I am a member of a toastmaster’s club. This is an organization that helps people improve their speaking skill. I have been involved with the club I am affiliated with for twelve years and enjoy it very much. I was a little surprised at our last meeting to see the Rabbi of the congregation I belong to, in attendance as a guest.
The Rabbi is relatively new to the shul and he does speak fairly well. I do enjoy most of his sermons. When I stopped to think about it, it occurred to me that this is not a bad organization with which clergy to get involved. It helps people learn to get a message across. It helps people learn how to get to the point, tell stories and how to effectively deliver presentations.
I am a firm believer that this is a very important skill for anyone (and everyone) and if you are not constantly working on it, it is deteriorating. Beyond anyone, I have heard a number of clergy, from all different denominations, who would benefit substantially from the club. If it does nothing else, it will help a speaker cut down on word fillers. Next time you are out in public, listening to someone speak live, listening to a member of the clergy, stop and count “Ah’s”, “Uh’s” and “Um’s”. You might just be surprised how many year hear. If you are really brave, have someone count yours and see how many you use in everyday conversation.
Certainly Judaism has prided itself on the ability of people to teach, to be effective speakers and communicators. Toastmasters helps!