Toastmasters specialises in personal development through effective communication, public speaking and leadership. Toastmasters’ motto is: ‘where leaders are made’.
In the early 1920s Ralph C. Smedley recognised there was a need for people to develop their communication skills and for personal and professional growth. He established a club in 1924, at the YMCA in Santa Ana, California, United States. Toastmasters have grown from being an English-speaking organisation to now including over a dozen languages.
Effective communication skills are essential in today’s world, in the workplace, for study, in community organisations and at home. Club members have the opportunity to learn the art of impromptu and public speaking, listening and delivering presentations in a positive environment with support from other members. A Toastmasters club embraces a ‘learn-by-doing’ philosophy, where each member decides on their learning needs and sets their own goals, learning at their personal pace.
Toastmasters also give members the opportunity to learn leadership skills by participating in various roles at each meeting in addition to learning the art of parliamentary procedure and meeting etiquette that is important in business settings. Every member has the opportunity to work in a team environment, take on a club executive position, and become an area or district director if they wish. The Townsville clubs are very proud to announce that Mike Storkey from Townsville City Council club is currently President elect of Toastmasters International, and every Toastmasters’ member has the opportunity to go this far if they wish.
In the Townsville, Burdekin and Ingham region there are a total of 11 clubs meeting weekly or fortnightly. Smedley believed that the best learning environment is when you are having fun. Visit a Toastmaster club today – it might just change your life.
About Toastmasters International
Toastmasters International is a worldwide non-profit educational organisation that empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organisation’s membership exceeds 345,000 in more than 15,900 clubs in 142 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators and leaders. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit www.toastmasters.org.
Follow @Toastmasters on Twitter.
INTERVIEW Eva Erhardt
A mature-age university student at James Cook University in her final semester of a Business Management degree, Eva Erhardt says she wouldn’t be a student today if it weren’t for Toastmasters. “Toastmasters taught me how to write a speech that inspires, persuades, entertains and leaves people with a take-home message,” Eva says. “I use these skills when I write a university assignment and a professional presentation in front of my peers no longer fazes me.”
Eva’s Toastmasters journey began in 2006 when she was a horticulture instructor and new resident of Ingham. She’d heard about Toastmasters and finally took the opportunity to join the Ingham group.
“English is my second language, so the aim was to learn the finer skills of writing a riveting speech and presenting it,” Eva says.
“Once I joined I realised there was so much more to Toastmasters than speaking. It was also a way for me to make new friends.”
Improving her communication skills at Toastmasters gave Eva confidence when speaking to various clients as a horticultural project manger. Becoming the club’s Public Relations officer also opened the door for her to write garden articles for two newspapers as well as being invited as a guest speaker and emcee for community organisations. “The leadership skills I’ve developed during the last 10 years at Toastmasters have paved the way for a career change,” Eva says. “I was previously self-employed as a horticultural project manager, with a background in education and tourism. I’m now completing my Business Management degree in June and my aim is to seek a position as a project manager, educator or consultant. “I believe my effective communication and leadership skills, gained from Toastmasters, will give me the competitive advantage in today’s tough employment market. “Taking on various roles, such as conference convenor, area director, new club sponsor and president of the University Toastmasters club has given me practical experience in team building, problem solving and mentoring members in reaching their own goals.”
INTERVIEW Belinda Bain
A true inspiration with her courage to take on new and challenging roles, member of Tropic City Toastmasters, Belinda Bain, is visually impaired and uses braille to help her fulfil her meeting roles. “I came along in 2011 and had such a great time that I joined straight away,” Belinda says. “I’m unable to read so I use braille notes for my speeches and roles. If I’m Toastmaster for the night, I need the agenda and speech titles at least a week before so I can type them up on my old Perkins Brailler machine.
“The best part about being a Toastmaster is getting up and speaking and learning from everyone else. I still get nervous but I think I’m getting better.”
Belinda originally came along to Toastmasters to get better at speaking but certainly enjoys the social side of belonging to the group as well. She takes on any role offered to her with gusto and is a natural with speaking off the cuff in what’s called Table Topics. Outside of Toastmasters, Belinda also enjoys craft, book clubs and rock-and-roll dancing.