20 Apr Read about Dee Why RSL Club’s Toastmasters
‘The Cornerstone of Communication’
which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014 as one of the 9 interclubs that Dee Why RSL Club supports. Toastmasters is also part of a prominent international organisation, targeting communication and leadership development though specially crafted sessions, referred to as ‘meetings’. Through its frequent meetings, Toastmasters provides a supportive and positive educational experience
enabling its members to develop a range of public speaking skills, resulting in effective communication in any given situation.
Statistics show 74% of the population suffer from speaking anxiety.*
To communicate effectively is a powerful life skill to have. Due to this, Toastmasters naturally attracts a diverse range of members not only wanting to further careers but also to improve public speaking and communication on all platforms. Toastmasters itself boasts a broad range of members aged from late teens to members in their 80s, while on an international spectrum, has a membership database of over 345,000 individuals over 142 countries.
Life coach, scholar and student Casey Featon of Dee Why Toastmasters explains, “I joined toastmasters in New York in order to meet new people and increase confidence in a skill (public speaking) that I thought I had lost. It turns out that it didn’t take long to build my presentation skills back up and feel confident again. When I moved back to Australia and over to the Northern Beaches in 2015, I decided to take up Toastmasters again for the same two reasons.”
A typical meeting requires active participation from members in giving prepared speeches, impromptu speaking, welcoming guests, proposing toasts and various other speaking roles. With classes of approximately 30 individuals, members also fulfill roles such as chairman, timer, grammarian and running special events. All activities conducted within each meeting are evaluated, offering members valuable feedback on respective strengths and opportunities for improvements in a supportive environment. Through a community of learners, leaders emerge equipped with the knowledge and confidence needed to accomplish any goal. “Toastmasters has helped me to feel confident in my abilities,” proclaimed Casey.
“Most people say that public speaking is at the top of their fear list, however, I think that this is only because they don’t have the opportunity to practice public speaking in everyday life. The unique thing about Toastmasters is that it gives you an opportunity to practice these skills in a safe environment, with plenty of support and feedback. When you finally have to give that work presentation or speak at someone’s wedding, you can KNOW that you can do it, rather than being UNSURE if you can. This is the biggest thing for me- the confidence. Although the cornerstone of support is through its network of meetings, members are offered instant access to
vital speechcraft information through a monthly magazine, online tutorials, social media, podcasts, workshops, emails, and competitions.
The team at Toastmasters is reputable within its community, earning a Presidents Distinguished Club award for each of the last ten years, and will do so again this year. Excelling in public speaking competitions, in 2016 club members won area and division competitions in humorous speaking and area competitions in impromptu speaking and evaluation. The Club also won the 2016 Toastmasters Inter-RSL competition, a team competition requiring a prepared speech and three impromptu speeches.
Casey says to anyone wanting to take charge of their public speaking and presentation skills, “You have nothing to lose and absolutely everything to gain. At the very least you may make some new friends and have some fun, but at most you may find you have a skill and talent for something that you didn’t realise you had.” Toastmasters meet at Dee Why RSL Club every second, fourth and fifth Monday of the month, and encourages visitors to come along to check it out. For more information head to http://www.dytm.org.au/ or email Casey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some top tips to remember when giving your next presentation:
1. Know your material
2. Practice. Practice. Practice
3. Know the audience
4. Know the room
6. Visualise yourself giving your speech
7. Realise that people want you to succeed
8. Don’t apologise
9. Concentrate on the message – not the medium
10. Gain experience