Happy Birthday Toastmasters

Today you can write about anything, in whatever genre or form, but your post must mention a dark night, your fridge, and tears (of joy or sadness; your call).

This month sees Toastmasters International celebrate its 90th birthday. Founded in 1924 by Ralph C. Smedley, it began as a single club in Santa Ana, California to help young men learn the art of public speaking.  90 years later there are 14,650 clubs in 126 countries and Toastmasters is continuing to grow.

Today, Toastmasters International’s membership is over 300,000 and it uses the tagline “Where Leaders are Made.” Emphasising the connection between public speaking and leadership in modern career paths.

I joined Toastmasters International in 2010 and have enjoyed my journey to becoming a competent speaker. I completed my first speaking manual —Competenat Communicator twice to develop my confidence writing and speaking, before I began the my Advanced Manuals, which I am now half way through.

The skills that I have learnt and honed at Toastmasters have definitely helped in both writing my book and commencing blogging. They help me think on my feet and this year in the impromptu speaking competition—Table Topics—I was runner-up at Area, something I am very proud of and a personal best.

My favourite part of Toastmasters, especially as a sponsor of a new club is seeing people make their first speech to the club called the Ice Breaker—for obvious reasons. This a  particularly stressful time for many new members due to fear, anxiety and lack of confidence. However, mentorship and support from club members gets them through. After presenting their first speech, it is not uncommon for members to cry tears of joy as they realise that they really did do it —the planning, preparation and practice paid off.

If you are looking for a supportive way to achieve personal growth and develop at your own pace I would recommend you consider joining a Toastmaster Club near you. They are a proven way to enrich your life for 90 years.