This article provides you pure user review of Toastmasters international, a non-profit organization developing public speaking and leadership skills.
Paul Goldstein: I love Toastmasters, and was a member for eight years of a wonderful and very popular club in Worcester, Massachusetts (my old hometown). I attended meetings weekly, very seldom missing any. During the course of those years I earned the Advanced Toastmasters-Gold ranking, one of the highest achievement levels, requiring many advanced speeches. I entered numerous speech contests and won awards; I also served in most of the offices in my club, including as President. Toastmasters showed me a side of myself I didn’t know existed before. I discovered that it was often fun to speak before the members of my club on many different kinds of topics, to express myself in ways that I hadn’t previously dreamed of. Yes, I feared giving speeches, and feared my disfluency, but it felt good to speak despite that fear, to speak through that fear, to express myself regardless of the fear, and to not let the fear rule me. My prepared speeches were often fluent if I practiced them extensively beforehand. My impromptu speeches were usually disfluent. But my club heard every kind of fluency and disfluency level from me, and fully accepted and welcomed me, regardless of whether I was having a fluent evening or a disfluent evening. There is no Toastmasters in the area where I live now (near Bergen, Norway), but whenever I return to the U.S. and my old hometown, I make it a point to attend my old Toastmasters club. Also I’ve made many wonderful friends through Toastmasters, very close friends. Over the years I brought in some others who stutter into the club, to share in the experience. I highly recommend it!
Tim Bićanić: I joined a regular Toastmasters group in Holland a couple of years ago, liked it very much. I think a toastmasters group with just pws is good initiative. It has structure and a challenging element to it. What I liked about the mixed toastmasters group is the feedback after a speech and I started to realise that fluent people have the same ”issues” as pws. Important lesson.. and I noticed that at one point I was often talking about self actualisation / personal growth topics and I could notice that eyes were beginning to roll.. and that was also one reason I left the group in the end. I did not wanted to be that guy that always talks about stammering or such related topics. I learned a lot there but after a while I wanted to try out other things. Toastmasters was an important step in my process eventually, I recommend it to everybody
Pamela Mertz: I have been a Toastmaster since 2006 and absolutely love it. I completed everything in the program – both the communication and leadership tracks and earned the highest designation you can in the organization last September, DTM (or Distinguished Toastmaster.) It has helped my confidence and courage, and I have developed and improved my leadership skills as well. Now I spend my time helping new members get what they want to from the organization. Toastmasters is an international organization, with chapters in 84 countries. Check out www.toastmasters.org. Club meetings hold the same structure and cover the same material in all of the countries so it is very reassuring to know we are all learning the same positive communication building skills. People from all walks of life join Toastmasters, because many many people fear public speaking. I have been the only person in my two clubs for 7 years who stutters and no one cares – in fact, people are often inspired by how far I’ve come and my interest in continued learning and improvement. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to move beyond their comfort zones and become more effective communicators and leaders.
Gloria Klumb: I was in Toastmasters a couple of years . Two different clubs, I enjoyed it a lot. I was not in it for the ribbons or honors but for the experience of speaking. Got rid of some of the ands and ums.. I also used starter words and one member work with me to have them make sense.
Matt Schreifels: About two years ago I sat in on two meetings at a local Toastmasters club. I didn’t join at the time because I was looking for something more related to stuttering. I knew full well Toastmasters is not stuttering support group related. This was all well before I joined an NSA Chapter. I may join at some point in the future. I definitely understand how it would help everybody, fluent people and stutterers alike.