No more butterflies

Do nerves get the better of you when you know you have to deliver a speech?

What began with a bunch of grown men gathered in a basement has turned into a nation wide phenomenon.

Toastmasters Club was formed in Rancho Santa Margarita, California in 1924 and over the years has become the largest non-profit educational organization known to date.

Toastmasters InternationalToastmasters helps ease people from all walks of life and backgrounds into becoming more comfortable with public speaking abilities and over all satisfaction in their chosen careers. The club prides itself on a proven track record that works.

London too has a Toastmasters Club, and with meetings twice a week even the most skeptical individuals can start seeing results sooner rather than later.

Harold Usher, a London city councilor for Ward 12, and a proud member of the Thames Valley Toastmasters Clubs, believes individuals first “learn by doing” and that is what the Toastmasters Club meetings focus on.

Having been part of the club for over 25 years, Usher has great knowledge and expertise as to what the club's purpose is.

The club's mission is to have members become better at developing proper communication skills while mastering their leadership skills, he noted.

“The club is based on an individual delivering a speech, then having someone evaluate you by providing you with constructive criticism,” said Usher.

A typical group is anywhere between 20-25 people.

People who attend the workshops come from all walks of life, including career-oriented individuals to people who just want to build their confidence levels to be able to better exceed at life at their own pace.

“I guarantee this program and whoever sticks to it for at least six to 12 months. You can't go to a meeting without being changed,” Usher said. “It will have a positive change on you.”

The club meets every Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Thursday from noon to 1 p.m. at 300 Dufferin Street, in the city hall building.

Usher encourages everyone to give Toastmasters a try and guarantees a life change.


In 1962, the Toastmasters International staff moved to its first World Headquarters building in Santa Ana, California, not far from where the first club began. By the late 1980s, however, this building could no longer adequately house the increased staff needed to provide services to the growing number of Toastmasters clubs. In 1990 World Headquarters relocated to a new building in Rancho Santa Margarita, approximately 20 miles south of Santa Ana, designed to accommodate Toastmasters International's expected growth well into the 21st century. Toastmasters International enters the new century as the undisputed world leader in public speaking training, with over 9,300 clubs and more than 195,000 members in approximately 80 countries.