Toastmasters help conquer fear
August 25, 2009 · 1:31 PM
Suffer from Glossophobia? Never fear, Toastmasters’ support is now available in Oak Harbor.
Founded in 1924, Toastmasters International is a world-wide organization dedicated to helping glossophobes overcome their fear of speaking publicly, one speech at a time.
Until now, Whidbey Island was nearly devoid of the Toastmaster culture. Greenbank hosted a short-lived group, according to Toastmaster’s International officials, but it disbanded in 2008.
Now Bob and Carol Wall, longtime Toastmasters, want to start a North Whidbey organization. The group is almost half-way to the required 13 members it needs before it’s officially recognized by Toastmaster’s International. Bob hopes the group will earn it’s official status by January 2010.
“We’re in a growing mode, and we’d like to get better,” Bob said.
The group started as a focal point around Kenneth Kole, a Ugandan man who’s attending Skagit Valley College. Kenneth is the group’s only non-native english speaker.
Mastering english is one hurdle; public speaking is another. And the practice is paying off.
“I think I’m really growing. I’m getting compliments from people when I do public speaking elsewhere,” Kenneth told the group after an August meet-up. “I look forward to being even better.”
At a recent Whidbey Island Toastmaster rendezvous, “success” was the chosen word of the day, and that they did.
Charged with an assignment to speak clearly, without pause and sans any nervous “um” fillers, each of the six current members: Bob and Carol Wall, Janis and Hector Powell, Scott Dudley, Bob Harrison and Kenneth Kole tested their ability to deliver the spoken word.
The meetings allow members to practice their skill, gain confidence, learn from each other what techniques work, what don’t and how to engage an audience.
Speakers evaluate each other at the end of the meeting and cast votes for their favorite speeches.
Public speaking is a valuable skill that can help with general presentations, business deals and the ability to secure a good job, Bob said.
Share a toast
The Toastmasters will gather at Mitzel’s Restaurant, 33185 Highway 20, for their next meeting, Sept. 21 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Call Oak Harbor Toastmaster founding member and president Bob Wall for more information, 679-4097.