Posted February 27, 2012on:
I have been involved with Toastmasters for almost six years. I love it! It has changed my life and I tell people that all the time, especially new members and those who may be interested in learning more about Toastmasters.
This year, I have been serving as an Area Governor, which means that I lend guidance and support to several clubs. I have to visit each club a couple of times a year and provide support and feedback as needed to help the members and the club grow.
I visited one of my clubs a few evenings ago and had a great experience. Whenever a Toastmaster leader visits a club, we are always asked to speak a few minutes. I noticed there were newer members and at least one guest. I chose to include in my introduction how much Toastmasters has helped me grow in confidence and courage, especially as a person who stutters.
To my amazement, two other people in the group also stutter. After I spoke, everyone else introduced themselves. One young man, a member for only a month, shared that he could relate with me. He said it was good to hear a Toastmaster leader talk about stuttering, as he also stutters.
And then, the guest at the meeting shared that he too stutters. He is from Copenhagen, Denmark and is here for a semester as an exchange student. He stuttered openly and shared that he too was happy to hear a Toastmaster leader openly acknowledge stuttering. He mentioned he had heard about Toastmasters through the McGuire (speech therapy) program he had taken in Denmark.
After the meeting, this young man said he felt comfortable and planned to join Toastmasters and then transfer his membership when he returned home to Denmark.
This made a great impact on me that night. I wondered if I had not shared about my stuttering in my introduction, would these two young men have shared? Maybe, maybe not. They might have felt no one could understand and might have felt they needed to keep it hidden.
I felt inspired that my choice to share personal information about my stuttering might have inspired those two young men to feel comfortable enough to disclose.
And what are the odds that 3 people who stutter would end up at the same Toastmasters meeting, totally unaware of the coincidence? Something tells me we were supposed to be there that evening to encourage and inspire each other!
What do you think?