Member Spotlight: Steve Burchett

Each meeting, a few members take on different “roles” like joke-master, evaluator, or time-keeper to keep things moving smoothly.

In the months after joining us in 2021, Steve delivered a few speeches and took his turn at every role but one.

In May of ’22, Steve served in that final role as “Toastmaster” — acting as emcee and leading the meeting.

“I’ve been very impressed” said Steve about the club. We asked him a few questions about his experience so far:

What inspired you to join Toastmasters?

I first joined the club at Anheuser-Busch years ago. Toastmasters was recommended for people looking to grow leadership and management skills like “giving constructive feedback” and “speaking in front of the team.” It was fun every couple of weeks to participate in the structured meetings and learn, grow, and test skills with some good people.

In my new company I’ve been planning to speak to crowds at more industry events, webinars, and client presentations. With the pandemic my public speaking skills got rusty. And I thought “I bet I can find a local group…”

Why did you choose our club?

I expected to test out a few clubs, and heard good things about South County Toastmasters. Plus the meeting spot isn’t far from my work, so I started with this group. In a couple meetings I saw an impressive caliber of speakers, helpful and encouraging evaluations, and got a warm welcome from several members. It felt like what I was looking for.

What has your experience been like at South County Toastmasters?

The formal meeting structure was a bit of a surprise at first. Since joining, I’ve been impressed with several things, like how the club pairs each new member with a mentor to help them be successful. I like the hybrid online meeting option for people who need to attend over Zoom.

For me, the variety of backgrounds and experience levels make it easy to fit in. Some new members are here to get over real struggles with communication. Others want skills to advance their career. And other members have been coming for years: some are very polished speakers, some hilarious, and all willing to share what they’ve learned.

Is there a favorite memory you would like to share?

The club held its first ever “Founder’s Day” Celebration shortly after I joined. I was awestruck to see the club founder, Howard—in his 90’s—give a lively and funny speech about peeling potatoes during the Korean War. The city of Sunset Hills honored him with his own “Howard Brandt Day” and Mayoral Proclamation. To see how Howard positively influenced several hundreds of people in his lifetime … as the kids say, “Life Goals.”

Do you think SCTM has helped you to achieve any personal or professional goals?

Certainly! The skills I learned at Toastmasters directly gave me a boost when I was promoted to Corporate Trainer, presenting to dozens of teams as part of my job. Eventually I spoke at monthly conferences in front of hundreds. The surprise to me: as a leader of people in my business today, I still use the feedback techniques Toastmasters teaches in evaluations.

And to anyone interested, Steve says, “I strongly recommend stopping by to see a live Toastmasters meeting at least once. You can sit next to me.”

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