Get Together

Toastmasters: Still thriving 100 years into its history 🗯 Joe Smith, Toastmasters

Episode Summary

An interview hosted by Bailey Richardson & Kevin Huynh with Joe Smith, Program Quality Director for District 38 of Toastmasters. Today there are more than 364,000 paying members around the world. One in three of those members also serves as a volunteer. We talked with Joe about Toastmasters history and evolution of Toastmasters International.

Episode Notes

“The hallmark of Toastmasters is making things fun because we want people to come back. We can have the best education in the world but if you're not coming back, it's of no use.” - Joe Smith

Toastmasters was founded on October 22, 1924 (97 years ago!) at a YMCA in Santa Monica, California by a man named Ralph Smedley.

Ralph set out to offer a functional value--creating a space for members to improve their public speaking. What continues to keep people coming back decades later is the inspirational, supportive, and fun vibe of the group. 

Toastmasters is sustained by a vibrant group of volunteers. Today there are more than 364,000 paying members around the world, and one in three members also volunteers for the organization.

Joe Smith is a longtime Toastmaster and serves as the Program Quality Director for District 38 of Toastmasters in the Philadelphia area. We talked with him about Toastmasters’ history and the magic that keeps members coming back to learn and volunteer.

Highlights, inspiration, & key learnings:

👋🏻Say hi to Joe and learn more about Toastmasters.

📄See the full transcript

This podcast was created by the team at People & Company. 

🔥Say hi! We would love to get to know you.

We published GET TOGETHER📙, a handbook on community-building. 

And we help organizations like Nike, Porsche, Substack and Surfrider make smart bets with their community-building investments.

Hit subscribe🎙 and head over to our website to learn about the work we do with passionate, community-centered organizations.

Episode Transcription

Note: This transcript is automatically generated and there may be some errors. Timestamps may vary slightly based on episode announcement & commercial placement.


Bailey (00:04):

Welcome to Get Together.


Bailey (00:10):

It's our show about ordinary people building extraordinary communities. I'm your host Bailey Richardson. I'm a partner at people in company and a co author of get together how to build a community with your people.


Kevin (00:22):

And I'm Kevin Huynh. Bailey's go host today. Also a coauthor of get together and also a partner at people in company, our community strategy company,


Bailey (00:31):

And the dude with a back spasm right now. But


Bailey (00:37):



Bailey (00:38):

We must forge on in each episode of this podcast, we interview everyday people who have built extraordinary communities about just how they did it. How did they get the first people to show up? How did they grow to hundreds, maybe thousands, more members today. I am so excited to be talking to Joe Smith. He's the program quality director for district 38 of Toastmasters. Like many of us I had heard of Toastmasters, but before talking to Joe, I'd never dug deep into the organization's history. And I began to scratch at the surface. I was blown away. Toastmasters was founded on October 22nd, 1924 that's 96 years ago. It was in a white MCA in Santa Monica, California by a man named Ralph Smedley. Today, there are more than 364,000 paying members around the world. Half of those 364,000 members one and two are volunteers like Joe because they built the organization with their members. Toastmasters has remained vibrant and lead. Their HQ staff numbers are about 190 people, but they bring in more than $34 million of revenue. Joe is a longtime Toastmaster and a series of Devonte. He'll share all about the organization with us today. It's history. Why people love it so much. And how members become volunteers. Kevin, what's one thing you learned from our conversation today with Joe first


Kevin (02:12):

Stuff, hat tip to Joe for using very few filler words throughout the year.


Bailey (02:17):



Kevin (02:20):

W one aha. For me from this chat about Toastmasters is how much the vibe of a community matters. Yes. People come to Toastmasters with an expectation to improve their own public speaking. Like that's the functional value, but what makes it special for Joe and others is the inspirational and supportive vibe of the group. Public speaking. It can be nerve wracking and seeking guidance to become a better public speaker sounds equally if not more wracking. So to find an inspiring supportive group to tackle that personal challenge is what makes the community worth sticking with


Bailey (02:57):

Joe. Welcome to the podcast I'm so we met and I'm really excited to talk to you today. I've been speaking out on Toastmasters for the last few weeks. We like to say people who are members of communities or organizing communities often can't fake the funk. I'm curious. What do you think it is about you? Whether it's your upbringing, your personality, life experiences that motivated you to go so deep into Toastmasters?


