LEFT: KEYFRAME PHOTOGRAPHY; CENTER, RIGHT: JOWDY PHOTOGRAPHY
BY STEVE FISHER
WHETHER YOU are an extrovert or an
introvert, speaking in public, for professional or personal reasons, is a daunting
task. The key is being prepared. The trick
is finding a place that provides a warm and
supportive atmosphere in which to learn
and practice. That place is Toastmasters
Toastmasters was started in ;;;; by
Ralph C. Smedley, who was working for
the YMCA in Bloomington, Illinois. He
recognized a need for men to “learn ho w to
speak, conduct meetings, plan programs
and work on committees,” according to
the Toastmasters website (toastmasters.
org). (Women weren’t officially admitted
until ;;;;.) Since its founding, the organization has helped more than ; million
men and women become more confident
in their speaking and leadership skills.
Membership now exceeds ;;;,;;;, with
more than ;;,;;; clubs in ;;; countries.
Differerent reasons to join
Toastmasters members join for a vari-
ety of reasons.
Margaret Page ( margaretpage.com),
a Costco member in British Columbia,
was running a successful business when
she was asked to speak at an international
conference in Las Vegas, but she didn’t feel
up to the task. She was left with the feeling
she’d let her team down. She researched
ways to enhance her speaking skills and
found a Toastmasters chapter nearby.
“It is a big step for many, many peo-
ple to walk in the door of a Toastmasters
club,” Page acknowledges. “It takes great
courage. I found a tribe that was willing to
support me in my growth.”
Fourteen years later, Page is interna-
tional director for the organization. “I’m
still growing and learning from the expe-
rience,” she says.
Her efforts with Toastmasters opened
doors of opportunity, including hosting
a radio program, moderating a federal
debate and being a campaign manager in
a federal election. It also led to speaking
engagements in Japan and Europe.
“That simply would not have hap-
pened had I not walked through the
Toastmasters’ doors,” she says.
Costco member Rochelle Rice, a
Toastmasters Accredited Speaker, moved
to New York to be a dancer. As her profes-
sional dancing career was winding down,
she moved into the fitness arena and
started speaking at conventions.
Toastmasters helps build self-con;dence
Toast of the town
Rochelle Rice Josephine Lee Jim Key
CONTINUED ON PAGE 22
OUR DIGITAL EDITIONS
Click here to watch a short video
on Toastmasters International.
(See page 9 for details.)
“I knew how to dance and move, and
I knew how to speak, but Toastmasters
brought it together for me,” she recalls.
“Before Toastmasters, I was really chal-
lenged putting the sequence together.
Toastmasters teaches you the basics:
the opening of the speech, the body of a
speech—which usually includes one to
three bullets points—and the closing of
the speech. Whether you are giving a toast
at a wedding, whether you’re doing a eulogy
or giving a presentation for the company,
that’ll tie up an incredible speech.”
“Toastmasters has provided [me
with] so much more than just communi-
cation education,” she says. “It provided
MEMBERS PAY international dues of
$45 every six months. (Some clubs may
charge additional fees.) New members
also pay a one-time $20 fee. You must be
18 or older to join. Go to toastmasters.org
for more information, and use the Find a
Club tool for a chapter near you.—SF