This is the last post of my Toastmasters series. With my stories, I have shared my experience and written about different topics related to Toastmasters and public speaking, including feedback and mentorship. In this last article, I want to tell you about my Toastmasters club in particular: West London Speakers.
You won’t be surprised to learn that West London Speakers is a club based in West London, Hammersmith in particular. The club was founded on the 24th April 2006, so it’s coming to its 15th birthday soon. The meetings used to take place every two weeks on Monday evening in the function room at The Hop Poles. Nowadays every club meeting is online on Zoom, always every two weeks on Monday evening.
At the end of 2019, when I decided I wanted to understand more about Toastmasters and I considered joining a club, I looked for clubs in my areas. West London Speakers gave me the opportunity to attend a meeting as a guest before deciding whether I wanted to join them or not. That was exactly what I needed as I really didn’t know what to expect from Toastmasters. I reached out to Steve, VP of Membership¹ at the time (today our President) and he was very welcoming and invited me to attend the first meeting of 2020 as a guest.
As I shared in my previous posts, public speaking was scary and a bit intimidating to me. Even the idea of attending as a guest was concerning me in all honesty. I didn’t know what expectations they would have on me. Would they ask me to speak straight away?
What I learned when I attended as a guest is that West London Speakers is a very friendly and supportive group of people. At the same time, it’s also a very well organised and professional club. I soon realised that it was the perfect place for me to improve my confidence, public speaking and leadership skills.
Before and after the meeting, some of the committee members introduced themselves. They explained to me what I should do to join the club and what to expect. I met Claudia, the club President at the time, Raj, Sergeant at Arms, and Chris, Treasurer¹. They were extremely helpful for me to become a member and get up to speed very quickly.
By the way, they did ask me to speak in that first meeting, but that was only for a few seconds to introduce myself, so I could deal with that!
I told you in my previous post² the story of my first speech and all the feedback and support I received. Long story short, I became a very active member of the club very quickly, gave a lot of prepared speeches, and took on a number of functionary roles.
I loved the club so much that in June 2020 I decided to apply for a role in the club committee and in July I became the VP of Education. All the previous committee members I mentioned above remained in the newly formed committee, although in different roles, so I have been lucky enough to share my experience as a committee member with them. They are all amazing leaders as well as the new committee members: Ben, Veronique, Sharon and Olli³.
With my 8 blog posts in my Toastmasters series, I hope I gave you enough good reasons to at least consider joining a Toastmasters club. It’s an incredible opportunity to become a more confident public speaker, improve your leadership skills and meet some great people from a diverse background who share similar interests. And it’s also not very expensive.
If you are considering joining a club, you should definitely visit us at West London Speakers as a guest, and experience directly all the things I’ve told you in my posts. If you’re thinking about visiting us or joining our club, you’ll find all the information you need on this page.
I hope I’ll see you soon!
Blog was written by author as 8 part Toastmaster series and also available in his personal Medium post