Joe (03:21):

Well, I've always been looking for my people and that's a really big thing about me is I never really felt like I fit in. I was one of those people who always got along with everybody in high school and growing up, but I never really made close friends because I was having trouble finding people who were like me and I pretty much fell into a job where I started out in the shipping department. And then I moved up in the sales department and then moved up through management and I realized I was going to be 45. This goes back to 2013. And I realized I was going to be 45. And it's like, did I want to be doing the same job for 45 or for another 20 years? And so I was 65.


Bailey (04:10):

I thought you going to say another 45 years? And I was like, I like that perspective.


Joe (04:13):

Yeah, Britain other 20 years. And so I retire and the answer was no. And so what I did was I went on a year long self-discovery mission and I narrowed down my choices to, I wanted to be a motivational speaker. I have no idea what that meant. Or even this day after years in Toastmasters, I have no idea what that means. Pursue a career in real estate because people around me told me I would be really good at that profession or become a life coach. I realized as I looked through this by becoming a real estate agent, I could do all three. But for the speaking part of it, I look for speaking class and you Google, you know, public speaking class figure, I'm going to get something at the local community center. Toastmasters came up and said, you know, first meeting free. I'm like, Oh, let me check this out.


Joe (05:01):

And that enabled me. As soon as I walked into that meeting, I felt like I was at home. And the more I did it, it got me the confidence to go and pursue my real estate license, which I eventually gave up. That's a whole nother story. That's the, I've done a couple of speeches on that, but it enabled me to decide that I wanted to go back to my original job, get the management and going in the Toastmasters. I saw the unlimited potential of Toastmasters being a Toastmaster because most people join it like I did for the public speaking aspect of it. But there's so much more, there's the leadership aspect of it because all the clubs are self run. They run themselves. They're very autonomous. And when I found that out and also the fact that you're able to help other people, it's the newer people being helped by the more seasoned people. We don't say older, we say seasoned people and really appealed to me because it's the mentor relationship. And I've always enjoyed either being a mentor or a mentee. And that's probably the best thing about being a Toastmaster.


Bailey (06:08):

What stood out to you at the first meeting that you attended?


Joe (06:13):

The first thing that I enjoyed was where I'm a member of a community club. That was my club. And we were able to eat and drink at our meetings. That was part of the culture where it was at a restaurant. So we were able to eat, have a meal and, you know, drink alcohol. It was part of it which really lends itself to the community aspect of Toastmasters,


Bailey (06:34):

Eat a sandwich and give a speech. At the same time. I liked that. I could see Kevin when doing that,


Joe (06:41):

The thing that really stood out is, and it still stands out to the meets these days. As I visit other meetings, these people liked each other. I say, Toastmasters is like a family, except for you actually liked them. And you want to spend time with them because we've been in COVID now for seven months. So we really haven't had an in-person meeting. We still meet on zoom. I can't wait until a day. I can see these people again. Yeah. I'm looking forward to seeing these people in person more than some members of my family. The biggest thing is these people actually like each other. They want to help each other. I'm not going to say there isn't any rivalries between them, but generally the rivalries are very fun. Very good nature. They're very motivational. But that's the biggest aspect of my home club is that they have fun. And they like each other.


Bailey (07:33):

You said something at the beginning about how it was hard for you to find people like you. And what is it about Toastmasters? The people that show up at Toastmasters that you think made you feel so at home,


Joe (07:45):

Most people in the world are negative. They can turn a great situation. You give a million dollars, they're focusing on the amount of taxes they need to pay. It's the negativity. They define difficulty. They come up with reasons not to do things. Toastmasters are very motivational in self-help for lack of a better term. They're reading books. They're, they're constantly trying to improve themselves. And more importantly, their self growth was the word I'm looking for it. So they're looking for self-growth plus they want to carry other people with them. They know life is not a zero sum game, just because somebody else succeeds, they're not taking anything away from you. And if you can help somebody else succeed more than likely they're going to help you along the way, or you're going to benefit either directly or indirectly from their success.


