If the eloquence and passion with which Bob Kirchner OAM talks of Toastmasters is any indication, the results speak for themselves.
And the international Toastmasters community reckons he’s worth his weight in gold, too.
When Mr Kirchner attends the 87th International Convention in Chicago, Illinois late this month, he will be presented with a Presidential Citation – one of Toastmasters’ highest honours.
Speaking to The Leader from Sydney airport an hour before flying out with wife Leanne, Mr Kirchner was modest about the news.
“You don’t do these things to get this sort of recognition, but it’s quite good; I appreciate it,” he said.
The citation is in recognition of Mr Kirchner’s ”outstanding contributions and dedication to Toastmasters International”.
Citation recipients are selected at the sole discretion of Toastmasters’ international president.
An average of about 15 per year, worldwide, have been awarded in the past few years.
Forty years, three reasons
Mr Kirchner has been a member of Toastmasters for more than 40 years
He has previously served as club president, area governor, and district director for about two-thirds of NSW; and has been key in establishing new clubs across the region.
Mr Kirchner said he had stayed in the organisation for so long for three reasons.
“I always learnt something, because the nature of Toastmasters is people giving speeches, which they have carefully researched,” he said.
“I always get inspired by people in Toastmasters: you get people in who can hardly utter a word and within six months they’re up on their feet, spruiking.
“And I always have fun: everything we do in in our clubs, we always try to make sure it’s underlined with an element of of fun.”
Mr Kirchner said the worldwide organisation also impressed him with its commitment to moving with the times and developing new programs, such as ones tailored to younger demographics.
He said it was very common to be uncomfortable or even terrified of speaking in front of a group of people.
“When I first went, I was quite nervous,” he said.
“That’s the case with most people – but most people don’t understand you can actually do something about that.”