Do you ever find yourself struggling or even scared to speak in front of large groups of people?
Then Toastmasters is the perfect club for you. Toastmasters is a non-profit, international organization that helps people improve both their public speaking skills and leadership skills while helping you build more self confidence. In general, having proficiency with public speaking has many other benefits in life such as career growth, being able to inspire others, better communication skills, and more social connections. At some point point in your life you are going to find yourself in a situation where you have to speak in front of a large group, like a meeting or a class presentation, and if you are struggling it is good to start practicing early. Public speaking is a life skill that will benefit your everyday life.
Toastmasters International was founded by Ralph C. Smedley at a YMCA(Young Men’s Christian Association) in Bloomington, Illinois. It originated as a class to help young men with their speaking skills. The first unofficial toastmasters meeting was in 1904. Much like today’s meetings, the men would go around the room and greet each other, make speeches, and then evaluate them. In 1902, Smedley expanded the YMCA to Santa Ana, California and in 1924 he brought toastmasters with him. They eventually became officially known as Toastmasters International and their first meeting was held on October 22, 1924. The word of the club began to spread around many communities and people wanted to start their own clubs. The name “toastmaster” came from the term people used to call a person giving a toast at an event. In 1973 they began having women join the club. Now Toastmasters has helped over 4 million people become better at public speaking in 143 countries. Toastmasters has over 16,600 clubs worldwide; there is even one here at Atholton. The Toastmasters club at Atholton is run by juniors, Renee Sen and Ethan Fan.
Renee and Ethan are running the Toastmasters club at Atholton because they both once struggled with public speaking, but ever since they got better at it, it has made life a lot easier. Fan said “If you know public speaking, you can go pretty far in life. Especially in high school, they don’t offer many business courses and if you want to something business like public speaking, you’re going to have to talk to marketers and investors and I think that is pretty important.” They want to help students overcome a fear or help them get better at public speaking which will help you out longterm and make everyday life a lot easier.
Sen “started in eighth grade public speaking, and I was a really shy person, had no confidence, and whenever I had to confront someone I would get sweaty, and just get all redNow I feel confident to talk to people, and now I’m just not scared to…teachers or anyone,” she said. If public speaking has been a problem for you, or you just want to get better, Toastmasters is a good option for you. The effects will stretch your everyday life now and in the future.