Bailey (08:37):

I want to go back in time a little bit. And because when I really started thinking about Toastmasters more, I realized it was something that was familiar to me, but also in some ways, very unfamiliar. So many people go to Toastmasters, you know, about it. It's pervasive very, almost like omnipresent. We all know it, but I didn't know anything about the history until I started looking into it. Can you share a little bit about when Toastmaster was started, who started it and why, what do you know of sort of the origin story of the organization overall?


Joe (09:12):

It was started in 1924. So we're coming up on our hundredth anniversary by Ralph Smedley. He started at the YMCAs in Santa Ana, California, and it was essentially for young men as the YMC is, was designated back then. And it's because, you know, we have the same problem today that we had back then, people are afraid of public speaking. There's no doubt about this. The number one fear, we've all heard. The joke. Public speaking is number one, deaths, number two, you'd rather be in the cough and then giving the speech so communication and being able to organize meetings. That is huge. And it's the same issues we had a hundred years ago. We have now. And we'll probably have them a hundred years from now because unless people learn to communicate and run meetings, they're not going to be successful. So at the time it was restricted to men. It wasn't actually until 1970 that the first woman joined Toastmasters international and she had to do so under the radar, I believe her name was Helen Blanchard and she joined his home or plan shirt.


Bailey (10:25):

Wow. Did she, did she dress up that way or did the people in her group know that she was a woman?


Joe (10:31):

I think the people in her group knew that she was a woman, but both spaces international, especially back then, as long as you didn't say anything. And she actually went on to become the first female international president of Toastmasters international.


Bailey (10:46):

Oh way. Wow. What a groundbreaker


Joe (10:49):

So, you know, but it's spread through Southern California into Colorado or excuse me into Canada. And then it just went off because it's a need, that's felt everywhere. And the real growth over the last several years has been international. The fastest growing market for Toastmasters international is Asia. A lot of people in that part of the world and around the world use it as a way of practicing their English.


Bailey (11:19):

So still working on it. I want to learn more about these meetings, the actual structure of them. To me, there's an artfully simple structure to Toastmasters that ensures that people get value out of it, but also can make the meetings their own. Can you tell us a little bit about Toastmasters meetings, where there's freedom and where their structure


Joe (11:40):

Club is different? We have pretty much three types of traditional clubs. One is a corporate club where it is run by the company members. It's restricted. People who work for a corporation. Generally they're held at lunchtime. So you have strict one hour meetings. You have hybrid meetings where some of the people are corporate. Some are from the community. They're held on campuses of companies and they allow outsiders to come in. And again, they're generally held at lunchtime in the an hour where you have community clubs,


Speaker 5 (12:19):

Sandwiches in alcohol, sorry,


Joe (12:23):

Clubs do that. Some need in churches, some need in schools. So it depends on the environment, but the community clubs, they're one to two hour meetings, depending on the clubs. And I'm talking about non COVID situations, they have a little more flexibility. Corporate clubs are very, well-run very regimented down to the minute, the better clubs they know how to do this. And this is something you don't learn how to do overnight. These are clubs that have been working this refining it for years, with a meeting, you have the president opens the meeting and then they make some quick announcements of procedural stuff. They introduce the Toastmaster of the day. The Toastmaster had Bay is the MC they're the ones who run the meeting. They'll have a Marion, a timer, and the art counter and why we use these functions. The grow Marion helps you learn good uses of the English language and also poor. Where if you use the wrong tense of a word, they'll help you correct


Speaker 5 (13:29):

That the OD counter


Joe (13:31):

Will count your filler words, the ums, the likes, the sows, and the, you knows because most people use filler words regularly. And it's because they're not aware of it. My personal favorite is, you know, and I, with once clock going 26 times at a meeting,


Speaker 5 (13:52):

But it's


Joe (13:53):

How you learn and it's not done to embarrass you. It's the make you aware of it because once you're aware of it, the best way to do it is to just take a pause. It's your brain and your mouth need to work at the same speed. And for some reason, your mouth generally works faster than your brain speed. Just allow them to catch up. And then the timer, most of the speeches are five to seven minutes, and you need to be aware of that because if you're in a public or professional setting and you're asked to speak, they don't just hand you a microphone and say, well talk until you're done. Generally, there's an agenda. There's a plan. And you have to learn to edit yourself to fit that speech. And then we, then we have something called table topics, which is one of the scariest parts of Toastmasters, where it's a one to two minute impromptu speech while the table topics who comes up with a topic and.


