How Toastmasters has helped me with my job

I’m a native English speaker and work as a Content Manager in Paris, France. My job involves writing content (for digital marketing campaigns, social media and our corporate website), coaching others to write and supervising content production across seven countries.

One of my challenges is navigating my way through French corporate culture and when I took on my current role I realised that I lacked confidence when it came to expressing ideas and giving presentations in French.

My spoken French is pretty good when it comes to meeting friends, going shopping or talking to my neighbours. But when it comes to my job, I often get lost when people start speaking quickly during meetings, or when they use expressions that I never learned at school. However, the most challenging aspect of my work is presenting ideas in French, in a way that has impact.

This is why I decided to join Toastmasters!

I have now been a member of “Toastmasters Paris Bilingue” for 4 months and over this short period of time I have learned so much. The great thing about this club is that you can choose to speak in French or in English, or both, depending on how you feel. This club has not only given me more self-confidence when I speak in French at work it has also enabled me to improve the following skills:

·       Storytelling- thanks to our table topic sessions where we have two minutes to improve on the theme of the day 

·       Defending my point of view- through improvised debates between two people where we both must either explain why we are for or against a certain idea

·       Pitching ideas- via short pre-prepared presentations enabling us to talk to our audience for five minutes

·       Giving feedback- by learning how to praise others and give constructive criticism

·       Remote Leadership- by learning how to manage meetings remotely in a very clear and structured way

If I were to sum up the main advantage of joining Toastmasters, I would say it is a safe place from which to grow and develop your communication skills. I believe that thanks to Toastmasters I have managed to overcome my fears of public speaking in French and feel a lot more confident when I have to manage a meeting in English or in French. 

Navigating as a professional in a foreign culture comes with a range of challenges, particularly during a pandemic. Therefore, I believe that we need to take advantage of all the tools we can find in order to not only survive but to thrive in these challenging times.

If you’d like to find out more about how to develop your public speaking skills feel free to join one of our Toastmasters meetings via Meetup or the contact page. You will always receive a very warm welcome. -:)