John and I joined the Hilton Head Toastermasters Club in the Fall of 2013, encouraged by our friend Roger Jeffery. We had never heard of this organization until Roger told us about it. An international organization, Toastmasters helps people to develop not only their speaking skills, but also listening and leadership skills. The year 2014 marks the 90th anniversary of Toastmasters International with more than 14,350 clubs in 122 countries with over 292,000 members. Their mission statement is “We empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders.” www.toastmasters.org
The Hilton Head club, the Fast Trackers, is a large and active group. Meeting at the Palmetto Electric Community Room every Friday morning at 7:45am for an hour, the members all take part in either running the meeting, speaking or evaluating speakers. This past Friday morning the room was packed with members and several guests as we all listened to three prepared speeches, three evaluations of the prepared speeches as well as three “off the cuff” speeches. Much applause was doled out for not only great effort but also truly wonderful speeches.
The best part of the meeting actually occurs at Starbucks after the meeting. Most of the members gather there to discuss the meeting and everything else going on in Hilton Head. We have already formed many new friendships over coffee and scones. Whether you are new to the island or a long-time resident, I would urge you to come to one of our meetings on Friday mornings. Not only will it improve your communication skills, it will expand your social circle. www.toastmastershhi.com