St Clair’s Greg Johnson had always considered himself a shy person who ducked away from the limelight.
Mr Johnson found himself overlooked for promotions at work and would often keep his opinions to himself.
So 20 years ago, he joined his local Toastmasters club in an attempt to find the confidence to chase that promotion.
“I was a very reserved sort of person. I wouldn’t say much,” he said.
“I had been wanting to work on my public speaking and then I heard about this club, so I went down and now I’m still here.
“And I ended up getting that promotion.”
St Clair Toastmasters this month celebrated Mr Johnson’s two decades at the club, which has aided in the professional and social development of many community members.
I was a very reserved sort of person...this club tries to build people up.Greg Johnson
The club encourages members to participate in public speaking, on both planned and impromptu topics, to build up confidence levels and make new friends.
President Craig D’Costa said people from all backgrounds and ages joined the club, with the St Clair branch’s current age bracket ranging from 30 to 65.
Mr D’Costa, an engineer, joined Toastmasters in 2015 to help him verbally simplify complex ideas.
“It’s not just about communication, it’s also learning about leadership,” he said.
“By joining the committee you can learn about how to be a president, or a treasurer or secretary. Then you can go on to play that role at your local soccer club, or even in the professional world.
“I’ve come a long way over the past year.”
Former politician Jason Cornelius joined the Hawkesbury branch in mid-2016 before making the switch to St Clair this year.
The club that runs out of St Marys Band Club is looking for new members, he said, with several of the old guard stepping down in recent months.
“Our doors are always open to anyone,” Mr Cornelius said.
“There’s nothing stopping you from having a go. I’ve been in Toastmasters for less than one year and I’ve enjoyed my time.
“It’s definitely a lot friendlier than politics.”
Mr Johnson agreed: “The first step is walking through the door.
“This club tries to build people up, it’s a very supportive environment.”
Details: Jason Cornelius, 0408 066 566 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.