Toastmasters is about both speaking and social skills. Go to a meeting and see. You don't just "give a speech" now and then. You take turns doing different roles in the meeting, many of which call for a bit of impromptu speaking. You learn to loosen up your body language, to encourage others, to listen insightfully, and get to know strangers in a structured setting (no need for idle chitchat).
Comments from recovering user who tried it:
Started going to Toastmasters meetings weekly starting when I was day 3. I feel like a fucking champion after each meeting (like alpha male confidence) and helps with my social anxiety and now I feel like I'm a natural public speaker
Try Toastmasters. All you have to do is go sit watch and listen. You can go for free for as long as you like. You do not have to do anything you do not want to do.
I did not even introduce myself as the first meeting I went to, and I was not forced to either. Speaking in front of a group seemed to be impossible to me. Well, after awhile I did start to join in and do speeches.
It was tough, but I did not die while trying. Nobody judges you harshly and everyone is encouraging. There are critiques but it is helpful stuff. If you just go for a visit you will see what I mean.
Try just one visit. If you do not like it then do not go back. It usually is only an hour-long meeting.
The first few times I had a lot of trouble trying to speak. I even locked up and could not speak at all a couple of times. The group is so supportive though, that it was not that bad. I did not feel bad doing that. I actually felt better after from the support of the group. It is really helping with my anxiety. And I'm getting better at speaking.
After a few meetings, I even stayed and socialized with the group afterward. It is actually starting to get much easier. I think I am going to look forward to Tuesdays now. My anxiety is still there but I am getting better.
Another forum member had this to say:
I joined Toastmasters because a friend of mine mentioned it to me after I was saying that I needed help preparing for a best man's speech that I had to give last year. I went along for a few sessions and it was ok. I then got busy doing other things after the speech, which went very well, and that was it. I didn't sign up or pay anything I just went along 3 times for free and got what I needed.
About a year later after being out of work for a couple of months, I had a job interview in which I had to give a presentation. I was confident and it went reasonably well although the interview as a whole was absolutely terrible. Why?
First off, I was late. Secondly my presentation was supposed to last 10 minutes and it ended up lasting about 17 minutes. The guys conducting the interview were not impressed. That is when I wished that I had stuck at Toastmasters for that year, because that is what it is all about, preparing speeches (presentations) and then delivering them. One of the things that they really focus on is speaking to time, something that I could have done with on that interview day.
So it was then that I made the decision that I was going to go back, sign up and get on with it, and that's what I'm currently doing.
Essentially, it's all about communication and leadership. It will give you communication skills not just for formal speaking but for expressing yourself in meetings or discussions at work or anywhere else. It will teach you how to prepare and practice speeches and presentations so that too becomes second nature.
It's probably about $100 for the year, but it's the cheapest degree course that you will ever go on. It's worth far more than the cost, and the confidence you gain from speaking, which is something very few people are genuinely good at, is something that will then spill over into many other areas of your life.
One thing I want to do is to attend a regional competition and speak in front of a large audience. That will be really scary but it's a case of feel the fear and do it anyway. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is what forces you to grow and develop and become a better person.
Even if you don't work in an office environment I can't recommend it highly enough. You will gain valuable life skills and you will meet lots of new people from all walks of life. You will also give you mind something to do, something to focus on other than PMO.
Find a club near you and go along for a few free sessions to see what it's all about. Then if you don't like it, you haven't wasted any money.
Visit the Toastmasters website to find a group near you.