I attended my first Toastmasters meeting tonight. I’d previously had some exposure to the organisation, but only very tangentially, friends participating and friends of friends. Toastmaster’s is an organisation that aims to develop their public speaking skills. Meetings are held in the style of a traditional business meeting, with an agenda circulated to members before hand. There is some repetition in terms of the way the meeting is structured and the various components that make up the agenda, but with different participants allocated different roles each time the meetings are always unique despite those similarities.
About this time last year I touched base with one of those clubs and asked her to recommend a club for me as I knew that she and her extended family had been participating in the program for a number of years. I’d requested that she try to refer me to a club with some experienced speakers in it. I’ve previously done some public speaking, with a HD in a public speaking unit as part of my study, so I wanted to get the most out of the experience in terms of improving my skills and expanding my social networks.
So along I went to a meeting and met some really lovely people. They couldn’t have been more warm and welcoming, and I found that really encouraging. As I had some idea of what was expected, I had briefly compiled a few notes around the first speech an ‘Ice Breaker.’ There was room on the program and even though I hadn’t paid my membership dues, the club was kind enough to let me jump right in. I think that’s the way to do these things sometimes, to just throw yourself into it and I am glad that I did! At the end of the night I received the Chairman’s award which is an award by the meetings chairperson to their favourite speaker, and also won the best speech which members vote on during the course of the meeting. I knew that I would have some competence in the area,
It was a great experience, and I will definitely join up and participate again.
If you’d like to find out more about Toastmasters and what they offer, take a look at their website. Membership fees are quite affordable, and there is no obligation to pay or join up if you are curious – all clubs will welcome you with open arms if you would like to attend a meeting and see what its all about. I encourage you to do just that, it’s a lot of fun!