Diane Windingland When I joined Toastmasters a few years ago, I wasn’t looking to become a polished speaker or to enhance my leadership skills; I was just looking for a club that would allow my homeschooled, teenaged son to participate, even though he was too young to join. They welcomed his participation, on one condition—I had to join the club!I joined the club and the next week, I was in a leadership position, helping to plan club meetings. Over the next few years, I held several club and district leadership positions, greatly improving both my management and leadership skills—“on-the-job” leadership training in the non-threatening and supportive environment that is a hallmark of Toastmasters. In addition to growing in leadership, I grew in communication skills, through the various projects emphasizing different aspects of communication from the basics of organizing a speech to the challenges of leading discussions. I even entered and won a few speech contests. My attitude regarding public speaking moved from fear to fun!.

As my confidence as a speaker and leader grew, I began to see myself differently. I began to see myself as an achiever who had a lot to give to others. Even more recently, with the encouragement of other Toastmasters, I began to consider developing myself as a professional speaker.

Only a couple of weeks ago, I saw an employment ad for “Dynamic Public Speakers wanted” for a local college. The college was looking for people to present classroom workshops to high school students. After encouragement and advice from another Toastmaster, who currently conducts workshops with the college, I decided to go to the “info” session. After 2 auditions and an interview yesterday, they hired me! I definitely would not have had the courage and confident presence to apply for this kind of job without my Toastmaster experience and connections. My Toastmaster experience has not been what I expected—it has been so much more!

Diane Windingland
Prairie Division Governor 2009-10
District 6 Toastmasters

I joined toastmasters when my boss dared me to become a better public speaker or find another job. In six months I distinguished myself enough to impress my boss and keep my job.Since then I’ve taken learned much more than I could have imagined. I’ve grown as a leader by serving as a club and district officer, sharpened my speaking skills, and honed my interview skills.Thanks to toastmasters I’ve taken challenges I would never have imagined: earning my MBA, running for public office in Minneapolis and becoming an assistant professor at Metropolitan State University. I’ve learned that saying yes to opportunities in toastmasters can lead to unexpected opportunities. Allan Bernard 2009

Taking my boss’s dare and joining toastmasters was one of the best decisions of my life.

Allan Bernard, DTM
District 6 Toastmasters Governor 2009-2010

Parul Mishra of IBM Toastmasters conquered her “mean inner voice” to take 2nd place at the District 6 Spring Speech Contest in April 2009.Read all about it in an article published in the Rochester Post Bulletin by clicking on the article image to the left.

Read more stories at the Toastmasters International website