After decades of avoiding public speaking, Rotarian Terry Beard decided to confront his fears head-on.
A friend introduced him to Toastmasters, where he learned to be comfortable in front of an audience, while also enhancing his leadership skills. Wanting to create a safe harbor for others to grow as he had, Beard launched the Portland Rotary Toastmasters club which includes members of the Rotary Club of Portland, Oregon, USA, but is also open to the public.
“We started it to help members develop their voice and grow in leadership skills,” he says. “But we got so much more than we anticipated.” Rotary International and Toastmasters International are now collaborating to give Rotary members increased opportunities for personal and professional growth. Rotary members have access to explore public speaking tips, videos, podcasts, and more from Toastmasters
Here’s how you and your Rotary club can get involved in this collaboration:
1. Visit a local Toastmasters club to learn more about the organization. Toastmasters has 16,800 clubs in 143 countries, so you’re likely to find one near you. Go to
2. Ask a member of Toastmasters to visit or speak at your club.
3. Invite a Toastmasters member to participate in a club service activity or attend a social event.
4. Work with your local Toastmasters club to hold a joint event so your members can discuss potential collaboration opportunities. Rotary International is also creating a leadership and communication curriculum for Rotary and Rotaract members that will be available in English next year, with the release in all Rotary languages by 2021. Read more about Beard’s experience with the Portland Rotary Toastmasters and how Toastmasters can benefit your club in his post for Rotary Voices.