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Helping Young People Succeed

By Paul Sterman

Remember when you were a teenager? If you were like me, you battled your self-esteem during this awkward time—and the idea of public speaking was scarier than telling Dad you crashed the car.

All teens can benefit from what Toastmasters teaches. Young people will need communication skills to deliver classroom presentations, interview for jobs, speak up in the workplace and attentively listen to others. Once they’re out in the larger world, they’ll need interpersonal skills to navigate sticky situations that will inevitably arise with colleagues or friends.

Toastmasters offers community-based programs aimed at helping teens develop communication and leadership abilities. The Youth Leadership program (YLP) is a workshop geared to those under the age of 18. Experienced club members present eight sessions to participants at a school or organization with each session about one or two hours long. The format is similar to a club meeting.

The young participants learn skills such as: 

  • Controlling their voice and gestures
  • Delivering prepared and impromptu speeches
  • Giving constructive feedback
  • Improving their vocabulary

Non-members can also present a program based on Toastmasters principles. The Toastmasters youth communication module, Interpersonal Communication, is particularly valuable for teachers and youth workers. The program helps teenagers build strong communication and listening skills, while also enabling them to understand their own communication style. Adults who mentor teens in their community, such as youth program administrators, guidance counselors, ­religious leaders and others, can use these materials ­designed by Toastmasters to present the communication module. Its manuals contain short assignments and ­content to supplement group ­activities.

YLP and Interpersonal Communication provide many benefits to teens. High school graduates can continue reaping those benefits at the next level of their education: Many colleges and universities around the world have Toastmasters clubs on campus.

Click here to learn more about Toastmasters’ ­outreach programs.