I joined Toastmasters because I wanted to overcome nerves when speaking in public, and to be able to communicate my ideas in a more fluid and confident manner. I am an entrepreneur in the creative industries – songwriter, executive music producer and author – and so I want to develop the ability to pitch my projects to potential clients with a calm, measured and persuasive delivery. I have been a member of Brighton and Hove Speakers Club for a couple of years now, and I can really see the positive changes it has made in my life. It is an incredibly friendly and welcoming club, and is becoming increasingly popular due to its warm and supportive members and effective organising committee
As I want to bring several new creative projects to the marketplace, there is nowhere more exciting for me to do that than New York City. I have made many trips there over the past few years, so recently I decided that I should take the opportunity to join a club there too (it is possible to be a member of different clubs simultaneously). I decided to join the Toastmasters club on Staten Island, which led to some great experiences such as an appearance on their TV channel (the Advanced manual “Communicating on Television” will help you prepare if you ever have to face a TV camera!), hosting a public performance at one of New York’s public libraries, and representing Staten Island in the competitive speaking league; winning the Division F Table Topic Contest and going on to represent the club at District level in New Jersey
It was interesting to see the differences in the way they organised their meetings, for example there the General Evaluator introduces the other Evaluators and oversees that part of the meeting, rather than the Toastmaster. Also, as the club has less members than Brighton and Hove, people tend to take on multiple roles within a meeting, which is a great way to fast-track through the Competent Leadership manual.
I would recommend that members try visiting other clubs if they have the opportunity – it’s a great way to build up courage by speaking to new audiences, and you will receive a wider variety of feedback than you would only speaking in one club. But despite a few differences, I found far more similarities between both clubs – the most important thing in common was kind, authentic and supportive people on either side of the ocean.