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Garden City Times: Editor’s Note, April 2014

May 24, 2014

By Kathleen Orth
Toastmasters talk about being nervous speaking. Fear of public speaking is a common phobia. Mark Twain said, “There are only two types of speakers in the world. 1. The nervous and 2. Liars.”
What Toastmasters don’t talk about is that wonderful “ah ha” moment when you realize that you are a public speaker. This moment may come soon or it may take awhile. Everyone is unique, after all. And the power of the moment is unique too: it redefines us.
In 2002, I had the opportunity to go to the Fall Convocation at Brock University. The speaker, Suzanne Rochon-Burnett, had received an honorary degree in recognition of her work for the aboriginal community and for the university. Her speech focused on the theme, “Go further.” She inspired the graduates to keep setting goals and meeting them. By “going further” —even one step more, we become larger. “Go further” has inspired me in the dozen years since I met this remarkable woman.
Toastmasters, as individuals, and as a group, truly put “go further” into practice every day. Their dedication to improving their own skills is only surpassed by their dedication in helping their fellow members reach their potential.
Whether they have shed the fear, or learned to deal with it, Toastmasters get up and speak. It may be for a Table Topic, a speech, an evaluation, or delivering a report for a role, but with each and every opportunity, Toastmasters “go further.”
One day, each Toastmaster has that “ah ha” moment when they realize, “I am a public speaker.” They may not say it out loud, but in that moment, they have gone further…and changed forever.

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