Toastmasters International club starting in Elizabethton, public invited to demonstration meeting

Published 9:35 am Thursday, June 9, 2016

NW0609 Toastmasters Coming
Can you guess what the number one fear in the United States is? No, it’s not death and it’s not spiders. It’s public speaking.
As it turns out, the idea of being in control of the attention in a room full of people is absolutely terrifying to most. Almost anybody can relate to the memory of being in a high school classroom, shaking at their desk as they prepare to stand up and give a presentation.
If you are like most people, then it may sounds like a horrible idea to willfully put yourself in a situation where you’d be expected to speak. But consider for a moment how much the skill of public speaking may increase your value on the labor market. If there are so many people who are terrified to present, wouldn’t it be in your best interest to foster such a skill in order to get a better job?
An opportunity to do just that is coming to Elizabethton where Judy Donley, Toastmasters Area Director, is working to organize a Toastmasters International club. Toastmasters International is a global network of people who are working to become better leaders, communicators and public speakers. In the Tri-Cities alone, there are six clubs at institutions like Eastman, ETSU and Northeast State Community College.
Through a combination of a supportive environment and constructive feedback, members are encouraged to grow and expand their speaking abilities. Members who attend meetings and follow through with their Toastmasters program find themselves leagues ahead of the average person in their communication skills.
Each member starts with a single speech about themselves, but this blossoms into story-telling, persuasion, impromptu speeches and much more. Involved members can become leaders and organizers, further improving their professional skills.
Most employers cite soft skills such as verbal communication, public speaking and teamwork among the top qualities they look for in an employe. Given that the number one fear in America is public speaking, these can be hard qualities to find in one individual. At Toastmasters, you will be able to practice and improve all three of these skills and more.
I myself started in a Toastmasters club as a community college student at Northeast State. Before joining this organization, I had not thought of myself as a leader, much less a public speaker. I gave my first speech with nervousness radiating from my body, speaking far to fast and looking down to read my notes throughout most of the presentation. By my tenth speech, I was walking around the room, making eye contact with everyone present, scarcely glancing at my notes and speaking at an easy-to-follow pace.
Because of my experience in Toastmasters, I have no doubt that I am more prepared for job interviews, future class presentations, success in a professional environment and success while working with a team. I have valuable skills which I know I will use in my everyday life and in my future career.
The idea of public speaking is certainly intimidating. But if you step into the room at a Toastmasters meeting, you will immediately know that this group is there to support you, not to judge you. Through constructive evaluations, you will learn what you are already doing right and what you need to improve on. Before you know it, you will possess a skill that so many people are frightened to develop.
If you would like to attend a demonstration meeting for the upcoming Toastmasters Club of Elizabethton, come to the Elizabethton library meeting room on Thursday, June 9, at 6:15 p.m. The hour long meeting is free of charge and allows you to experience Toastmasters yourself before you decide to get involved.
If you have any questions, please contact Judy Donley at or 423-276-8590.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox