When I joined Toastmasters, one of my concerns was my ability to attend regularly since I was a forestry shift worker at the time. A few things I learned eased my anxiety and motivated me to join:
1. Unlike other service organizations, I learned there is no mandatory attendance policy. There is a Toastmaster Promise that you attend as regularity as you can but nothing heavy-handed if your hectic schedule is limiting your ability to take full advantage of your membership.
2. Toastmasters is so incredibly cost-effective, it makes economic sense even if meetings can only fit a schedule periodically. Compared to other communication and leadership education opportunities, Toastmasters is dirt cheap extremely affordable. Therefore, a busy member can still get a fabulous per hour value for their membership, despite the inability to attend as regularly as they would like.
3. If you can’t make it here (your home club), you can make it anywhere. This feature of the Toastmaster culture was the clincher for me. I found that as long as I was a member of one Toastmaster Club, the entire organization was open to fulfilling my professional development needs. If I was unable to attend a meeting at my home club because I was out of town, on a work shift, I could make another club meeting that coincided with my “days off.” When I was recognized as a Toastmaster at a guest club, I was quickly put to work on the agenda. This accelerated my development, allowed me to meet and learn from a greater diversity of communicators and leaders, and allowed me to get full value from my membership. It was a trifecta of awesomeness!
If you are considering joining a club or investigating Toastmasters but have been putting it off due to a hectic schedule, then hopefully I have jolted you to look past your reluctance. If you need a little motivation, consider these wonderful words by Nate Boyer, a guy who knows how to follow his dreams, not through sheer talent, but through ambition, effort and commitment. He is a heck of an example:
I think you should never wait until tomorrow to do what you’re fired up about today. Don’t let the flame have a chance to burn out with a good night’s rest. “Let me sleep on it” is code for “let me find a way to make excuses for why I shouldn’t do it.”
What are your reluctance beating “learnings” about joining Toastmasters or a similar organization?