Toastmasters has imbued in me an ‘attitude of gratitude’ that cannot be overstated. The longer I stay in our wonderful organization the more I appreciate just about everything about it. Like many, I was initially terrified of public speaking. Now I love it. It was back in 1961 when an instructor at work gave his opening address to a class of twelve before the start of a three-month technical course that I realized that nothing reveals character more than a speech sincerely given. I wanted to be like that man, be able to speak with such eloquence and yet humility. Eleven years passed before I joined my first Toastmasters club but joining definitely changed my life.
Nothing engenders in us that sense of confidence more than being able to deliver a speech well. However, the tyro speaker does not generally have confidence. Membership of a Toastmasters club enables this. It is probably the best public speaking class room in the world today. It is certainly the best value.
However, it does take time to move from courage to confidence and from confidence to competence. To reach excellence takes considerably longer. Yet if you stay Toastmasters and do those assignments you cannot not improve. It’s assured. My first audience was a score of people at wedding reception in 1960. I was petrified Today, before two Toastmaster friends and a hundred non-Toastmasters, I kept an audience entertained for an hour. Yes, and they loved it – and so did I.
So, if you want to constantly improve as a speaker then keep on speaking. Keep on presenting to those audiences. But just as important – stay in Toastmasters! Stay! Never leave! In that way your fullest potential as a speaker will be realized.