We would like to express our gratitude and respect to the Founder of Toastmasters International in this 5th of September on the occasion of Happy Teachers Day. Even though we don’t bring your name during Toastmasters Meetings, but every time we say ‘Toastmasters’, we say Smedley. You said, “All speech is for communication, and there is no possibility of communication unless people understand. Your Club can help you to find out whether you are making yourself understood.” On 22nd October 1924, you invited a small group to meet in the Santa Ana, California YMCA where you conducted the first meeting of what eventually evolved into Toastmasters International.
Smedley was born in Waverly, Illinois in USA on 22nd February 1878. After completing high school, he pursued teaching and taught in schools along the countryside in Illinois. Smedley was an active participant and an Educational Director at the Young Men’s Christian Association; he sincerely felt that there was a need for learning of speeches. He formed a club and the name “Toastmasters” was suggested by George Sutton, a prominent member of California YMCA. The participants cherished this name and the club was a blockbuster. In every club meeting, participants rotated their roles with participants taking turns at presiding and speaking. Short speeches were evaluated by Ralph and the Elderly Gentlemen while the newbies were given chances to excel further. Toastmasters’ intended purpose of leadership and speaking were being highlighted and achieved in every meet. Although unofficially, the first Toastmasters meet was conducted on 24th March 1905.
Dr. Smedley, we know a lot about you and the more we know the more we are inspired. You are the reason that millions of participants all across the globe have been able to realize their potential, learn and master the art of Public Speaking. Today, when we celebrate Teacher’s Day, I appreciate the utmost efforts and innovativeness of Sir Ralph C. Smedley. Even though to us your are abstract, but you remain “ The Unseen Teacher” of every Toastmaster.
District 41 Toastmasters,
Serving North India, East India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan.