Thoughts from a First Timer

Diana Maldonado

First Timer. Newbie. Novice. Beginner. Amateur. Rookie. There are so many different ways to label someone who is new at something, aren’t there?

It’s not a bad thing to be an amateur – I could even argue that there are some great advantages to being green. Generally speaking, when you’re new, you often bring a different perspective to light than the more seasoned folks do. Many times the new person doesn’t come with preconceived notions or ideas about how things should be, and therefore, often proves to be a source of upbeat new ideas and suggestions. This can result in positive energy and innovation for an existing organization.

Why am I discussing rookies? Because I am one. I’m a District 25 Conference First Timer. Even more broadly, I am a newbie to Toastmasters. I joined Toastmasters at the end of February this year and just attended my first conference. I was not able to be there for all of the weekend’s scheduled events, but I did attend the education sessions on Saturday. I honestly had no idea what to expect that day, though I did generally expect good things (it is District 25, after all!).

Fantastic. Awesome. Wonderful. Tremendous. Amazing. Incredible. There are so many different ways to say something is great, aren’t there?

In my opinion, everything was handled perfectly at the conference. It was well organized, the venue was centrally located and easy to find, and there was a variety of programming available. And what was the biggest standout? The people. That probably goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyway.

I met so many remarkable people that day! Since joining Toastmasters, I have been fortunate enough to meet numerous brilliant and gracious people. I was in Aldean Pearson’s education session “Sailing the Winds of Change,” taking notes as I always do, when it hit me. It’s all about the people. While this may seem obvious to you, it took my experience at the conference to bring that point home.

You see, before I had this moment of enlightenment, I believed that Toastmasters was mainly about talking. Prior to becoming a member, I thought that speaking would be the focal point of the organization, particularly in front of large groups. Once I joined and began attending meetings, I came to realize that there is much more to it: leadership, meeting preparation, writing, listening, evaluating, and of course, verbal communication. But now, after attending my first conference, I know that it is truly about something else, something bigger. It’s all about the people.

Humanity. Mankind. Citizens. Inhabitants. Population. Society.

There are so many different ways to say people, aren’t there?

Yes, the key is people. Meeting more and more individuals and expanding your Toastmasters network will provide you with prime opportunities for growth and honing your skills. Why would you be concerned about your communication skills if you had no one to communicate with? Who would be listening to your story? Who would be helping you improve? If we didn’t have each other to share the experience with, none of these skills would matter.

Diana Maldonado

Connection Communicators



By Jodie Sanders