Delivering big speeches at a celebration of life, wedding, or work event can be difficult for those who fear talking in front of a crowd of people.
The local Toastmasters club just celebrated 30 years on April 7, of helping individuals overcome their fear of talking to crowds.
Positively Speaking Toastmasters was started in April 1991. The News featured the club in the paper on June 12, the same year.
Historically the club boasted 20 to 40 members over the years. Currently there are only 11 members because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Watching new members learn and grow has been the most gratifying, said Jenna Ross, vice president public relations with the club.
“We had a member who could only speak during our impromptu ‘Table Topics’ speeches for less than 30 seconds, and in a few short months he now takes up the full 2 minutes,” noted Ross.
“Every week is a big moment making a difference in someone’s life,” she continued.
Another big success for the club, added Ross, was training some city staff in the art of public speaking.
Ross is proud of the club’s accomplishments at District Speech Competitions.
And, Ross added, through the years, they have heard from several past members who credit their employment promotions to Positively Speaking Toastmasters. One of their members, Carole Murphy, credits her leadership and growth to the club.
“She has lead District 96 – the Toastmasters district serving Vancouver, Northern BC, and the Yukon – as an area and division director. Last year she was elected as the Program Quality Director responsible for 135 clubs throughout BC and Yukon,” said Ross. “This year, she has the pleasure of leading District 96 as the 2020-2021 district director.”
The club has also been able to run many Speechcraft sessions, part of the communication and leadership beginner program for non-Toastmasters and they have successfully chartered several clubs.
Currently the club is conducting their meetings on Zoom because of the pandemic.
“This gives members a chance to practice a new skillset, as conference calls are likely to become more of the norm post-pandemic,” noted Ross.
Their meetings are every Wednesday from 7-9 p.m.
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