Thursday, November 15, 2012

Toastmasters’ Legacy of Learning Flourishes for 88 Years

Frankfurt, Germany, Oct. 26, 2012—“We learn in moments of enjoyment,” are the words of Dr. Ralph C. Smedley, who founded the first Toastmasters club at the YMCA in Santa Ana, Calif., 88 years ago today. Dr. Smedley, then-YMCA director, created the club in October 1924 for young men to practice their after-dinner speeches in a social environment. Today, nearly 300,000 men and women are improving their communication and leadership skills using the values and model that Dr. Smedley developed. In fact, there are more than 13,500 clubs in 116 countries throughout the world. Since the organization’s inception, more than four million people have found their voice and gained confidence through the proven Toastmasters program.

“Dr. Smedley laid the framework for the Toastmasters ‘learn-by-doing’ model,” says Daniel Rex, Executive Director of Toastmasters International. “The organization’s expansion in recent years is a tribute to the need for the timeless skills of effective communication and leadership. With 19 consecutive years of membership growth, our clubs continue to thrive globally.”

Longtime Toastmaster Morag Mathieson, says, "Toastmasters has benefited so many people over time because communication and leadership are universal skills that each individual needs. Better speaking skills are the most evident result of Toastmasters membership, but the leadership, listening and thinking skills associated with it are just as critical. " says Mathieson, the board leader of the organization in continental Europe and member of the Erlangen Toastmasters Club, Germany.

In Toastmasters, members meet weekly to learn and practice public speaking and leadership techniques. There is no instructor; instead, members evaluate each other’s presentations. Toastmasters clubs around the world will celebrate the anniversary with special meetings and events. The general public is invited to visit a meeting and learn more about the program’s benefits. To learn more about the Toastmasters club experience, view this video. You can join the ranks of famous Toastmasters who have benefited from the program, including Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino’s Pizza and many others.

View the Toastmasters timeline for a look at the organization’s history. Visit to find a club near you.

About Toastmasters International
Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Founded in October 1924, the organization currently has more than 280,000 members in 13,500-plus clubs in 116 countries. Each week, Toastmasters helps more than a quarter million people of every ethnicity, education level and profession build their competence in communication so they can gain the confidence to lead others. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit or for the European district of Toastmasters. Follow Toastmasters International on Twitter @Toastmasters and @Toastmasters59.

Note:  The Toastmasters logo is property of Toastmasters International.
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