Toastmasters vs. Business


Today I attended a half day session with FranklinCovey in Kansas City. One segment of the training was titled Presentation Advantage and obviously is a topic I am familiar with. I was curious what take FranklinCovey had on this topic, and how it would differ from Toastmasters.

Purpose: This program defined a presentation as “The sharing of information between two or more people with the intent to inform or persuade.  Contrast that with Toastmasters mission, We empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders.

Connection: Today I learned about having a message with purpose and passion, the need to engage and re-engage with your audience and the importance of credibility with your character and competence. This bore a striking similarity to the “know yourself, know your message, and know your audience” I’ve learned through Toastmasters.

Delivery: Appearance, Eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, body movement and voice all again share strong similarities with Toastmasters presentation skills.

Visuals: This is where I saw some difference. While using visuals as a tool, not to replace the presenter, is common in both programs, FrankinCovey’s instruction seemed to direct that visuals were a required part of the business presentation skillset. I’m not saying this is bad, or wrong. It’s just different than I’ve learned in Toastmasters.

In Toastmasters we learn not just to Inform and Persuade, but to Inspire, Entertain, Evaluate, Lead and much more. While I find this to be a great advantage of Toastmasters, it occurred to me as I heard the simplicity of “Inform and Persuade” that some members only want to improve at business communication.  Sometimes we forget that, as we try to sell members on the whole program instead of just the parts they need.

I was impressed by the program I saw today, but I also realized just how strong our Toastmasters program really can be. If we help members focus on what they came for, we truly can be the first-choice provider of dynamic, high-value, experiential communication and leadership skills development.

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