New Speaker (14:54):

We try and make this fun because that's the hallmarkof Toastmasters is making things fun because then we want people to come back. The education is second because we can have the best education in the world. If you're not coming back, it's of no use.


New Speaker (15:10):

We try and to have them fun, have a good time with it, but they'll come up with different topics lately on the zoom, the virtual thing, we've been doing a lot of things with pictures. Describe this picture, talk about experiences, but it's a fun way of getting people involved. And it's on the spot speaking, we'll ask for volunteers first, if not, we have a rule called volun-told. If you're at the meeting and nobody's volunteering, you'll be voluntold to participate, but it's a good opportunity for everybody to get involved in the meeting. Then we'll have the prepared speeches. They can be on pretty much any topic you want. We obviously try and stay away from the hot button issues, but there's no rule against that.


Joe (15:53):

We've seen some really good speeches that were a controversial topics like human euthanasia. But if you're going to do that, you have to make sure that everybody's on board with that. And you know, you want to make a good, but we do generally try and stay away from the hot button that subjects we recommend. You talk about a subject, you know, well, yourself and things that you're passionate about, because those are generally the best speeches that you can tell stories on. After the speeches you're evaluated on every speech you give, this is to help you grow. They keep coming back because they want to keep getting better. Some of my friends in Toastmasters have been members 20, 30, 40 years, and they keep coming back because they want to be better than they were yesterday. That's that's their goal. And also they want to help other people, but get back to the evaluation.


Joe (16:47):

We look at different aspects of your speech, and there is no such thing as perfect speech. You may, we have some speakers who speak very well, but there's always ways that they could improve it or at a minimum, do things a little differently. Another reason for the evaluations is that you're using their speech as a model. So I may be giving a speech. You may be brand new to Toastmasters by being pointing out, somebody pointing out what I did well that may help you in your speech development process. The thing with Toastmasters is you go to different meetings, they'll have all those same components, but they may be in a different order.


Kevin (17:30):

It's so interesting to learn more about, as you said, why people keep coming back to Toastmasters and we talked to lots of different community leaders and try to understand, you know, what is the real purpose of this community? What, what keeps people coming back? I'm starting to feel like there is both the, like the functional value of the group, as well as the feeling the group provides you. So with Toastmasters, really that functional value is around, you know, personal growth and skill development, you know, skill development around communication. But the feeling seems to be one of, you know, a fun and encouraging environment. And if you had just kind of one and not the other Toastmasters, wouldn't be what Toastmasters is today. Toastmasters, wouldn't be the type of community people want to keep coming back to


Joe (18:15):

Having that mix is the secret sauce of Toastmasters you're learning, but you're having fun with people who you like. Every organization has some clunkers that you'd like to get rid of, but for the most part, Toastmasters is self-cleaning because the people who are overly negative, they don't feel comfortable there, they leave on their own. You don't have to tell them they're just not comfortable with all these positive people


Bailey (18:44):

We've seen in any community that there are some clunkers, as you said, and maybe there are people that don't align with the purpose, or they tend to take more away from the community and then they give, but on the bright side, there's also often some people who, it sounds like you're one of them become real leaders or major contributors to a community and really help it grow or sustain or thrive. Toastmasters is a great job of creating leadership roles, whether it's the small ones at meetings or bigger ones in terms of the governance, what your current role is at Toastmasters and why you have taken leadership roles.


Joe (19:21):

My current role is I am the program quality director for district 38 and district 38 encompasses the greater Philadelphia area, essentially Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, West, and then South Jersey below Princeton. I am in charge of ensuring that people get out of Toastmasters, why they joined that if they joined for X reason, we're giving them that service. And in my duties are making sure that all the officers in the district are trained. We have eight division directors and in each division, there's roughly four areas and they are more hands on with the clubs because we have 170 clubs in the district. As much as I would like to work with all it's just logistically not possible even in the virtual world. But as far as how I started with the leadership program is when I joined Toastmasters, I made a promise to myself that I was going to embrace it and jump in with both feet.


