It all began six months ago when I finally dared to attend a Toastmasters club meeting in Toronto (club #911145/Bay & Adelaide Speakers Club). I learned about Toastmasters from my brother-in-law Mohammad Meimandi who happens to be my best friend too. Mohammad was a member at the time. He is still an active member. He suggested that the club could help me improve my public speaking skills. A trip to Toronto lead to a visit to their club. It was love at first sight. Members from every walk of life were involved in different activities of the meeting. The speeches were really interesting. The crowd was friendly, and some of the members were amazingly skillful.
For those of you who are not familiar with Toastmasters I should mention that Toastmasters International is a not-for-profit organization which helps the members enhance their public speaking and leadership skills. Every Toastmasters club consists of some members who take different roles voluntarily. The roles help them enhance their personal skills and conduct the club business. They deliver prepared speeches, impromptu speeches (off-the-cuff speeches), evaluate other speeches, conduct table topics (impromptu speaking section of the meetings), chair the meetings, run competitions at club or higher levels, and so on. It is an effective and fun way to improve yourself.
When I got back home to Chatham, I thought to myself that I need to find our own club. I was hesitant though. The majority of Chatham population are native speakers. I was worried that I might not be able to benefit from a group whose mother tongue language is English. They do not face the same problems that I face after all. I have limited vocabulary, struggle with following correct grammatical rules, and do not pronounce every word correctly. My accent is also different. I was worried that they might pull my legs because of my accent.
I soon proved to be wrong. I googled “Chatham-Kent Toastmasters” and found the club’s website. I then contacted the president of the club Louise Stallaert. She was very friendly. She invited me to attend their upcoming meeting. She explained that I can attend up to three of the meetings as a guest. She also mentioned that their meetings take place at GreenField Ethanol plant board room every Monday from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
I attended the meeting with a friend Seyed Hajimirza the next Monday. We were greeted warmly by Pat Zimmer the former president of the club and Louise Stallaert. Other members were also very friendly. To my surprise the mother tongue language of some members was not English. That was a relief for sure.
I would like to finish this post by thanking my fellow Toastmasters who helped me improve my communication, public speaking, networking, and leadership skills. It is because of you that I joined “Cultural Coalition of Chatham-Kent” as a board member. It is because of you that I feel more welcome in our small cozy charming Chatham.
If you are a Chatham-Kent resident and would like to know more about Toastmasters you have up to three clubs to choose from.
- Chatham-Kent club – Mondays 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
- Chatham on the Thames club – Thursdays 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
- Union Gas club (Union Gas employees only)
You may attend any of the clubs as a guest for up to three times. If you need more information about any of these clubs or Toastmasters as a whole leave a comment below. I will provide you with further information. You may alternatively click here for contact information of Chatham-Kent clubs.
Don’t hesitate! This is a great opportunity that you can’t afford to miss.
* July 2010 – I am currently acting as the Vice President of Public Relations for our club.
Persian post (not a translation)