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Craig O'Neill in his Toastmasters Club

Developing Your Shop with Toastmasters

March 31, 2022

Developing Your Shop with Toastmasters

by Mar 31, 2022

In hindsight, it seems oddly fitting that the very first time I heard Chris Cloutier speak was when he was delivering a keynote speech at an industry event.
It was AAPEX in the fall of 2017.

A few months later, I found myself working for Chris and his software company. It wasn’t long before he made the suggestion for me to attend toastmasters.

What is Toastmasters? Toastmasters is a non-profit organization designed to teach public speaking and leadership skills. I took Chris’ advice and began learning what made him an effective leader and engaging speaker.

Fast forward to 2022, when I was proud to be co-presenting with Chris at VISION 2022 in Kansas City. In our class at VISION, Chris and I discussed elements of change management and leadership. One of the recommendations we shared for the audience of auto repair professionals was simply…join a toastmasters club!

Why make this recommendation to auto repair professionals?

  1. I guarantee you will find a club near you, likely right in your own neighborhood or city. It’s a great way to become connected with individuals in your community and learn to share what you and your team are all about! Start here.
  2. We face many communication and leadership challenges in our shops. Arguably, these challenges are the root of most problems we face. We have to own that. Unaddressed, these problems grow and result in a tarnished reputation for our industry.
  3. Toastmasters, widely adopted, can be an antidote to our image problems.

  4. You will become a better listener. The first thing everyone wants out of toastmasters is to become a better speaker, your club will help you realize that first, you must become a better listener. You’ll also get better at receiving feedback in general.
  5. Joining an open club just might be the most important thing you do this year. It’s my hope that you’ll be surrounded by professionals from all walks of life and other industries, and enjoy their perspectives from outside our own industry bubble.

    You can be a guest free of charge as many times as you’d like. Check out a few clubs, and make sure you find one as incredible as #404 in Grand Rapids. With comedians like my hometown club, you’ll laugh every night as you learn!

Craig O'Neill

Craig O'Neill

Vice President of Training

Craig O'Neill