Joe (20:27):

So when they looking for officers, I'm like, Oh, let me step up. And I became the club secretary who was in charge of keeping the documents, the minutes and in my club. And this is where Toastmasters is different. In my club, the secretary was responsible for doing the agenda for every meeting. And I loved it. It was helped me, my organizational skills, organize meetings, get over my fear of asking people to do things because you have to ask people to run different roles. The, this next natural progression was club president and I've served every role in Toastmasters club leadership. The president's job I've said it at the club is either the easiest job or the hardest job. It's the, it can be the easiest job. If you have good officers under you and you communicate to them what their responsibilities are, it's the hardest job. If you don't have good officers and you don't explain to them what they need. Luckily I've had good officers under me and it ran beautifully. But at the time I was club president, I, we have a district conferences. I went in, knew nobody in the room, but I said, I'm going to sit in the front row. And I don't know if you've ever heard Zynga say that there's always plenty of room at the front because you walk into a conference and people are, people always tend to go towards the middle or the back


Bailey (21:59):

Lurking in the back, made all the effort to drive to the conference. And then hide.


Joe (22:03):

Well, I decided I'm going to sit at the front row. Well, who sits down next to me? We have two previous international world champion of public speaking, the district director, excuse me. It was the district governor at the time and the incoming district governor. So we got the start chat and hear me, I've been a member six months. It's like, okay, let me, you know, so chatted. Well that got me involved in the district leadership. I became Sergeant arms for the district. They recruited me. And I said that what they saw was they probably somebody said who was too stupid to say no, but it got, it got me involved in going to the district meetings


Bailey (22:44):

Context. You've served so many roles yourself. And when I was looking up the numbers for Toastmasters worldwide, there's something like 350,000 plus members. There's more today. I think it's at 364,000 as of this year, the staff, the number or the last reported number I saw for the, the staff at HQ serving 364,000 members was 198. The number of volunteers in that same year, 2016 was 117,000 people volunteering for a membership of 364,000. And there are something like 17, almost 17,000 clubs in 145 countries. And they also reported their revenue at up near $34 million a year. So it was just incredible to me, that number of volunteers is so high. It's almost one for every two members. What's your reflection on that? How come everybody's volunteering by a leadership aspect


Joe (23:46):

In Toastmasters? And that's what they're calling the volunteers because each of the clubs is self led by the officers. So they're classifying them as volunteers. You may not get a paycheck from Toastmasters for the work you're doing, but I can pretty much guarantee if you're taking a leadership aspect with Toastmasters and take it seriously and learning from it, you're going to receive benefits at your employment. And I've seen too many cases of people getting 15, $20,000 ranges in their first year or two with Toastmasters, for it to be a coincidence. But that does bring up an excellent point that with Toastmasters, I always like to point out that except for the people who work at HQ, everyone is a volunteer in the organization, whether it's in the club, the area, the division, I don't get paid for what I do. They do it because of the experience that they gained from the position. But more importantly, they've reaped the benefits throughout their life and they want to pay it back. Their job is to groom the next generation of leaders.


Bailey (24:56):

Kevin and I, I think one of our big philosophies specifically around community building is that you don't grow a community through management. Do you go through cultivating leaders, finding people who want to raise their hand to do more and giving them a role, whether it's small or it could be district leadership role, but those roles really give people a sense of co-ownership and meaning, and also development. Like you're saying from their participation in a community, they're not just receiving from the community they're giving to it.


Joe (25:26):

And I agree with that except for we generally don't wait until people raise their hand because most people are afraid to raise their hand. They're like, well, I don't have any experience at being a leader. I don't know how to do that. It's like, that's why you're a Toastmasters. This is where you learn by doing, you feel comfortable with making mistakes. Yeah. If I had a dollar for every time I made a mistake and Toastmasters is something I could have redone. I could actually quit my job and devote full time to Toastmasters. So it's identifying the leaders in Toastmasters and we've done that really well at my club. I'm a member of mainline Toastmasters. And over the years, we've gotten newer members to serve as president people who may have only been a member for a year or two. But as you talk to Toastmasters and go around, you can talk.


