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Published January 16, 2007
Volume 15, Number 1


Shy About Speaking in Public? Toastmasters Develops Communication Skills, Leadership, and More



Do you dread delivering presentations to upper management?  Do you begin to perspire knowing it’s your turn to facilitate a staff meeting?  Or, do you simply find it difficult to engage in conversations at social gatherings?  If any of these situations describes you, then it’s time to visit the Hacienda Park Toastmasters Club. This club, one of several in the Tri-Valley, is part of Toastmasters International, which offers its members the opportunity to develop skills in communication and leadership, and to build self-confidence.

“I joined Toastmasters a year ago because I wanted to become more comfortable speaking to groups,” says newly-elected President Mary Lombardo.  “Toastmasters has sharpened my communications skills and developed abilities I didn’t realize I possessed.” 

The first Toastmasters club was established in 1924 in Santa Ana, California with the goal of helping others to speak more effectively. Since then, Toastmasters has become an organization that offers skill development beyond delivering speeches.  According to the Toastmasters International web site, more than one thousand corporations, community groups, universities, associations, and government agencies now use Toastmasters training for developing employee and volunteers’ skills in communication and leadership. 

“It is surprising that more corporate managers are not familiar with Toastmasters and the communications and leadership skills it has to offer them and their employees,” added Lombardo.  “I am still in awe at the confidence this program develops in a modestly short period of time.”

Upon joining a club, members receive a variety of manuals and resources on speaking and leading.  Then, at weekly club meetings, members have the opportunity to practice conducting meetings, giving impromptu speeches, presenting prepared speeches and offering constructive evaluations.  As members progress through the development program, some choose to compete with other Toastmasters in contests such as the Humorous and Evaluation Speech contests at Area, Regional, and National level competitions.

Hacienda Park Toastmasters has been in existence since 1988.  Currently, there are about 25 members from all walks of life and different professions who live and work in the Hacienda area.  Some of the members have entered competitions at various levels, and the club consistently participates at the Area level competitions.  Plans are being made for interested members to participate in the Club International Speech and Table Topics Contest in March. 

This past November, the club held an open house event that attracted several new members, but you do not have to wait for an open house to check out the club.

“Guests are always welcome and we are delighted to have new and returning guests each week,” adds Lombardo.  “Anytime is a good time to come and visit.”

The club meets every Thursday from 12 noon to 12:55 p.m. at the Tyco/Nellcor Building at 4280 Hacienda Drive.  For more information, contact Ms. Lombardo at Lombardo@vintagemortgagegroup.com, or (925) 227-8923. 

To learn more about Toastmasters, or to locate other clubs that best fit your schedule, visit the Toastmasters International web site at www.toastmasters.org.

 

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