Meet a Toastmaster

Toastmasters improved my confidence

My friend asked me to be bridesmaid at her wedding in Dubrovnik. I was ecstatic. She then asked me to do a reading at the wedding. I immediately started worrying.

I have done readings at weddings before. They sounded fine but but my legs and lips would shake uncontrollably. However, this time, when I stood up, I didn’t feel nerves. I was actually looking forward to delivering the reading. What was wrong with me?

I gave the speech, projecting my voice across the Palace; The words came out controlled and clear and I used pause for effect. People laughed at the funny parts because I gave them a chance to. I got a big round of applause, which filled me with pride and emotion. As I sat back down, I reflected on where my new found confidence had come from. It was from Toastmasters. Every member of Trojans has helped me to improve my confidence, speaking and leadership in someway or another. Whether it be from spoken or written evaluations, mentoring, chats etc. Everything that I have learnt from these wonderful people, came flooding out when I needed it the most and for that, I will be forever grateful! May the journey continue!

Hannah Widdison, Trojan Speakers

Grand Expectations

When you first came to a Toastmaster club, you arrived with expectations. You also have expectations of your Area, Division and District. As a new year begins, this is the best time to renew those expectations, so that guests and members are aware of their responsibilities within the club and the wider Toastmaster community.

Have you ever had an enthusiastic guest come along and become a member only to be shocked that they are expected to serve as an officer in their club leadership team when called upon? Have you ever had a long standing club member who was taken aback when your VP Membership called them up to discuss their waning attendance? It all begins with what is expected of your fellow members and preparing them for their respective roles.

As the then new President of Early Bird Speakers, I introduced a questionnaire for prospective members. It included ‘What would you like to get out of Toastmasters and our club?’ and ‘How do you see yourself giving back to the club?’ A key question was ‘Which leadership role will you stand for in the next leadership team elections?’This keeps everyone mindful of leadership roles. Yes, we have the Toastmaster promise “To serve my club as an officer when called upon to do so”, but sometimes it takes a club to embed these points into their member induction for the message to be driven home.

One could argue that a new member comes just to learn public speaking and has no interest to serve as a leader. But as a leader, you must ask: in the short and long term environment of the club, how is the member serving and supporting your club and the Toastmasters community? By just embracing public speaking, are they really getting their money’s worth?

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