Editors note: The following blog post was written before COVID-19. It has been edited with permission to reflect the impact of social distancing and meeting virtually. Please visit the Rotary and Toastmasters websites for further info about how these organizations are keeping members safe and connected during the pandemic.
By Alfred Brothers, governor of District 6540 and a member of the Rotary Club of Anthony Wayne (Fort Wayne), Indiana, USA
I had heard of Toastmasters, but never got involved with the organization until last year, when Rotary members from our area and I attended the 2019 Rotary International Convention in Hamburg, Germany. There we heard about Rotary’s collaboration with Toastmasters.
The two organizations truly complement each other. Toastmasters is a great way for Rotarians to learn and develop enhanced speaking skills. As professionals, communication is our gateway to reaching customers and clients, and promoting our service projects.
When we returned from Hamburg, our International Service director Floyd Lancia invited leaders from the Toastmasters district that covers Indiana to participate in our Zone Institute in October. Scott Brown, a divisional leader from Fort Wayne, and Jean Wolf, a program quality director, answered questions we had about Toastmasters and led a public speaking workshop for district leaders. The workshop took a championship level speech and reverse engineered it to demonstrate how to develop a remarkable presentation. I was impressed by the depth of the programs and the number of Toastmasters clubs in our local area.
Scott invited me to speak at a local training session in Fort Wayne. I received a warm welcome and provided an overview of Rotary, our district and our clubs. I brought members of one of our Rotary clubs who were also Toastmasters members. It was fascinating to hear an engaging and energetic speech by Pres Vasilev, Toastmasters 2013 World Champion of Public Speaking, who is both accomplished and world renowned.
I began using our district newsletter to send information and encouragement to clubs in our district to reach out and invite Toastmasters to speak to their clubs. We are hopeful that Scott can join us during a virtual meeting this year.
While the alliance is still new, clubs are already experiencing the benefits of working with their local Toastmasters club. They are making new connections, which is opening the door to more professional growth opportunities. Members are expanding their networks in new ways. This increased interaction between Toastmasters and Rotary clubs has even lead to an increase in Toastmasters members inquiring about joining Rotary. Our district is setting the stage for a great partnership.
Learn more about Rotary’s partnership with Toastmasters.