Facing down the fear of public speaking

While many people are frightened of and repulsed by the idea of public speaking, a dedicated group of Stettler residents embrace the idea.

While many people are frightened of and repulsed by the idea of public speaking, a dedicated group of Stettler residents not only embrace the idea, but want to bring more people into the fold.

These individuals belong to the Stettler chapter of Toastmasters International, a world-reknowned organization that helps people hone their public speaking, listening, and leadership skills.

The chapter has been up and running for roughly a year, Claude Dupont, vice president of membership, said. He was the Toastmaster — essentially master of ceremonies — for the recent meeting, held at the Stettler Board of Trade boardroom on Thursday, Nov. 5. The group meets from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. every first and third Thursday of the month.

While most chapters need 20 paid members to register its charter with Toastmasters International, the Stettler chapter was fortunate to be able to assume its charter from a Calgary chapter which was folding, Dupont explained.

Guests are not only welcome, but are encouraged. Even, and especially, those who feel their knees go weak and their stomach toss and churn at the idea of standing before an audience.

Members receive an official guide, which walks them through novice speech-making skills to more complex speech structures. Each person progresses at their own pace, completing speech after speech.

Speeches are evaluated by fellow Toastmasters, who highlight areas of improvement over previous speeches and successes of the speaker, all the while providing useful and kind critique so the speaker can address weaknesses.

In addition to scheduled speakers, there’s a table-topic section, where random attendees are chosen to pick a topic from a box, and must speak for two minutes on the topic — with very little time to prepare.

“Table topics are designed to help people learn to speak on their feet,” Dupont said. “You’re given very little time to prepare, just collect your thoughts…and impress.”

Rob Somerville, president of the chapter, said the year with Toastmasters has already helped him a great deal.

“It’s one thing to have ideas, but if you’re not a good speaker, it often falls on deaf ears,” he said. He said many great ideas have been bandied about in his lifetime, working with organizations like the Alberta Beef Producers, that have gained little traction because the people behind the idea simply didn’t express themselves well.

The Stettler Toastmasters are looking to increase the number of people attending meetings, not only because it’s important to the health and longevity of the local chapter, but because of the wealth of opportunities Toastmasters provides. Interested individuals can contact Claude Dupont at 403-742-4373, or simply attend a meeting at the Board of Trade building, side door, on one of the Toastmaster evenings.

Just Posted

Seasonal road bans for the County of Stettler declared for Monday

Road bans go into effect Monday, March 25 at 1 p.m.

Supporters rally for Jason Kenney as UCP leader stops in Red Deer

Kenney promises equalization reform, stopping ‘Trudeau-Notley’ payroll hike, trade, economic mobility

Stettler’s Christ King Church a spectacular structure

Great submission to history book committee on Stettler’s Catholic church

Don’t leave ice huts on lake: County of Stettler

Anglers reminded to remove ice huts from lakes prior to April 1

What are you fertilizer requirements for spring?

Soil tests are still best way to determine levels at beginning of season

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Judges on Twitter? Ethical guidance for those on the bench under review

Canadian judges involvement in community life are among issues under review

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Most Read