Speakers of Croydon – My personal experience

By Trudy Kuhn

Established in 1924, Toastmasters International has more than 300,000 members in 149 countries. And more than 15,800 clubs. 

Impressed? Sounds great but if you’re anything like me you aren’t bothered about facts and figures. As you’ve landed on our website my guess is that you want to know how this very successful club, Speakers of Croydon, can actually help you!

A few years ago I decided to confront an issue that had held me back all my life, my total dread of public speaking. Since birth I had shied away from any situation that meant I would have to speak in front of a group. I never came forward in class at school. I missed promotional opportunities at work. As for taking an active role in a club or organisation, forget it. 

Sound familiar?

Finally someone recommended I try Toastmasters. 

‘What is Toastmasters?’ I asked. And more importantly ‘how can they help me?’ 

This line comes direct from their website:

‘Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organisation that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs.’

If you want to know more click here https://www.toastmasters.org/about/all-about-toastmasters

But how about this club, Speakers of Croydon? What can I tell you about my own personal experience?

I was horribly nervous when I joined. However the club members concentrated on the few things I could do well. Rather than the many areas that needed improvement. 

Gradually I realised that no-one was going to criticise or laugh at me because many of the group had been in the same boat themselves. I slowly gained confidence and improved, and I found myself looking forward to being onstage rather than dreading it.

I learned leadership skills by taking roles at club meetings. At first I did straightforward tasks like being the Timekeeper. Next I became the Grammarian, this person comments on speakers’ use of language. The first time I hosted the meeting as Toastmaster of the Day was a huge milestone and I recognised this as a turning point. My confidence levels soared that night.
I also learned how to evaluate effectively by providing positive feedback. Here was my chance to evaluate others constructively and help them to improve too.

Joining Speakers of Croydon improved my confidence in countless ways. At last I could deliver an effective speech and communicate my point of view. All the encouragement and constructive feedback had been incredibly worthwhile. Doors that had remained closed because of my fear were opening in abundance, enabling me to succeed in areas where I had previously been afraid to tread.

In a nutshell Speakers of Croydon provided an environment in which I flourished. I felt safe to try things and make mistakes. And this is essential if you want to progress.

Speakers of Croydon meet on the first and third Tuesday of every month, and the fifth Tuesday if there is one.
Meetings are extremely interactive. Besides opportunities to present prepared speeches there are loads of meeting roles available. All the roles include the chance to practise speaking to the group. 

But all this sounds like it might be quite expensive right? 

Actually membership of Speakers of Croydon currently works out at £11 per month. Not much more than the price of 3 large lattes. 

Why don’t you invest in yourself and put your public speaking fear behind you? You’ll be glad you did.

Trudy Kuhn VPE 17/01/2022

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