The Parramatta Toastmasters Culture

By Michael Said

 I often ask myself what makes our Club meetings so special. Why does coming to Parramatta Toastmasters look and feel somewhat different to attending another Toastmaster meeting. Why is it an experience not forgotten. This is not in any way denigrating other clubs. Each club has its own culture, making them a unique entity in their own right. Yet there is something at  Parramatta that at first you struggle to put your finger on. When you break it down, it all starts with our culture.

Visitors to Parramatta have often said that there is camaraderie within the four walls. One of mateship, willing to have others do their best, and one of excelling at every opportunity. There is not a single person or action which makesParramatta what it is. It is an entire team effort. New members cannot help but be sucked into this vortex of achievement. And over time, we see people grow in confidence, take on something new and before they know it, are excelling at something they could not have imagined possible.

Have you noticed that after a meeting, you struggle to leave; you have trouble getting to sleep because of the high you are experiencing. And this feeling does not happen after other functions. And typically at each meeting there is at least one thing that stands out above the rest. Last meeting was as special and chilling as any other. We had a set of thought provoking table topics from a beaming Wendy Neilson to the Anzac Day theme. And we had four speeches. Kim gave his ice breaker, always memorable. Suzanne relived the coup in her homeland, I gave a personal story. But the grabbing event of the night was when David Griffiths presented the eulogy delivered in 1993 by the then Prime Minister, Paul Keating, to the Unknown Soldier. The chilling rendition of the Prime Minister’s speech left an eerie calm in the meeting room, climaxing in the 1 minute of silence to concluding the presentation. Thank you David for the long lasting memory for that night.

However in saying this, have you also noticed that everyone plays a part, all contributing, covering for others, adding to the banter. From the President, past Presidents to the newest member, it is 100% contribution all the time. What really stands out is how visitors are made to feel welcome and are included in the activities at the meeting. This goodwill that is permanently present has a self-generating momentum.

And outside the meeting we have members participating in the growth of the growth of the organisation, leaving a legacy for future Toastmasters to enjoy.

And if you miss a meeting, you just need to check out the ParraNatta to get a snap shot of what happened. Barbara Beveridge captures the spirit of the night in every edition.

I used to wonder what had me fly back from being interstate to attend a Toastmaster meeting. I don’t need to wonder at all. Thank you Parramatta Toastmasters, definitely better than the best.

 

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