Toastmasters has served over four million people, and today the organization serves over 230,000 members in 92 countries, through its over 11,500 member clubs.
This is not one or two people's love of parliamentary procedure. It's a love epidemic. And after 84 years of teaching parliamentary procedure, I would think the Toastmaster training has improved enough to make it worthwhile. Enough to at least try it once or twice. Using something less time-tested doesn't seem like a good strategy.
Maybe not with an iron fist (don't take me literally please; it's just a way of making a point), but in some fashion that represents the essence of it. Because what we use now in meetings… it doesn't work. Take the best of the method, and leave the rest. No need to get too rigid with it. Just enough so that it works. That's the recommendation from this corner.
Some well-known people from various fields have been Toastmasters. These include:
Carl Albert Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1971-77
Tim Allen Actor, star of television series, "Home Improvement"
Everett Alvarez American POW during the Vietnam War; former Deputy Director of the Peace Corps and Veterans Administration
William Bennett Former Premier of British Columbia, Canada
James Brady Two-term press secretary for U.S. President Ronald Reagan; author of the Brady Bill, which authorizes a 5-day waiting period on handgun purchases
Nancy Brinker Founder of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation; former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary
Joe Conley Actor, former cast member of television show The Waltons
Peter Coors Chairman of Coors Brewing Company
Philip Crosby Quality expert and leader of the quality movement
Ben Couch Late former member of Parliament, New Zealand
Robert Emory Founder, Emory Worldwide Courier Service
Debbie Fields Rose Founder, Mrs. Fields Cookies
Anita Perez Ferguson Former President, U.S. National Women's Political Caucus; Princeton lecturer and National Public Radion contributor
Steve Fraser 1984 Olympic Gold medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling; National Director of Sports Marketing Systems for Domino's Pizza, Inc.
Napoleon Hill Best-selling author of "Think and Grow Rich;" presidential advisor
Tara Dawn Holland Christensen Miss America, 1997
K.C. Jones Former basketball coach for NBA team, Boston Celtics
Richard Lamm Former Governor of Colorado and 1996 Reform Party Presidential candidate
Donald D. Lennox Former President, Xerox Corporation's Information Systems Group
James Lovell Former U.S. astronaut; missions included Apollo 13
Chris Matthews Author and host on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews”
Harvey Mackay Best-selling author of "Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive"
Hyde Murray Former Republican Counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives
Robert Nesen Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Navy, 1970-71
Sam Nunn Former U.S. Senator, Democrat from Georgia; CEO of Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI)
Paul Oreffice Former President and CEO of Dow Chemical, Midland, Michigan
Cavett Robert Late founder of the National Speakers Association; author
Pat Roberts U.S. Senator, Republican from Kansas
Walter Schirra Late former U.S. astronaut; only man to fly in United States' first three space programs, Mercury, Gemini and Apollo
Carol Stoker Missouri State congresswoman
John V. Tunney Former U.S. Senator and television commentator
King Vidor Late director of classic Hollywood motion pictures
Tracy Wilson CBS commentator, Canadian Medalist in Ice Dancing
John Young Former U.S. astronaut