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Why Toastmasters benefits Rotary clubs

11 December 2019 260 views No Comment

You may have heard that most people would rather die than give a speech. Public speaking is the number one fear for many people.

For 49 years, I too had a fear of public speaking. It was so bad, I would break out in a sweat. I’d leave the room. I’d find excuses, or ask other people to stand up and speak for me. Anything to avoid having to speak in public. A couple of bad experiences early in my life built up this fear, but I made it my goal to overcome it. Fifteen years ago at the age of 50, I was introduced to Toastmasters by a good friend, and I’ve been a member since.

As a Rotary member, I’ve been committed to Service Above Self for more than 20 years. I now believe one of the best acts of service we can do is to help people find their voice.

Four years ago, a group of Rotary members and I started a Toastmasters club to do just that. We wanted to create a “safe harbor” where people could improve their speaking skills, in the spirit of friendship and fellowship. As a charter member, I was privileged to give the first speech, which established this shared value as the cornerstone of our club.

Our Rotary club has over 250 members and our Toastmasters club has around 40. While most of the Toastmasters members are also members of our Rotary club, we are also open to non-Rotarians. Those who are in both clubs find added value in Toastmasters.

In Toastmasters, we learn how to feel comfortable in front of an audience, sharing knowledge, experiences, and values. This is not only fun for the audience, but it’s healing and even cleansing for us to share our stories. While it can initially be hard to open up and be vulnerable in front of peers, as we do so, it helps us understand and relate to each other. [ Read More ]

 

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