I am happy to tell you that I am the 2008-2009 Area 7 governor. Are you wondering, “What does that mean?”
As Area Governor, I am to serve 3 Erie clubs and one in Warren, assisting them to help their members gain speaking and leadership skills.
In preparation for this, I purchased and started to read two books by Ralph Smedley, the Toastmasters founder. What you may find interesting is that even in the very beginning, the second Toastmasters club was founded by a professor who taught public speaking courses. Toastmasters filled a need he saw in his courses. After completing the course, he believed that his students needed continuing practice in order to keep improving and maintaining their skills. This may explain why so many people have been in Toastmasters for many years.
Like I, you may have spent much time this weekend at picnics. You may have also spent much of that time just talking to friends and relatives. For me, much of that time I answered the question, “What is Toastmasters?” People always think Toastmasters is for people who like public speaking and want to do it more. After reading the books, as I was taught and it was confirmed, Toastmasters was started for people who feared public speaking. Guess what… it is still that way!
So two lessons, Toastmasters is for people who don’t want to fear speaking any longer… and for people to don’t but know they need to keep practicing. You may notice that in a meeting. There is a lot of beginners and veterans. The trick is trying to get people to stay over the hump.
If you haven’t yet… give Toastmasters a try. It may not be what you thought it was.
In the meantime, I’ll spend the coming year trying to inform people of what Toastmasters really is, helping those in my Area clubs to be the best speakers they can, and helping them realize they can push beyond what they think.
Copyright 2008 Michael Cortes