The first Toastmasters meeting was held in1924. Now Toastmaster’s has 260 000 members, over 13 000 Clubs in 110 countries.
Ralph Smedley our founder said, “Toastmasters is a non profit international organization that operates Clubs worldwide, helping people in their communication, public speaking and leadership skills. The programs are designed to help men & women learn the art of speaking, listening and thinking.”
But in fact Toastmasters is so much more than that. Smedley also said “Clubs should be a place where you receive the personal touch, are caring and good fun”.
I was born in Europe, but found myself in an English boarding school at age, five and a half. After that things just became more frightening and confusing. I sustained a huge amount of rejection and negativity as a child. When I was 16, I came home from boarding school at Christmas time and 2 months later my mother and her new husband, were gone. They went back, to Europe to live, but left me in Australia. So I was chucked into the deep end, my life was sink or swim.
People say to me you don’t have a problem with public speaking…. little do they know! My personality had become totally introverted. I become defensive, pushy and abrasive. I was a very insecure person. On top of it all I found that I had Asperger’s and that made for some serious additional difficulties!
Why have I told you all this? Because one day I realized how much Toastmasters has done for me. My biggest issues – self esteem and confidence, were answered by Toastmasters. We all want acceptance, to fit in, be liked, have respect, and recognition. I had played around the peripheries of Toastmasters for years, all over the world. But once I decided to get serious, things really changed for me. No psycho analysis, no pressure, but a lot of acceptance and help. Toastmasters is a place where you improve at your own rate, in your own time.
Can I take you with me on this journey? Don’t miss this opportunity, I implore you! It will be more fun and take you higher than you ever expected and truly help you to realize your genuine potential.
Hedda Pike ACG/ALB
Eastern Division Governor 2014/15