Harminder Dhillon joined Trojans Speakers four years ago and says “joining Toastmasters literally changed my life. This sounds like a cliché but it’s transformed a shy, reserved person with a stammer into someone who’s found his voice.” He’s been President of Trojans, Area 29 Governor, is London Division B’s Toastmaster of the year and has founded King’s Speakers – a unique club.
How did the new club come about? When the film The King’s Speech came out Harminder was interviewed by the BBC. This was spotted by Toastmasters International HQ. As a result when International President Pat Johnson came over for the May 2011 Windsor Conference she arranged to meet Harminder.
“Pat wanted to find out how Toastmasters could help people who stammer. She and Teresa Dukes (then UK & Ireland District Governor) were very supportive of starting a club primarily aimed at stammers.”
The club had its first meeting in January 2012. “You can imagine that starting a club for people who’re completely petrified of public speaking meant that, for several months, I was a committee of one!” Harminder got support from members of other clubs who gave speeches and demonstrated roles. King’s Speaker chartered in October 2012, has 26 active members and is the only Toastmasters club in the world aimed at stammerers.
Harminder would love you to spread the word. “We are an incredibly supportive club. If you know anyone who stammers tell them to visit. This club has been specifically created for them. The more afraid they're of public speaking the more they’ll benefit. I’ve already seen members change dramatically.”
What is next for Harminder? Last weekend he was invited to give a workshop in Tallinn for the Estonian Stuttering Association. The local TM club can expect more visitors as a result! He’s working on a plan to roll out more clubs like King’s Speakers abroad. Look out for more information on this over the coming months…