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Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

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Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

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The Journey With Toastmasters

Photo by Phil Desforges on Unsplash
Thanks to Teen Scene, I am overcoming fears of public speaking in the comfortable environment of Toastmasters International.

​Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that operates clubs worldwide to promote communication, public speaking, and leadership skills. Founded in 1924 by Ralph C. Smedley, Toastmasters provides a structured environment where members can practice their speaking skills in a supportive setting. 

Toastmasters conducts regularly scheduled meetings typically held weekly or biweekly. Meetings are structured and follow an agenda including prepared speeches, speaking exercises (Table Topics), and evaluations. 

Members can take on leadership roles, such as Club President, Vice President, Education, and more.

In Addition, members often receive mentorship from more experienced members. The supportive environment encourages growth and development through constructive feedback.

I have been attending weekly Toastmasters International meetings with a club founded in Brunswick County, for four meetings. My experience has been extremely positive overall. 

On my first meeting, I was there to observe. At the end of the meeting, I heard the positions they were offering, one giving a speech. I extended my offer to give a speech for the next weekly session and was accepted.

I felt connected and in tune with my Toastmasters group from the first meeting. Everyone was very welcoming to new members.

At my second meeting where I presented my speech. I presented “Reflections: Father’s Day for the Fatherless.”  This was an emotional story for me to share but Toastmasters felt like a safe space to share it. I was met with positive responses and respectful feedback from the evaluator. 

I got connected with Toastmasters through Mr. Gerald Decker with Teen Scene.  This has been a great opportunity for me, that I would not have been able to do without Teen Scene. Working with Toastmasters is part of a Tri-County audio/visual program that Mr. Decker and other Teen Scene members have been working on for almost a year and hope to roll out this fall.  This will take Teen Scene to a whole new level. We can produce podcasts at our schools or anywhere there is a special event.  Being in Toastmasters will help us with our on-camera delivery.  

I’ve only been to four Toastmasters meetings so far, but I can already see how much it’s helping me. At first, I was nervous about speaking in front of a group, but everyone was so friendly and supportive. Each meeting is structured, which helps keep things moving and makes it easy to follow.

The best part is the feedback. After my first speech, I got constructive advice on how to improve. It wasn’t just criticism; it was helpful and encouraging. I’ve also enjoyed listening to others speak and learning from them. It’s interesting to see different speaking styles and techniques.

Roles, including Timer and Ah-Counter,  can give me a chance to be more involved and understand how meetings work. I feel more confident and excited about continuing my journey with Toastmasters. It’s a great place to grow and improve, and I’m looking forward to my next meeting!

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    Doug EnsleyJul 1, 2024 at 9:09 am

    Thank you for sharing this experience, Violet. Not only are you finding the local activities that will improve your future, but you are paying it forward by writing about your journy so that others will also benefit. Great job!