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 seven years, I have held three club leadership positions. I have been Treasurer, Vice President of Education, and President of my chapter. I was an Area Governor and 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 received the highest designation in Toastmasters – Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) in September 2012.
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, as I am still reveling in the magic of having found my voice. I have challenged myself to enter several Toastmaster speech contests and have helped to facilitate several speech contests for other clubs and areas.
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 3/11/2016)