Toastmasters talk comes to UVic

Jan. 20 presentation explores the art of public speaking

Toastmasters welcomes the public to learn more about the art of public speaking in a Jan. 20 presentation,  “Toastmasters: Where Leaders Are Made” at the University of Victoria.

Irish raconteur and Toastmasters’ past-international president Ted Corcoran will share his entertaining perspective about the best way to become a better communicator.

Hosted by Toastmasters District 21, Corcoran speaks at the Bob Wright Centre at the University of Victoria at 7 p.m.

Organizers suggest public speaking frequently falls among people’s New Year’s personal growth goals, suggesting about 75 per cent of people experience some degree of anxiety or nervousness about public speaking.

But while public speaking may not come naturally to many people, it is a skill that can be acquired.

“When we look around, we see couples on dates staring at phones instead of gazing into each other’s eyes. Pedestrians shuffle mutely along sidewalks or stand aside at bus stops, eyes fixed on their screens,” says Alan Warburton, Toastmasters District 21 director and 14-year Toastmasters member.

“Companies complain they can’t find workers who know how to relate well to customers. We need to stop texting and start listening. We need to share the vital exchanges that make the differences in all our lives… and not just on social media. We need to stop hiding behind our phones, and start speaking to each other again.”

Learn how to give a compelling speech, make a dynamic sales presentation and confidently lead a meeting.

Take those same skills into everyday life, whether asking a banker for a loan, negotiating a better price on a large purchase, leading a group of volunteers or handling a cranky neighbour in a poised and confident way.

Of course, the only way to get used to speaking to people is by speaking to people.

Options include finding a buddy and taking turns giving impromptu speeches, signing up for a speaking course, hiring a professional public speaking consultant for one-on-one coaching, or joining Toastmasters, an international non-profit organization dedicated to the communication and leadership development.

“All walks of life are seated around a Toastmasters’ meeting table – the lawyer wanting to polish up her persuasive skills, the senior intent on keeping a sharp mind, the pilot who enjoys unwinding from his stressful job by speaking about a unique hobby, the government worker eyeing the top of the career ladder who knows she needs strong leadership skills for meetings,” Warburton says.

For more information, visit www.d21toastmasters.org or www.toastmasters.org/Find-a-Club.