Toastmasters International is an organization that has the power to transform the lives of individuals. Toastmasters is a leading, global non-profit organization dedicated to improving the communication and leadership skills of its members. Through its individual clubs (over 300,000 members worldwide) members develop their communication and leadership skills in a supportive environment while contributing to the personal development of their fellow members.
As a member for many years, Toastmasters means many things to me. It means: personal transformation, leadership and communication skills development, service, excellence, dedication, fun, friendship and camaraderie. At its core; however, to me Toastmasters is really about service and empowerment. By participating in Toastmasters programs members are empowered to become authentic communicators and leaders. In others words, they are empowered to become who they were truly meant to be while serving others.
The organization started in 1924 by Ralph Smedley. Since that time (for over 90 years) the organization has helped over 3,000,000 men and women worldwide to develop their leadership and communication skills in a supportive environment. While there is an organizational structure in place, it’s the members that are at the apex or the top of the organization.
How Toastmasters works is that members join a home club. Every week, bi-weekly or monthly members come together in the club environment to develop their communication and leadership skills. Members deliver speeches both prepared and impromptu. An important part of the program is learning how to deliver effective feedback through the evaluation of speeches and various components of the meeting. Members develop their leadership and communication skills, along with critical thinking, meeting facilitation, feedback skills among other skills in this supportive environment.
Toastmasters helped me to develop my communication and leadership skills to the advanced level. I have won awards for public speaking. It’s a beautiful thing to witness when members bring their potential to fruition. Through mentoring and coaching members, I’ve seen this beautiful development first hand as members become their true selves as leaders. A personal transformation does occur.
Members take the communication and leadership skills they have developed and use them to affect positive change. Members positively impact their families, friendships, their workplaces, volunteer organizations and their communities. I’ll always be a passionate ambassador and advocate for Toastmasters as I believe that it helps to make the world a better place for all.
What about you? How has belonging to Toastmasters or another volunteer service organization impacted your life?
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