listening to people’s stories

When I joined Toastmasters I expected to do some networking. I also expected that I would have the opportunity to develop my speaking and personal presentation skills. The first has turned out to be somewhat the case, the second has been very much the case.

ToastmastersWhat I did not expect was that I would learn some surprisingly personal details about the lives of my fellow members. I have been impressed at how candid my colleagues have been willing to be.

One long-time member spoke about how she was in the rock music scene and worked at radio stations before going into social services. In a later speech she went into detail about her drug addiction before turning her life around and getting her B.A. and Masters degrees so she could go into social services and help people suffering from similar problems.

Another member gave a heart-rending speech about her mother’s dementia. Our president gave a speech about healthy eating in which he revealed that he had lost a toe to diabetes. A new member talked about his own serious addiction problems before joining the Marines and then going into pastoral care work in the area of addiction while also attending seminary.

Members are also candid during the impromptu table topics portion of the meeting. The member who spoke about her mother discussed how her husband’s moods had changed recently and that his demands were becoming annoying.

It’s a great group and the experience is enhanced by our members revealing their deeper selves.



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