Saturday, October 20, 2012
It All Began At A Toastmasters Meeting in 1992
In 1992 I joined Balcones Toastmasters. I had been encouraged to join a Toastmasters Club to fine tune my speaking skills, as it was suggested that the ability to communicate was necessary for future career advancement. I never dreamed that this would be the first step in a journey toward a career as a professional speaker.
Several years later I moved my membership to the West Austin II Toastmasters Club (which was closer to my home). In 2002 I was a semi-finalist and runner up in the Region Three speech contest, placing me in the top 18 Toastmasters that year (out of 20,000 that entered around the world).
As my skills as a speaker advanced, I have usually kept my membership in Toastmasters active, although my travel schedule does no allow me to participate regularly. I have remained a member because I know that one must never lose sight of those that helped them achieve their goals. In Texas there is an expression "Dance with the one that brung ya".... and too many seasoned speakers forget that they had to start somewhere (and many began in Toastmasters).
This week the Balcones Toastmasters group is hosting an "Old Timers Meeting" where they are inviting back former members to revisit the club. They have asked three people to give special talks. In addition to me there will be speeches by legendary story teller Hollis Baker and former mayor of Austin Ron Mullen.
My presentation will be about my journey from a 25-year-old kid who liked to talk, to a professional speaker (who still likes to talk). It has been a lot of work, but also full of fun, establishing a career as a speaker. There is more to the business than most people would ever imagine. In addition to Toastmasters I am an active member of the National Speakers Association (I currently serve on the board of the Austin Chapter and the NSA XY group) and I have had the pleasure to speak in nearly half the states in the US, and several other countries. Without Toastmasters I am not sure that I would have ever had this opportunity.
I am looking forward to delivering the keynote for the "Old Timers" event, and hope that the current members of the club will find some value in my story. But aren't I too young to be and "old-timer"?
Have A Great Day.
The Balcones Toastmasters meeting to commemorate the members of yesterday was a big success. It was an honor to share the program with Hollis Baker and Ron Mullen.
Many alumni of the group returned to spend the morning sharing stories and remembering those who has passed away over the years. Hollis had joined the club in the 1970s, Ron in the 1980s, and I was there in the 1990s, yet the positive experiences were often the same!
Most who shared stories credited their participation in Toastmasters as a direct reason for their success in personal and professional endeavors.