My Toastmasters Story
Steve and Mary at the 2001 Toastmasters International Convention in Anaheim, California
Steve at Toastmasters International World Headquarters in Orange County, California
Steve and Mary at Georgia Toastmasters District 44 2017 Fall Conference
In the Fall of 1989 while taking a Dale Carnegie Course in Atlanta, a fellow classmate mentioned that she was in this organization called "Toastmasters".
A few months later, in the days before the internet and websites, I looked up Toastmasters in the phone book and found a number to call, so I called, talked to the local "rep", and he mailed me a directory of local Toastmasters Clubs in Georgia.
One Thursday evening in February of 1990, I decided to check out the Stone Mountain Toastmasters Club which met weekly at an office building near the Stone Mountain Village.
When I walked in, there were two gentlemen (Mike and Jack) who had arrived early for one of them to practice their speech for an upcoming contest. Although they were otherwise busy, they stopped and introduced themselves to me. Several more club members later arrived and they, too, were very friendly and gracious toward me. This was the first time I ever truly felt welcomed as a stranger.
At 6:45, the meeting started, they recognized me as their guest, and I experienced my very first Toastmasters meeting complete with prepared speeches, impromptu speaking ("Table Topics"), and positive, constructive evaluations. After the meeting, I was so impressed that my only question was "Where do I sign?". One week later, I officially joined the Stone Mountain Toastmasters Club.
A lot of folks think that Toastmasters is just a "speaking club", but to me, it was a whole lot more.
Toastmasters was (and still is) the place where I learned a lot about dealing and communicating with people. They helped me to become comfortable in my own skin while helping me along the way to improve as a person.
Over the 30-plus years in Toastmasters, I made a lot of lifelong friends, served in every club-level office starting with treasurer in 1991, advanced up the state-level (district) ranks from an area governor (now called "area director") to division governor (now called "division director"), district sergeant-at-arms (now called "logistics manager" IIRC), and eventually district governor.
In 1995, I earned the title Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM), the highest educational achievement in Toastmasters.
Last, but not least, I met my soulmate Mary in Toastmasters. We were married in 2003 behind a chicken house in northwest Georgia (that's another story for another time) and have been happily married and still active in our local Toastmasters club since.
To learn more about Toastmasters and how they can help you achieve your personal and professional goals, visit their website, www.Toastmasters.org. I can't guarantee that you'd meet your future spouse there, but I can guarantee that they will help you learn, grow, and achieve!!!