Ninety years ago, when Toastmasters founder, Dr. Ralph C. Smedley held the first meeting in the basement of a YMCA in Santa Ana, Calif., only a few people showed up. Now, with membership exceeding 313,000 in more than 14,650 clubs in 126 countries, Toastmasters International continues to build on Smedley’s foundation of teaching public speaking and leadership skills.
David GoWell of Mt. Laurel has been a member of Moorestown Area Toastmasters for about a year. He credits the club for helping him to become more comfortable speaking to groups in a variety of situations.
“Since joining Toastmasters, I’m much more relaxed and confident when I speak. It doesn’t matter if I’m speaking to a group of friends informally, or making a business presentation. The skills I’ve learned at Toastmasters have helped me,” GoWell said. “I recommend Toastmasters for anyone looking to improve their communication and leadership skills.”
Dr. Smedley said, “The unprepared speaker has the right to be afraid,” which is why Toastmasters teaches the art of preparation. Toastmasters clubs provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.
Clubs around the world will celebrate Toastmasters’ 90th anniversary with special meetings. Locally, Moorestown Area Toastmasters, which meets at the Elbo Lane Fire Station on the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., will hold their next meetings on Oct. 23 and Nov. 13.
The general public is invited to visit a meeting and learn more about what Toastmasters has to offer. Please email club president Steve Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.