Greg Gazin, DTM
Q: When and why did you join Toastmasters?
A: I joined in 2002, reluctantly. I had the confidence to speak in front of a group or so I thought—but only if I had a script and knew everyone in the room. Besides, I was busy running two businesses and caring for my dad who had suffered a stroke. But I was soon humbled as I struggled through my first Table Topics speech. After that 11-second knee-knocking experience, I spent the remainder of the meeting looking at my watch like a schoolboy waiting for the 3 o’clock bell to ring. That was about 12½ years ago.
Q: Since joining Toastmasters, how have you grown as a communicator and leader?
A: Exponentially, and still growing. As a communicator, I feel more confident when speaking to audiences. In fact, I now speak on TV and radio, and present sessions on how small businesses can use technology and gadgets. (I’m known as “The Gadget Guy.”) As a leader, taking on club and district roles has strengthened my ability to shift from managing people and resources to motivating, inspiring and mentoring others.
Q: How is Your Home Club Unique?
A: We have a diverse mix of members. Several are entrepreneurs, and the ones who aren’t have an entrepreneurial spirit. Members tell incredible stories, and we have powerful learning experiences. We also laugh a lot and have fun with Toastmasters-themed social events, which include family and friends, but we take learning seriously. Meeting themes center around communication, leadership and business, but we include whimsical and musical themes like opera and The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine.” We build strong relationships in our club, and we embrace the words of Dr. Ralph Smedley: “We learn in moments of enjoyment.”
Q: What have you done in Toastmasters to gain leadership experience? How has this helped you in your career?
A: After taking on leadership positions in my club, noteworthy growth came when I served as area governor and then as district governor. My experience has helped me go from “doing things” in my profession to sharing, teaching, training, consulting and inspiring others to “do.” My Toastmasters experience has even helped me publish my first book, Corey OutSMARTs the Butterflies, which helps readers of any age build confidence and speaking skills.
Q: What is the most important thing you tell your friends and family about Toastmasters?
A: Joining Toastmasters can transform you. It’s a safe place to make mistakes. Once you get on board, the possibilities are endless. You have no idea where it can lead. It’s like Star Trek—it helps you “boldly go” where you’ve never gone before. Toastmasters is part of my life, rather than just another thing I have to do each week.
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