Joe (26:17):

You can see it in people's eyes when they get it, they understand what Toastmasters is all about. There's certain people who join Toastmasters who come just because their boss, the spouse, somebody told them you shouldn't join Toastmasters. It's not a magic bullet. It's something where you really need to embrace the culture and the ones who get it right away. They're the most successful ones. W they're the ones we tap for leaders. Even before that, they know it themselves. And that happens a lot. We hear people go back to their corporations. They come to our meetings and they go to work and the boss goes, I see something different on you. You really changed over the last couple of months. They might not notice it themselves. One of my favorite sayings about Toastmasters is we're evolutionary. Not revolutionary. You're not going to change overnight. It's a slow and gradual change over time.


Joe (27:15):

But three, four years from now doing it regularly participating, you're not going to know, recognize the person that you were in the seven years. I've been a Toastmaster. I have complaint changed completely. I am a much better person than I was in all aspects of my life. It's given me confidence to do things I would never do. And you know, this podcast is a great example. I don't know if seven years ago I would have done this. I would have, well, I'm not prepared for it. It's like, well, this is part of it. You try things you're going to fail. But if you learn by failing, you're improving.


Bailey (27:54):

Well, you're doing great for the record. So I think you're a great communicator. So you're absolutely crushing it. Yeah. I want to ask you about some of these, maybe this, this capacity, it's a possibility for some people in Toastmasters to, to end up in this completely different place. One of the ways that I think that that is celebrated at Toastmasters is through the international public speaking championship, which is called formally the Toastmasters international world champion ship of public speaking. And it's been held annually since I believe 1938. It's the largest, the world's largest speech contest winners have to beat out 30,000 something participants from over 140 countries. There's a six month process of elimination to reach the semifinals. A hundred people might make the semi-finals and then they sort of Duke it out to become named the world's best public speaker. How important is that challenge? Maybe that moment of celebration to the Toastmasters community? What, what does it contribute?


Joe (28:57):

Yeah, it's great. Being named world champion of public speaking, and it has been life-changing for a number of winners. They've actually built businesses on it, but the real benefit comes as you progress through the process. It's starts at the club level and in some clubs, that's the toughest speech getting out of the club, others, they can nominate somebody to go, but where the real benefit comes is by enhancing your speech and comparing it to others, a number of Toastmasters. And this is one of the things I've tried to instill in people as I've been training them is there's life outside the club. So you may go to your meeting twice month and you know how you are compared to the other people in the club. You win the club contest, you moved to the area and now you're going up against better speakers. So you're actually, it gives you a chance to judge yourself outside the real world, get feedback from people that you may or may not know. And then if you win the area contest, and then you move up to the vision level, which is exponentially better quality speakers, because it's the best in that division,


Bailey (30:13):

Sort of mini championships and many growth opportunities within this larger structure of a worldwide championship,


Joe (30:21):

Right? But then you also have to take, it's not a requirement, but most people keep the same speech through the process. And it's refining that speech where a speech do I club maybe, okay, you have to tweak it and make it a little bit better. Edit it at the area you get up to division, you're reworking it. You're soliciting outside opinions. You're going to other clubs may be practicing it. And then if you win the division, then you go to the district, which that's really tough. I've judged district level contests. I've been involved with them. Sometimes it's a little nuances and you have some great speakers who have not won at the district level because the competition is so great. And again, you're working, you're finding that same speech. And then if you win the districts, then up until a couple of years ago, you got to go to the international convention and you were given speaking, one of the semi-finals because Toastmasters has expanded around the world.


