Cast your mind back to when you first came to a Toastmaster meeting or attended Speechcraft and remind yourself what it was like. For me, when I first attended Speechcraft, I recall saying to myself, “What am I doing here, I should have stayed at home”. And my thoughts when I first attended our Club were “These guys are just too good”. And I would say at a guess that my thoughts would not be dissimilar to other people.
When surveyed, the majority of people come to Toastmasters to improve their communication skills. A small number come to get leadership training, and an even smaller group (like me) come because they just enjoy the experience. To add to the mix, many who have English as a second language claim they want to improve their English. In actual fact, many of these can communicate quite well and suffer from nerves like the majority of visitors.
The ones who actually join have that added drive to do something about their nerves. The ones who don’t come back either feel Toastmasters is not for them or the nerves overtake them. Ideally, it would be great to have every visitor join a Toastmasters club.
I had no intention of joining. I completed Speechcraft in March, yet I only joined in August. It was only an invitation to join by John Taylor that did it for me.
So whenever you come across a visitor, remember your first Toastmasters experience, and do whatever you can to allay the nerves that may have been present on your first Toastmasters experience.