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Jordanians learn ‘soft skills’ at Toastmasters clubs in Amman

By Dana Al Emam - Jun 04,2016 - Last updated at Jun 04,2016

AMMAN — Honing workers' soft skills is fundamental to boosting professional performance as well as interpersonal capabilities, a public speaking expert says. 

To improve these skills, around 2,000 Jordanians have joined Toastmaster clubs, where they can practise public speaking and enhance their leadership capacities, said Daniel Rex, CEO of Toastmasters International.

"Toastmasters provides people with soft skills, so they learn how to give a presentation, how to conduct a meeting and how to provide and receive evaluation…. All of these skills help them in the corporate world or in any place," he told The Jordan Times. 

Jordan is becoming an "increasingly important" part of Toastmasters' network in the Middles East, Rex added in an interview last week on the sidelines of a meeting with corporate leaders.

Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organisation that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs, according to their website.

There are currently 16 Toastmasters clubs in Jordan, all located in Amman,, Rex said, citing a plan to reopen a club in Aqaba Governorate, some 330km south of the capital.

In Amman, Rex hopes to convince business leaders  to establish in-house Toastmasters clubs at their corporations, as they can promote public speaking and leadership skills among workers.

Only three Toastmasters clubs in Jordan are within organisations or businesses, he noted.

Rex cited thousands of Toastmasters clubs in public agencies around the world, noting that Toastmasters club membership has reached 16,000 worldwide.

The CEO commended the "excellent" work of Toastmasters clubs in Jordan in promoting leadership and management skills. 

"Toastmasters clubs in Jordan have grown quickly since the first club started 16 years ago," he said, highlighting the opportunity for further growth among all segments of society.

Rex added that the organisation seeks to promote public speaking skills among young people through its Youth Leadership Programme, which consists of eight one- to two-hour sessions of practical exercises.

Dana Nashwani, a club member and a director of quality at a private institution in Amman, said she has witnessed a "remarkable" improvement in her presentation and public speaking skills, although she has always considered herself a "good presenter".

"Since I joined Toastmasters at the beginning of this year, I started paying more attention to time control and the use of filler words while presenting," she told The Jordan Times.

The advantages were not limited to the work environment, Nashwani said, explaining that she is now able to communicate more effectively with her friends and family members.

 

"My son and daughter help me rehearse for my presentations at Toastmasters," she said, describing the club as a motivating and constructive environment. 

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