Like most, you probably heard that by attending Toastmasters meetings you can learn the skills to improve your communication and leadership proficiencies in a no-pressure atmosphere. But have you heard of the Toastmasters family?
Several months ago, a long standing Distinguish Toastmaster wrote an article on ‘Our Toastmasters Family’ and the true value of the Toastmasters family to her. This made me think of how total strangers quickly become friends when they first attend a Toastmasters meeting and even quicker become part of a very supportive family.
The first time I attended a Parramatta Toastmasters meeting, the club had a visit from Santa and I was surprised to receive a present from the man in the red suit. I guess I was on the ‘nice’ list that year or perhaps it was a clever way for visitors to break the ice and start conversations with members.
I met a few people that night, gained lots of insightful information about many members but was truly amazed of how every member that bid me farewell that night, actually pronounced my name correctly and not some similar sounding name like Steven. It was that camaraderie and supportive atmosphere, which grew my interest in learning more about Toastmasters offerings.
Participating in Toastmasters has been fun and scary, often at the same time but the program is very well thought out. You can’t help but develop skills across the board if you follow their communication and leadership educational program. I definitely learnt a lot on how to listen well and express my views constructively; both vital to leadership and Toastmasters has been an excellent environment to develop both.
But it has been the positive and genuine support from members that has kept me going back to meetings for the last 7 years. Somehow spending time in an environment where everyone is focused on growth produces positive energy. Once you experience that energy, it is practically impossible to walk away.
Some might say that there are two kinds of people; those who are Toastmasters and those who are not. Once you get on board, your life transforms and the possibilities are endless – one that’s full of learning, fun and for me the added benefit of a genuinely supportive group of friends and family.