    I used to be a good public speaker back in the day due to my job and was a student teacher in college. All of that is now 10 years gone by and now I dread even talking to strangers it seems for the awkwardness. icon_redface.gif. dont know what happened.

    Maybe this would be a good thing. Thanks for the tips
    Mark Twain

    “If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go.

  • eMeSeMeS Member Posts: 1,875
    skrpune wrote: »
    To those of you who are members of Toastmasters, can we get some more info about what's involved & what you've found most helpful? What's a typical meeting like? I am pretty good (I think) on soft skills overall, and I haven't got a fear of public speaking, but I'm not exactly a great speech giver either. Is it good for folks who are just inexperienced, or those who are shy or who lack confidence, or all of the above? I've given some consideration to it but I'd love some more info.

    It really depends on the club. Some are very formal, others are not. I've been a member of two, and the one that I enjoyed the most was a bilingual club and it was rather informal.

    What I found most helpful was how the material that they use guides you through building speeches. You start with something very simple, and over time get into building and delivering more and more complex speeches. It's truly long-term continuous improvement that starts small and adds small improvement over time until before you know it, you're a really good public speaker.

    One of my favorite activities is called "Table Topics". Basically, someone is designated to ask people to speak about a specific topic for 2 minutes. The topics are usually random and the people selected are random. This is a very good activity for developing a strong ability to think and speak on your feet.

    Another thing that's good is that it tends to work all of the useless things out of your speech. Utterances like "ah", "so", etc... pretty quickly fall away.

    Two of my least favorite things about Toastmasters are:

    1) The people that get so wrapped up in it that it becomes their entire life...
    2) The whole governance/political aspect (I've heard this described as a "self-licking ice cream cone")

    IMO, it's well worth the time and money, and, as has been said, it's usually free to try.

    MS
  • TravR1TravR1 Member Posts: 332
    It's good for your resume if you get the awards like Toastmaster Professional Speaker. I have been thinking about doing it when I move to Texas.

    I'm terrible talking to people right now and it seems like it's getting worse.

    $20 is nothing. For the cost of a case of beer you are getting a really good skill.
    Austin Community College, certificate of completion: C++ Programming.
    Sophomore - Computer Science, Mathematics
  • mikedisd2mikedisd2 Member Posts: 1,096 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Talic wrote: »
    A nice bonus would be good place would be to mingle with the ladies icon_wink.gif

    I reckon that'd make me worse. Nothing kills confidence like the stupid things I've said in front of women. icon_razz.gif
  • TalicTalic Member Posts: 423
    mikedisd2 wrote: »
    I reckon that'd make me worse. Nothing kills confidence like the stupid things I've said in front of women. icon_razz.gif

    Come to think of it, that would be hard to make speeches in front of a bunch of hot chicks...

    I guess I'll stop by a toastmasters group sometime this month and check it out. $20 dollars isn't that bad but if they want it every month then I would need to pass. I'll be sure to ask when I go by one of the clubs. I just hope it isn't $40...

    What do you guys think about IT people needing business management experience? The article was empathizing that businesses are looking for IT people that know and what they need to keep their business up and running. How do you guys feel about that?

    The new cert by Cisco also brings this up, the Cisco Certified Architect and Cisco says "will attempt to marry the networking engineering know-how of the CCIE with the business acumen of a MBA."

    I assume they want to make sure they are buying something that is important for their business, rather then a cool new gadget that some of us more technical IT people see more value in.
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Talic wrote: »
    Come to think of it, that would be hard to make speeches in front of a bunch of hot chicks...

    I guess I'll stop by a toastmasters group sometime this month and check it out. $20 dollars isn't that bad but if they want it every month then I would need to pass. I'll be sure to ask when I go by one of the clubs. I just hope it isn't $40...

    What do you guys think about IT people needing business management experience? The article was empathizing that businesses are looking for IT people that know and what they need to keep their business up and running. How do you guys feel about that?

    The new cert by Cisco also brings this up, the Cisco Certified Architect and Cisco says "will attempt to marry the networking engineering know-how of the CCIE with the business acumen of a MBA."

    I assume they want to make sure they are buying something that is important for their business, rather then a cool new gadget that some of us more technical IT people see more value in.

    Matching technology to actual business need is what it's all about. The CCA puts a moniker on that but it's what good consultants have been doing for years with or without qualifications like the CCIE. You do need those technical skills though in spades somewhere!
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