Want to gain confidence? Improve communication skills? Look no further than MSU’s very own Toastmaster’s Club.
Toastmasters is an international club that helps individuals improve their communication, speaking ability and leadership skills through participatory workshop style meetings.
Arnie Kleinsasser, current MSU-Toastmasters’ president, explained that Toastmasters is, “a place where students can come practice and gain confidence.” He said, “I think students underestimate the importance of public speaking. We’re open to everybody.”
Members take turns filling different roles each week in order to provide a no-pressure environment where people can give and receive feedback that will enable them to improve their speaking skills.
Each week one or two members present a short “ice-breaker” speech on a topic of their choice to begin the meeting. Speakers volunteer to fill this role and are encouraged to use this opportunity to practice speeches and presentations for their classes.
Following, these voluntary speeches, the table topics master begins the next section of the meeting: table topics speeches. These speeches provide members a chance to give a one to two minute impromptu speech on a subject chosen by the table topics master.
Table topics speeches encourage members to think on their feet and tap into creativity, while simultaneously gaining public speaking practice.
“The purpose of table topics,” Kleinsasseris said, “is that often when you meet someone, you want to say something but you don’t think of it until you leave and you may only get those two minutes.”
After table topics have concluded, feedback is provided to all the speakers. An evaluator focuses on various public speaking skills such as body language, hand motions, tone and speed. A timer reports speech lengths from the evening and a grammarian gives speakers feedback on word choice and use of “filler words” such as “um” or “you know.”
Tom Stenzel, a community toastmaster, said “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”
Toastermasters meets on alternating Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. in Reid hall 333. The next meeting will be Wednesday Feb. 22.
For more information regarding Toastmasters e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or find them on Facebook by searching for Toastermasters of Montana State University.