Grab attention when you speak, join Toastmasters

Smiths Fall Toastmasters
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Posted on: March 26, 2018

Carrie Wynne

Am I the only one that has sat through a meeting completely disengaged? The speaker was behind the lectern with his head down reading pages and you had a hard time hearing him? Did you try not to fall asleep or check your phone, but the content and delivery was so boring that you glazed over?  Did the organizer have an agenda or lose control of the meeting?

Thanks to technology being so convenient and texting as our favorite way to interact, verbal communication is becoming a lost art. I’m sure there’s something you’d like to say. Something you need to say, to your family, your community and maybe even your boss.  We need more leaders. We need you. Your actual voice to topics you are most passionate about.

Whether you wish build leadership skills, get a job, a promotion, or just keep your communication skills fresh and meet some new friends and network, there is something for everyone in Toastmasters.  

Toastmasters started in 1924 in California by Dr. Ralph C Smedley.  There are 16,400 clubs in 141 countries with over 352,000 members worldwide.

I was terrified of public speaking when I first joined Toastmasters and found myself shying away from opportunities that presented themselves. I didn’t want to be that person that crawled under a rock when asked to present something or share an idea or a story.  

Most of us start off extremely nervous public speaking and develop self-confidence each week. Every week we have fun practicing table topics, which is off-the-cuff, impromptu speaking to help us handle thinking and speaking on our feet.

Each week you take a new role at the meeting. Speakers receive positive feedback on how to improve.  We evaluate each other. There’s an online educational program called Pathways that you work through at your own pace.  One of the most rewarding aspects of Toastmasters is watching the program work for people. It’s wonderful to witness the progress that people make. 

You learn how to grab the listeners attention with a great opening and end a speech with a memorable close and call to action. You learn that good structure brings you confidence and the audience clarity. You become aware of your distracting gestures.  You start using pauses, eye contact and body language that all contribute to the amount of sincerity you project when you speak.

Smiths Falls Toastmasters meets every Wednesday night 7 p.m. to  8:30 p.m. at Healey’s Glass. It costs $156 per year to join (13/month) and we modify the schedule in July and August. New members are celebrated because we have as much to learn from you as you do from us.  Guests are always welcome.