Mike’s Experience…

Most people will have had some initial reason that motivated them to join Toastmasters. For myself, I often found myself in meetings at work with something to say, but too shy to speak up. When I would spoke to people later, after the meeting, they would often say,

– “That was a good idea. Why didn’t you bring that up at the meeting?”

So after much procrastination, I joined Chadstome Oaks in 2003.

The regular public speaking opportunities at TM’s has certainly given me confidence to contribute in meetings. For example, Table Topics has taught me how to structure and present a brief topic in a meeting forum. The evaluations that I have received, particularly from prepared speeches, has taught me to consider my presentation from the perspective of my audience. Of course this is really important, if I want to get my message across.

Being on the committee in a volunteer community club has enhanced my leadership skills, particularly with regard to how to encourage, empower and motivate people. With my involvement with the district committee, as an area governor, I have met a new group of people with different ideas about TM’s and public speaking, which gave me a new perspective on the TM organisation.

And of course, it’s been fun preparing speeches and being involved in contests, and I have enjoyed this as a hobby in completing my various speech manuals.

In my experience, most “real life” speaking opportunities, either professional or social, are in a group discussion or a meeting. In this context, skills in facilitating discussion and interactive speaking are very useful. If I could add anything to TM’s it would be to include an educational program for interactive speaking; to facilitate and encourage people to have their say. I believe that everyone has something to offer to the discussion at hand. It’s just that some people find it harder to have their say than others.

And why do I still attend Toastmasters meetings? Well I must confess that it is for mainly selfish reasons. I know that I need to continue practicing my speaking skills and it is a pleasure to watch new members grow rapidly in their public speaking and leadership skills. And, you never really know what you are going to hear when the next speaker steps up to the podium.


— By Mike O’Keefe

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Meeting Details

When do we meet?

1st & 3rd Wednesday of the month at 19:30
Where do we meet?

Conference Room,
Phoneix Park Community Centre,
22 Rob Roy Road,
Malvern East 3145
(Entry via Children Play Area)