Joel Zuckerman

Toastmasters in general, and the Park City outfit in particular, has truly enriched my life.

This might be an oversimplification, but I’ve always thought there are two main types of Toastmasters: The majority are those uncomfortable (in many cases terrified) of speaking in public, while the minority of attendees possess a degree of polish, and are looking to fine-tune their storytelling or presentation skills. The “Toastmasters Method” is effective for those in both categories.

Because of my journalism and book-writing career, I’ve had scores of paid or pro bono speaking opportunities—lectures, symposiums, presentations, Master of Ceremonies, TV, radio, etc. Toastmasters has been invaluable to work out material, do a “run-through” in front of a discerning, attentive audience, and get important feedback, affording the opportunity to tweak (or sometimes make wholesale changes) to material.

One brief, and highly unusual example: Days prior to my older daughter’s wedding in autumn of 2017, I did my intricate Father-of-the-Bride “Wedding Toast” (probably a full ten minutes long) at the weekly Toastmasters meeting. A short-term member (who came and went from the club rather quickly) commented afterward that I didn’t really laud my new son-in-law in the speech. (I had mentioned him, albeit briefly.) Using that feedback, I retooled that part of the speech, mentioning several more of his positive attributes, and the toast was greatly enhanced.

I could expatiate, but the simple truth is Toastmasters is a fantastic organization. The Park City Gang is a rotating cast of characters, the holdovers from my first meeting in 2014 or 2015 might be counted on a single hand, but it attracts a dynamic, engaging (albeit revolving) crew. Aside from the growth opportunities, it also affords the chance to make a whole spate of new friends and friendly acquaintances. I could quickly name at least a dozen individuals around town that I’m always happy to see, and the genesis of our relationship grew from our mutual affiliation with Toastmasters. 

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