After hearing about Toastmasters for a while, I ran into a Toastmaster and she invited me to visit. First of all, they were all really glad to see me. Toastmasters are like that. Then they practiced speaking right there in the meeting. And then they evaluated each other's speeches. They pointed out what was really good and they also made sure to make a suggestion for improvement. I had never been in such as practical, educational, useful meeting. But the greatest thing about Toastmasters is not that they teach you to be a better speaker or even a better leader, another focus. It's the way they do it.
Everyone is welcome and is made to feel welcome, I mean, they're really glad to see you. They make sure you have an agenda and explain what's happening and what's going to happen and give you materials to keep. Then they follow up with you to make sure that you know how much they want you to come back and join them. They ask what you want to get out of Toastmasters and tell you how they can help you with that. They applaud when you go up to the lectern and they applaud when you speak or contribute in any way. They tell you exactly what was good about what you did and what could have been better and make a suggestion to improve it. They never say anything was bad. They never criticize. They have very specific goals for you to strive for in each part of the program, which can go on your whole life, if you want. Yet you always go at your own pace. They tell you how to reach the goals and help you do it. They give you praise and ribbons and trophies and certificates and pins and awards. They help you be the very best that you can be.
And all that is what is in my book, too, before I ever met a Toastmaster or ever knew that there was a group that worked just like I dreamed it could be.