by Richard Brown, DTM – Club 305, Wichita Falls

If you’re like me, you’ll agree mentoring and evaluations are very important in Toastmasters to develop our communication and leadership skills. Many years ago, my very first Toastmasters club was in Lafayette, Louisiana. How I appreciated — as a new member of that club — the encouragement, evaluations, and mentoring from several long-time members.

I was surprised when my friend told me he had gotten all he could out of Toastmasters and planned to drop out of the club. I had always looked up to him for his encouragement and enjoyed his enthusiastic communication style.

A few months later, there on the evening news was my friend being interviewed for a community event in Lafayette. I was surprised by all the “uhs” he uttered in his five-minute interview. I counted over 50 speech blemishes as he spoke. When I contacted him later to congratulate him on the interview, I gently pointed out his blemishes and told him how much we missed him in our club.

No matter how good and polished our communication skills may become, if we don’t practice on a regular basis, those skills can rust. That is when I realized that more Toastmasters rust than wear out! Maybe you know someone like this. Let them know how much they are missed.

As a Toastmaster since March 1972, this mantra speaks to me almost daily. I have been privileged to serve Toastmasters at all levels from club to district. As a current member of Toastmasters Club 305 in Wichita Falls, I know I have much to learn through the Pathways program. I definitely don’t want to rust and am thankful for our members who continue to help me grow as a communicator in new ways.

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