I would have to say delivering speeches at a Toastmasters club and participating in a leadership program has changed my life immensely. And not always for the good.
I’ve been a member of Toastmasters going on 27 years now. 5 years into the program, I was feeling comfortable and spoke up at a staff meeting. Unfortunately, the event turned as sour as could happen, and I was terminated from my position. I successfully won my grievance and went on to work another 20 years or so with the same organization before recently retiring.
I worked as a registered nurse working in psychiatry. While I had a lot of one-to-one conversations with my patients, I didn’t do any presentations.
The real difference for me has been in my personal and business life. I’ve had some sort of side hustle going on for many years.
My confidence gained from delivering numerous speeches at Toastmasters helped me get out of my comfort zone and deliver speeches to different groups.
I went from being a shy introvert to being a not so shy introvert. From the hundreds of meetings I chaired and leadership roles I took on in Toastmasters, I went on to develop a local MC business. I.e. Mr. Emcee. This led to me writing a book entitled The Savvy Emcee: How to Be a Dynamic Master of Ceremonies. And then it has led to me coaching others who want to develop a master ceremonies business.
I’ve gone on to write and publish another dozen or so personal/professional self-development books and I attribute my ability to do so upon the self-confidence I have developed as a Toastmaster.
As for changing my personality and demeanour, I’m not so sure about that. Having worked 40 years in psychiatry and mental health, there is very little that shakes me up or overwhelms me. I would say those 40 years have had more of an effect on my demeanour than Toastmasters, however Toastmasters has had more of an effect on my self-confidence and enjoyment of life.
For further discussion on public speaking, speech development, communication skills and Toastmasters, visit the Live For Excellence Book Store for the following publications:
Blow Your Own Horn!: Personal Branding for Business Professionals
Power Networking For Shy People: How to Network Like a Pro
The Power of Persuasion: Mastering the Art of Influence
The Power of Promotion: Online Marketing For Toastmasters Club Growth
The Savvy Emcee: How to be a Dynamic Master of Ceremonies
Working With Words: Adding Life to Your Oral Presentations
Rae A. Stonehouse is an author, speaker, and self-publishing consultant dedicated to helping others embrace constant improvement and overcome challenges. With over 40 years of experience as a Registered Nurse in psychiatry and mental health, Rae brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for self-development to his writing and presentations.
As a 25+ year member of Toastmasters International, Rae has systematically built his communication abilities and self-confidence to share his insights as an author and speaker. His self-help books and personal development presentations aim to have conversational one-on-one connections with readers and audiences.
Rae is known for his wry sense of humor and sage advice delivered in a relatable coaching style. After four decades as a nurse, Rae has rewired rather than retired, actively writing and pursuing public speaking. He strives to share lessons learned to help others achieve personal and professional growth.