Attending my first Toastmasters meeting was for the sole purpose of getting a woman off my back. She thought Toastmasters would be good for me. I attended only with the intention of telling him “Toastmasters is not for me.” Fifty-five minutes after the meeting, he was hooked.
Each Toastmaster eventually expresses a deep and personal feeling of intimacy. We are assigned specific tasks, goals, and rules that we must follow in order to achieve rewards and advance. We learn that it is easier to give a speech on a topic that we know or that interests us.
Aligning the head, the heart and the guts allows us to give authentic, sincere and genuine speeches. During the Old Folsom State Prison Gavel Club meeting in January 2017, I heard speeches about the love of a baby brother, the stresses of life in and out of gangs, and a terrifying session with a two-year-old girl during a visit to the prison.
When we connect with others in a genuine way, trust is built. I love my little sister very much. I feel connected when I have friends and when I became a 19 year old mother I was terrified. Because the speakers shared openly in an authentic way, I was interested in what was being said. I believed and trusted what was said. The end result was a bond that was established through stories told that night.
Everything learned in Toastmasters can add positive skills to use in daily life. The organization is global and offers a lifetime of learning and connections with others. Gavel Club members and community members can easily connect with each other. The basic rules of Toastmasters are basically the same all over the world, putting everyone on the same page.
Once a Toastmaster, always a Toastmaster. The lessons learned about proper pauses, time management, sentence structure, grammar, communication, words and phrases will stay with you forever.
When I joined Toastmasters I didn’t feel stressed about communicating in front of groups until I fell during my fifth speech. My mentor encouraged me to continue with the program. He said he would be amazed and would grow personally and professionally if he remained committed to the program. I thank her and the members of my club for their encouragement and support.
The Old Folsom State Prison Gavel Club Toastmasters creates a safe, structured and positive environment for me and for those who are committed to their interpersonal growth and professional development.