Viewpoint: You're Unique! You're Special!

Viewpoint: You're Unique! You're Special!

A message from our International President


You’re unique! You’re special! And hopefully someone tells you that every day (even if it is your own inner voice!). But exactly what is it that’s so unique and special about you? Sure, you’re a Toastmaster... so are 230,000 other people around the world. You’re successful in business...and so are millions of others. You’re the community energizer...again, you’re not alone. You’re good at making others laugh...and the world is full of comedians!

What is it that makes you the unique and special person that you are? In the context of Toastmasters, how have you shaped yourself or your world, using the gifts of your communication and leadership skills, in a way that sets you apart from the rest of the pack? I think of Sheila, a Toastmaster in my home district, who has taken her Toastmasters skills literally to the farm. You see, Sheila is a farm safety advocate, and through expertise she developed in Toastmasters, she is now shaping the safety environment for farmers all across her region. Safe farming equals more productive farming equals good food on the dining room table. So thank you, Sheila!

What makes you unique and special? See page 6 for a fascinating account of Toastmaster Steve Van De Walle who uses his skills to teach babies to read! Perhaps your special contribution is in providing hope to those doing time for crime, or working with street youth who may have lost their way in this world and lost faith in themselves.

One of the unique opportunities that came my way in the early ’90s was an operational tour of duty during the war in Yugoslavia. I had the privilege of leading an international team of men and women who, armed only with their ability to communicate effectively, were able to make a substantial difference toward stabilization of the conflict that was costing lives every day. Our technique? Let’s sit down and listen, think and speak! I credit my ability to be a shaping influence in the resolution of that conflict to the synergistic combination of my military training and my Toastmasters experience.

Have you discovered what’s unique and special about you? Our organization’s founder, Dr. Ralph Smedley, said, “The first result of speech training is self-discovery.” It’s our journey of self-discovery that influences the shape we’ll take, and ultimately the shaping effect we’ll have on the world around us.


Chris K. Ford, DTM
International President

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