Toastmasters has been an incredibly helpful experience for me. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in improving communication and leadership skills. Many people fear public speaking, not just those of us who stutter. Toastmasters helps us gain the confidence needed to let our voices be heard, in our own way. In six years, I have held three club leadership positions. I have been Treasurer, Vice President of Education, and President of my chapter. I am currently an Area Governor and have completed the Toastmasters High Performance Leadership Project.
I have been involved in mentoring,and have had the privilege of seeing a person I am mentoring find her way and her voice. I was a member of a second club for Advanced Toastmasters, which helped me come out of my comfort zone even more. I have earned my ACG in August 2010, and along with my CL. I am close to receiving the highest designation awarded in Toastmasters – Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM.)
My biggest challenge has been to keep within Toastmaster time frames. My stuttering often manifests itself in prolongations and hesitations, which sometimes makes it impossible to stick to 5-7 minutes. I am OK with that for now, as I am still reveling in the magic of having found my voice. I have challenged myself to enter one Toastmaster speech contest, and have helped to facilitate several area speech contests.
Toastmasters and acceptance of stuttering has made a huge difference in my life. If you haven’t tried it, come and visit a club. You will find a supportive atmosphere with people who share the same goals, stuttering or not. (Updated 5/18/2012)