Why I Toast

I wrote this up for the company newsletter; we're trying to recruit members for our chapter of Toastmasters. It'll be interesting to see if this attracts anyone.

The promotional literature for Toastmasters generally presents a litany of reasons for joining up: there's the appeal to the shy, that they might become more confident; the paean to enhanced leadership skills; and always the promise of camaraderie and bonhomie. While worthy reasons to explore our bold, competent and amicable group, they don't capture the opportunity Toastmasters offers that caught my eye. I've not been shy in front of an audience in decades, being an officer lacks appeal, and being gregarious has never been a personal goal. What I was seeking, although I didn't realize it, was a place to give a speech. Backing up a bit: I was a competitive debater and speaker back in my school days. Adult life, though, doesn't have much to offer in terms of opportunities to exercise rhetoric and oratory. At Wavemakers meetings, though, there is an engaged audience and a critical ear every week, focused on making you a better speaker. Not only does it indulge my love of spoken reason and clever phrasing, it also allows for competition. Although I don't always throw my hat in, twice a year, a speaking event starts on the club level and progresses well beyond. If you want to break out of a shell, learn to lead or just make friends, please come visit; if you already love to speak, I'll see you there.

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