Every week at our TM meetings is a blessing. I come into the room and am always greeted with a smile and an occasional hug. Our members come from diverse walks of life, and regardless of what we do on our “off days”, we’re all at the meeting for the same reason: to improve our skills as speakers and leaders. Our Friday morning meetings allow me to comfortably test my skills and get feedback, without the negative repercussions life usually offers. For me, it’s easy to clam up and turn down opportunities because of fear of failure. Here it’s okay: being a TM is what another member calls an “internship on life.” We learn to build on what we do well and to improve our other skills for the next time.
I came to Whittier WordCrafters to learn to think and speak off the cuff. My Master’s Thesis presentation to my professors, peers and the public would be coming up later in the year, and I wanted to curtail the jitters that often accompany me during the Q&A session. What I gained, however, was more than improvement: I gained good friends and support in overcoming my fear of public speaking.
I’m proud to have continued with the club long past my graduation date and to serve as a club officer. Our members are fun, friendly and positive. The energy is infectious!
Janice | Member since 8/1/2009 | VP Membership, Past club President
I started working for IBM after college, and quickly realized that presentation and speaking skills were going to be essential for building the career I wanted. However, as valuable as my education in Software Engineering had been, it had not prepared me as a communicator or a leader. After a few short months in the club, my speaking confidence and ability had doubled and new opportunities began to unfold. In my first year, I gave presentations in 6 different countries and was promoted to a new position at work.
Later, I took on the role of Club President for a year, and found the Leadership track to be just as valuable as the Communication track has been. In fact, the following year I moved into a managerial role at work, and have found the experience as a Toastmaster leader to be directly applicable in industry. When you stop and think about it, truly safe opportunities to experiment with and refine leadership skills rarely occur in the workplace. Whittier Wordcrafters provides a unique learning environment that I simply could not and still cannot find elsewhere.Though I joined Toastmasters for my career, I've felt the effects of better communication ability in my personal life. Recently at a wedding I delivered a toast, my second as a "best man". No one really expects much from a toast these days. Most are boring, inappropriate, or just plain awkward, so I can assure you that partygoers are shocked and pleasantly surprised when someone gives a professional-grade toast. I must admit, I enjoy doing these types of things now and speaking has gone from an uncomfortable chore to an experience that I crave.
Whittier Wordcrafters continues to aid my personal development and I highly recommend the club.
Justin | Member since 9/1/2005 | CC, Past Club President
I joined the Whittier Wordcrafters Toastmasters club as a requirement for a class I was taking. I immediately became attached to the experience, the people and the challenge. I completed my Competent Communicator (10 speeches) within my first year and my Leadership Track in a year and a half. My speaking ability went from "inexperienced" to becoming a Consultant and Speaker/Facilitator helping companies transform their cultures and drastically improve their performance, profits and safety. I really enjoy the Toastmaster meetings, appreciate the confidence I've gained in my ability to be a leader and speaker, and the friendships I've benefitted from. Toastmasters will launch you into whatever you want it to if you attend the meetings and participate regularly. Thanks, Toastmasters!
Rhonda Eicher Grillo | Member since 3/1/2009 | CC, CL, Vice President Education
Toast Masters is a name I heard years ago and it has since lingered in the back of my mind. What is this Toast Masters Club anyway? I understood it was a place where people go to improve their public speaking. My public speaking ability didn't just need help, it needed a miracle! Every time I would stand in front of a group, I felt like my vision would go blurry, the room would spin, and my mind would go blank! My most regrettable speech (if we can even call it that) was at my brothers wedding. Let's just forget about that and move forward.
This year I was invited to a Toast Masters meeting and was warmly greeted by the members. The friendliness displayed and everyone's willingness to help and encourage me has bolstered my self awareness and confidence when taking the podium. I've only been around for a few months, but the improvement is noticeable. My goal and the reason for joining Toast Masters is to begin speaking at work related seminars. The way in which I convey information is incredibly important because it will effect how my clients receive and understand crucial information. The effectiveness of my communication, be it verbal or nonverbal, one on one or a group setting, for business or pleasure, is determined by the words I say and how I use them. I'm grateful for Toast Masters and look forward to continual improvement and the opportunity to help others. I wish I would have joined years ago.
I am a scientist by training (working as a Research Fellow at Nutrilite) and have been a member of Whittier Woodcrafters Toastmasters since June 2009. Although I had given numerous presentations during my career, nothing prepared me for this exciting challenge. It seems like I truly learned about the basics of giving speeches, nuances in presentation skills, and more importantly, gained a few friends who truly seek to improve me through suggestions and critiques. I have consistently learned new nuances in speech-giving during every session of toastmasters and I am extremely thankful to my peers who taught me so much. I would encourage everyone to attend this meeting regularly.
Shyam | Member since 6/1/2009 | CC
I joined the Whittier Wordcrafters because I had given a presentation to my clients only to realize afterwards that I could not remember what I had said. Not a good thing in a sales job. I knew I needed help, but where could I go?Shortly thereafter, I attended a client’s fundraiser – the auctioneer Chuck Cota - who invited me to attend the next Toastmaster meeting. I have been hooked ever since.
Not only have I learned to remember what I say in my presentations, I have learned to think on my feet and (as Chuck says) make my “butterflies fly in formation”. Toastmasters has helped me to be more focused when speaking, to be a better listener and has helped me grow in my career and personal life – no more being a wallflower thanks to my fellow Toastmasters. My only regret is, that I didn’t discover Toastmasters sooner.
I enjoy our weekly meetings. What a way to start the weekend – with Friday morning Toastmasters!
Ursula | Member since 12/1/1996 | Advanced Communicator Silver. Advanced Leader Bronze