This worldwide international, not-for-profit, educational organisation, of which the Maidenhead Speakers Club is a member, trains over 400,000 members in more than 140 countries. Its purpose is to help members become better and more confident speakers. Toastmasters International was founded in southern California in 1924.
The very first meeting of the local Club was held in the Maidenhead Public Library in March 1983, but it was not until April 1984 it had the required 20 members to become formally chartered by Toastmasters International.
Many members of the Maidenhead Club have gained proficiency in speaking. One member took part in the International World Championship of Public Speaking held in Kuala Lumper in 2014. Other members have gone on to find that the skills and experience obtained with the Maidenhead Speakers Club has opened doors for them professionally, while others have used their experience within the Club as a springboard to successful careers in public speaking and professional coaching.
The Club boasts a membership of nearly 50 individuals focussed on improving their public speaking as well as leadership skills. While there is some turnover in the membership, as would be expected within a dynamic club, the Club also has many members who have been with the club for well over 10 years, including Norman Rhodes, one of the founding members who has been affiliated with the Club for the entirety of its 35 years. In fact, Norman went on to help establish 7 additional Toastmaster International clubs in the area.
Since the first meeting in the public library, the Club has met in various premises and now meets every second and fourth Monday of the month in the hall at St. Pirans School, Ginger Hill, at 7.30pm. Guests are very welcome to come to any meeting for a taste of what to expect.
There is a Club website which can be accessed for more information at: https://maidenheadspeakers.org.uk/
By Norman Rhodes and Tom Hostetler