Ian Pickens

A long time ago in a distant memory I heard of a group of people who learnt and practiced public speaking. They were called Toastmasters

It sounded like a lot of fun BUT, do they really have impromptu speaking? How can one talk on a subject to which the subject is totally foreign? I had a very busy work schedule at the time and although had an interest, the questions, the impromtu speaking, and the time I thought I needed put me right off. I had better things to do with my life, so I thought.

From the moment I sat in my first meeting many years later, I felt the enthusiasm, I experienced the energy, the excitement, the positive supportive learning environment, and watched enthralled at the speakers. It was obvious this was a hobby I had to attack with my usual gusto. Then I find out everyone is commended on what they did well and offered some points for growth to be used at a later time. What is this, supportive, positive, non judgemental feed back? Now, if not before, I was hooked.

1 year later I was entrenched in the leadership group. I had the opportunity to learn membership growth strategies, meeting program skills, emcee skills. I accepted the challenge of club officer roles then Area Governor which meant assisting 5 other clubs to achieve their goals, I was encouraged and supported to be the Chairman of the District Convention.

Just when I thought I could sit and rest, along comes an opportunity to start my own club or mentor a club in trouble,

I am excited by the opportunities for personal growth and skill development attending Toastmasters. I am proud of my Toastmaster achievements, I look forward enthusiastically to future challenges and opportunities.