Do your hands get clammy at the mere thought of making a toast at your friend’s wedding or delivering an important PowerPoint presentation before your boss and colleagues? You’re not alone. Fear of public speaking, or glossophobia, is a common social anxiety disorder, suffered even by consummate professionals who deal with the public every day. Daniel Lewis, NNA’s 2010 Notary of the Year and owner of Lewis Notary Service in Carmel, Indiana, says that as an entrepreneur he has benefited greatly from participating in Toastmasters International — a worldwide organization dedicated to helping professionals develop communication and leadership skills. “Signing Agents are always asked to present documents,” says Lewis. “Toastmasters helps hone that skill. Sometimes we are called upon to conduct Purchase Closings. That could mean having a dozen or more people attending the closing. Having excellent presentation skills really helps make the process run with ease.” How Does Toastmasters Work? With over 14,350 Toastmasters clubs operating in 122 countries worldwide, you can find a branch near you, register and begin attending local meetings. “These meetings are a learn-by-doing workshop in which each member hones their speaking and leadership skills in a no-pressure atmosphere,” says Lewis. During the meetings, you will have the opportunity to develop grammar, delivery and timekeeping skills in a casual environment. There are no “instructors,” per se; rather, participants learn through collaborative workshops, and are evaluated by their peers in a constructive way designed to build poise and confidence. How Does It Help? Beyond offering members a forum for honing their public speaking skills, Toastmasters provides specially designed coursework and a wealth of resources for professionals of all business levels. “Toastmasters has helped my business in a big way,” says Lewis. “Currently I'm using a Toastmasters program called the ‘High Performance Leadership Program’ to plan a statewide Notary Public Day. Using this program, I should be able to spot problems more effectively during the planning stages, set goals and delegate more effectively, as well as communicate better with people on my planning committee.” For more on Toastmasters International, visit their website. Kelle Clarke is a Contributing Editor with the National Notary Association.