Joe (31:25):

They now do a regional semi-finals on it, where you're doing it via video. And then the best from each region go to the semi-finals and in the non COVID world that is done in person. But because of COVID last year, the last stages of the contest were all virtual. And this coming year, all the speech concepts will be virtual. So that again, adds a different aspect to it because somebody may be a great speaker in person. It may not translate on video, but that's part of being a Toastmaster. You learned to adapt with the skills and it's more the process of who you become rather than winning the trophy. The trophy is nice, but you improving as a speaker gain that self-confidence because we're at a club, you may be speaking in front of 10, 15, 20 people who were mostly your friends, the area you're speaking in. And for 25 30 people, like you get up to the district level and you're speaking in a room, maybe 300 people, some districts, it could be closer to a thousand. That's really giving you the motivation to get your strength together and say, you know what? I can do that. If I can speak in a room in front of a thousand people, there's nothing I can't do. So it's the more the pro it's more the journey than the destination.


Bailey (32:48):

When you study communities in America, one of the Seminole books is bullying alone, and they talk about how a lot of the associations and local clubs and leagues have disappeared in America over the course of the last 50 years. And I look at Toastmasters it's 96 years old, and it actually increased its growth rapidly around the turn of the century. And you know, it's at over 16,000 clubs, it's so vibrant and it's growing, as you said, what do you think it is about Toastmasters? That's given it such longevity and, and allowed these clubs to continue to flourish. When when many similar formats, local formats have disappeared,


Joe (33:31):

I think a large part of the growth is they've expanded internationally. And the international community has really embraced Toastmasters and the program because it's universal, no matter what language you speak, whether you can speak or not, everyone needs to communicate. So it is very transferable skills. The other thing is it allows the clubs to dictate their own culture. We have members who have come to visit our club, that we just, after five minutes with them, we go, they're not going to be a fit for our club. They're more regimented where our club not to take anything away from it. But our club is very relaxed. We do great work. We've won several awards. We produce great members, but we're more relaxed informal club where there's others that are more procedural clubs that somebody, you know, an analytical type may enjoy better, but that they give them the framework. And the line I always use with Toastmasters and help. One of the things that's helped create a success is Toastmasters gives you the blueprint of the house, but they allow you to decorate it yourself. So the same four walls are the same in every club, but the color may be different. The flooring, the layout of the furniture may be different and that's helped Toastmasters evolve over the years.


Bailey (34:55):

We have a lot of people who are thinking about starting in a community today is starting one from scratch. One that's at much smaller scale than Toastmasters, or certainly hasn't been around as long. What do you think we can really learn from Toastmasters in your words?


Joe (35:13):

So do you know, looking to get something like, non-seismic just try it, reach out. We have the ability now via Facebook, LinkedIn, and social media, to attach ourselves to other people, to put the word out, find people who have similar interests, similar thing, just get together. If you can get two or three people who are really committed to doing it, they can grab on several other people. You have a nucleus of six or seven people. Then you're going to start to get inertia. And you're going to actually be able to build a good, solid base, taking it back to the Toastmasters. We have some struggling clubs and we've always had them. We always will. But if you can get two to four dedicated members to really want the club to succeed, that is a great start. It's going to be hard work for the first couple of months, but you want to get in another handful of people who buy in and then others will be naturally attracted to it. It's sort of like an Adam where, you know, things, once it gets something, it starts to attack it. Snowball effect, you get so nourishing going, and it's going to continue on down the road and it's going to grow bigger and stronger as it goes.


Kevin (36:30):

Thanks for sharing Joe. It's I hear, I hear your passion and I love how you've continued to, you know, raise your hand and continue pushing forward this community. Yeah.


Bailey (36:41):

Thank you so much. It was such a joy talking to you and meeting you, and you've really brought Toastmasters to life for us.


Kevin (36:47):

If you want to get involved with Toastmasters, you can find out special. Thank you to our team. Thank you to wild sound for sound engineering, Greg David, for his design work and Katie O'Connell for marketing this episode,


Bailey (37:01):

You can find out more about the work we do as people and company, helping organizations get clear on who their most important communities are and how to build with those people. By heading to our website people and start a company. Also, if you want to start your own community or supercharge one that you're already a part of our handbook is here for you. Visit get together to grab yourself a copy. It's full of stories and learnings from conversations with community leaders like this one with Joe. And last thing, if you're still here and you liked the podcast, please consider reviewing us or clicking subscribe. It helps get the podcast out. [inaudible].