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Public speaking builds entrepreneurs

Startup founders need to develop exceptional communication skills in order to succeed

By Roger Pierce

More important than your nifty product or killer marketing plan, your ability to communicate effectively will make or break your new business.

The ability to share important information, articulate your intentions or plans, and persuade others is absolutely critical in order to build a successful business.

I’ve encountered many otherwise talented people with very smart business ideas who failed to rally interest in what they were launching because they communicated poorly. They just couldn't sell it – to customers, investors, lenders media, colleagues, or potential employees.

One way to improve your communication skills is to join the non-profit organization Toastmasters. You've likely heard of it, and maybe you've been meaning to check it out.

With over 345,000 members across 16,000 clubs in 142 countries, Toastmasters International is the leader in communication and leadership development

A Toastmasters meeting is like a learn-by-doing workshop where participants hone their communications skills in a supportive and friendly environment. The one-hour weekly meeting is like a public speaking workout – club members can volunteer to deliver a short keynote speech, give a toast, provide a speaker evaluation, or participate in another brief speaking role. Or, you can just observe other speakers and learn.

Although I've been a member for many years, I continue to learn something new each week at Toastmasters – like how to use my hand gestures more effectively while I speak.  Some members enjoy learning how to construct a persuasive presentation (think pitching for funding!) While other participants enjoy the helpful tips and advice shared by members.

I guarantee you Toastmasters will make you a more confident speaker and a better entrepreneur

You can learn more about Toastmasters International and locate a club near you by visiting If you're in Toronto, feel free to visit my club in the financial district.

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