February is Toastmasters Month, and the local club, now going strong after more than a year in operation, is welcoming anyone to come out to a meeting and see what it’s all about.
For those of you who don’t know, Toastmasters in an international organization that helps people build their public speaking skills by teaching them how to effectively formulate and express their ideas, and gain confidence.
The membership, which ranges from beginners to seasoned vets, teaches and learns from each other.
In the short time the Golden club has been around, its members have made great strides in their public speaking skills, as well as their confidence.
“It’s so exciting to see how comfortable we have all gotten talking in front of each other,” said member Lynn Romano, who was chairing the Feb. 14 meeting while club president Geraldine Smith was home sick.
“Now we see so much more of each other’s personality come through.”
A typical meeting consists of Table Topics, where members are asked questions, and must spontaneously answer them. This exercise gets people comfortable thinking on their feet.
After that there are speakers, up to three, who deliver prepared speeches.
Everything in Toastmasters is evaluated, which is how the members grow and learn. The content of the speech, body language, eye contact, filler words (such as um), and time is all examined after everyone speaks.
From attending the Feb. 14 meeting, it was very clear that the club has a very open and welcoming environment. All evaluations contained far more positive than negative feedback, and the ease in which the members stood up to speak shows how safe they feel with the membership.
Having gained so much from the club already, some members have decided to share their knowledge with community. There is a public speaking program at Golden Secondary School, facilitated by two Toastmasters members, and they are looking at expanding it into the Golden Youth Centre.
The Golden Toastmasters, although a relatively new club, are honoured to be hosting a district speech competition next month. Clubs throughout the district will travel to Golden for the event, which will hopefully include some local members.
Anyone interested in checking out a Toastmasters meeting is welcome to go to see what it is all about. They meet every Thursday at the College of the Rockies at 7 p.m.