Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
With effective communication skills being essential in the workplace, we are proud to have two Toastmasters chapters—Mr. Cooper Speaks and Mr. Cooper Inspires—to help team members strengthen their speaking, listening, and leadership abilities. Since Claims Analyst I Brandon Fetterman joined Toastmaster 3 years ago, he has become a better listener and was able to build personal relationships with other team members. He shares the benefits and skills he has gained from the group.
What would you say is the most important benefit that Toastmasters has given you?
There are a lot of benefits to being a part of a Toastmasters club, but three things that are most important to me have been learning how to find comfort in uncomfortable situations, having a network of employees to turn to, and building personal relationships with Coopers outside of my department.
What has been the most useful skill that you’ve learned?
How to be a better listener and how to provide positive, effective feedback. In Toastmasters, each prepared speaker has an evaluator. It is the evaluator’s job to provide immediate feedback to the speaker by providing a brief overview of the speech they just heard—identifying things that the speaker did well, things that the speaker could improve on, and something that the speaker excelled at. Filling the role of the evaluator is on a voluntary basis, and it has been personally challenging for me to jump in this role on my own accord. It absolutely challenges me to listen carefully, think on my toes, and to aim at something constructive to say.
In what ways have you seen people stretch and grow by participating in Toastmasters?
I have witnessed members move into management programs within the company, become managers themselves, and build upon personal relationships with other fellow Coopers. But the number one way I’ve seen people stretch and grow in Toastmasters is by building personal confidence.
In what ways has Toastmasters impacted your career?
Toastmasters provides the ability for myself and others to put faces to names, to connect with other Coopers within the organization outside my team, and to create opportunity for myself and my fellow Toastmasters.
How do you deal with nerves before giving a speech?
For some, it is taking a few deep breaths, or having a few small sips of water, or even slowly counting to 10. For me, I find it easiest to combat nerves with preparedness and learning how to find comfort in uncomfortable situations.