Gov. Betsie Krueger posted yesterday on Facebook. It says, “On February 22, 1878, a man was born. His name: Ralph Smedley. Happy birthday to Dr. Smedley who gave us Toastmasters.”
Toastmasters is a gift to the world. Through Toastmasters, Ralph Smedley made a difference to the world. This is one of the reasons why people remember this man and his birthday even after his death in 1965.
When we were born, we were given equal chances to make a difference in this world. In our own big and little ways, I really believe we can. There are a lot of ways. One is by being a Toastmaster.
By being a member of Toastmasters alone, you can do a lot of things. When you deliver your speech projects, you are not only given the chance to improve your skills but also to influence the lives of your audience. When you are given the opportunity to evaluate other speakers, you are directly helping them hone their communication skills. You are also given the portion to encourage them achieve their dreams, goals, and aspirations.
This makes Toastmasters a total package. Because in Toastmasters, you receive help; and at the same time, you give help. No matter what.
I’d like to invite you to Toastmasters International.
Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. It has a strong membership of 280,000 around the globe. By attending one of the 13,500 clubs in 116 countries, these members improve their speaking and leadership skills. (www.toastmasters.org)
They say that your greatest investment is yourself. Hence, it is just right to invest for the development of yourself. At $36 every month, you will potentially receive a gargantuan return. You just have to make the most out of it.
You won’t expect an expert to lecture you in a Toastmasters meeting. A meeting is a learn-by-doing workshop. Again, there is no instructor, only speakers (who deliver the speech project) and evaluators (who give constructive feedback to the speakers).
Every member becomes a speaker and evaluator. In my personal point of view, it is a process of receiving, then giving, then receiving, and then giving. It’s a cycle that goes no other than the development of every member.
In Toastmasters, we do not attend meetings; rather, we participate in meetings. Members are also given the opportunity to improve their skills in impromptu speaking and also to develop skills related to timekeeping and grammar.
Oh, do you notice some speakers who have a lot of pause fillers (like ah, uhm, er) or unnecessary words (like actually, you know) when they speak? Or are you one of those? While this seems to be a minor stuff, a number of people get distracted because of these. You don’t want to lose your audience because of a minor stuff, do you? The Ah Counter’s Report at the last part of the meeting may help you in this area.
When I joined Toastmasters in 2010, I received my first manual. It is called Competent Communication manual, a series of 10 self-paced speaking assignments designed to instill a basic foundation in public speaking. And yes, it is self-paced.
There are two tracks to take: the communication and leadership track. Once completed, you will be called a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM). More than the norm or title you receive is the development and transformation you gave yourself and to others as well.
Since Toastmasters’ inception in 1924, more than 4 million people around the world have become more confident speakers and leaders because of their participation in this non-profit organization.
I have been a member for more than 2 years and I can see my improvement. Yes, I am not yet there. I am a work-in-progress. I invite you to be one of us.
If you are already an advanced speaker, join us.
If you are a beginner as I was, join us.
If you are a pro, join us.
If you are a pre-beginner, join us.
This is the place where you receive help and give help and receive help and give help again, and again, and again.
This is the reason why I believe that Toastmasters is making a difference to the world.
You can be part of it. You can make a difference today.
Visit a Toastmasters club and see it for yourself.
Live your life, young mind!
PS: I am a member of IAME & Associates Toasmasters Club. We meet on (2nd & 4th) Saturdays at 6PM in the International Academy of Management and Economics (IAME) located along Metropolitan Avenue, Makati City, Philippines (near Shopwise / Vito Cruz cor Pasong Tamo). Your visit is free.
If you are far from Makati, find a club near you by visiting www.toastmasters.org and use the Meeting Locations tool. Each club has its own personality. Look for your type.