The other day I was waiting for my son to get off of work. Laying on the coffee table, was a section of the Kansas City Star. I noticed the picture on the page thinking, I believe I know that young man. I was correct, it was an article on a member of one of our Toastmasters clubs. After reading the article, I sent an email to Ken, asking him to write the following. I have watched Ken grow as speaker and leader.
But first, read the link to the Kansas City Star article.
Now for the star, Ken Bevers and his journey in Toastmasters….
I joined Toastmasters because I was afraid to speak in situations beyond public speaking. Ordering food at a restaurant or introducing myself was a very stressful event. Would I be able to say the word? Should I order pasta instead? I think I can say salad, but that doesn’t sound very good. These inner battles made most social situations exhausting.
So I decided to jump into the deep end by joining Toastmasters. The first thing I noticed was how welcoming everyone was. This was very important to me considering I was bringing one of my biggest insecurities along with me. My initial experience in Toastmasters made me realize that I could be somewhat successful in speaking, but I still need a little help. I then decided to join the McGuire Program, which is a tremendous coaching program that teaches people who stutter to speak from their costal diaphragm and voluntarily stutter, both of which lead to significant progress. After the McGuire Program I came back into Toastmasters and was able to say what I wanted.
At that point, my experience with Toastmasters significantly changed. I started volunteering to run meetings, give more speeches, and take on new duties. I eventually ran for a leadership position. What I quickly realized was that Toastmasters was an excellent opportunity to grow as a speaker in every facet. If I wanted to work on public speeches I could do just that; if I wanted to work on impromptu speaking I could do “table topics”; if I wanted to work on my ability to run meetings I could serve as Toastmaster for the evening. Whatever speaking challenge existed in my life could be overcome first by practicing in Toastmasters.
As I moved forward and gained more momentum, I gained increased confidence and that spilled over into the rest of my life. I also met my current mentor through Toastmasters. That is another great thing about Toastmasters is that as you connect to other clubs and begin networking with other people and it can lead to powerful connections. In many ways, Toastmasters was the catalyst for many positive, significant changes in my life. Toastmasters has, therefore, been a very important part of what led to who I am today. Now, I’m moving towards my goal of becoming a powerful and eloquent speaker and I’m loving every minute.