One of NC State’s Toastmasters clubs, 3980 Centennial Visionaries Clubteaches students public speaking skills and builds confidence in every meeting.
Toastmasters International is a non-profit organization that prepares students for life outside of college by teaching them public speaking and communication skills. The organization has over 15,000 clubs with more than 300,000 members in 149 countries, two of which are on the NC State campus.
Roger Magarey, club treasurer and researcher at the IPM centre, said public speaking is what most people fear most. The Toastmasters club therefore ensures that members are prepared to speak in public in all situations where it may be necessary.
“We aim to give people skills to help them speak at work or in other situations,” Magarey said. “Members can give prepared speeches and get feedback, so when you give the speech at work, you have previous feedback and can kill it.”
In addition to delivering prepared speeches, the club also hosts tabletop topics to hone quick thinking and public speaking skills on the spot.
“They throw up a topic and you have to stand up and, without any preparation, you talk about that topic,” Magarey said. “It’s actually quite difficult at first, but it teaches skills you need to master, like thinking on your feet.”
When a student joins the club, they have the opportunity to choose a path geared around their career path, providing leadership training and projects that will hone the skills needed for that path. Ryan Miller, club president and master’s student in the Instructional Design Certification program, said he himself was part of two different paths.
“Toastmasters has about 20 different lanes to choose from depending on what interests you,” Miller said. “Our goal is to help new members throughout their journey and to support them.”
The organization welcomes visitors from around the world for members to meet, and Centennial Visioneers Club 3980 just celebrated its 20th anniversary.
“It’s a pretty cool way to get in front of people and talk in a safe way,” Miller said. “You’re going to get positive feedback and constructive criticism to make sure you can present information with confidence, whether it’s in an interview, a big meeting, or something like that.”
The club meets every second and fourth Wednesday of the month and looks forward to meeting new members. If a student wishes to register, he can contact email public relations or join a meeting via Zoom.