Utah Valley Toastmasters can help you overcome your public speaking fears

Have you wanted to get over your fear of public speaking, but don’t know how?

If so, Toastmasters International is an organization for people just like you, and there is a chapter in your very own backyard.

Toastmasters International was established in 1924 in order to fill a need in building an individual’s public speaking abilities as well as other useful qualities. By 1949, 700 chapters of Toastmasters had been established in the United States, Canada and Scotland. Now there are over 15,000 chapters across the world.

 Founder of Toastmasters, Ralph C. Smedley, found a need and established Toastmasters to help individuals develop their skills in public speaking. He established Toastmasters to help individuals learn to conduct meetings, plan programs, speak in public and work on committees.

Here at Utah Valley Toastmasters, there are a number of positions weekly that allow people to practice different skills.There is a Sergeant of arms that sets up the meeting and helps direct it, as well as a  toastmaster that directs the meeting, introduces individuals, and carries out the awards ceremony at the end of every meeting. You can be a speaker or an evaluator that evaluates the speaker’s speech. There is even an impromptu section that we call “table topics.”

Table topics are a favorite to many because participants don’t know what the subject is until the table topics master announces it at the section of the meeting. This is intended to help members develop their ability to organize their thoughts quickly and be able to respond in a quick manner to the topic or question. 

Toastmasters has an educational program called Pathways that helps individuals develop 11 specialized learning paths from leadership and communication skills, engaging humor and much more. Pathways helps individuals gain specific knowledge and confidence on how to conduct themselves in a public arena of choice.

Toastmasters has established a fantastic program to help people to get over the fear of speaking in public and develop their abilities in better communication. Many who attend Toastmasters may not have a fear of public speaking, but just need to hone their skills. 

When I joined Toastmasters, I thought I was a good public speaker, but I was wrong. I had a lot of habits that were not good speaking traits. When I started toastmasters I felt comfortable speaking in front of a group and was able to refine and learn how to improve my speaking skills. 

By being a member of Toastmasters, you have the opportunity to learn and be evaluated by a person that understands that everyone is developing their skills and confidence in public speaking. At Utah Valley Toastmasters, there are individuals who have been in the speaking realm for years, offering many great resources to learn from. 

Now is your opportunity to overcome something that is holding you back, and be able to share your story in front of others without being afraid. Everyone has the ability to speak in front of a group, they just need to develop it and toastmasters in a great way to develop your skills speaking in front of others.

For more information, find Utah Valley Toastmasters on Facebook. 

Submitted by Eric Liechty

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Articles from community members to share their viewpoints, or letter to the editor.

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