Friday, May 20 2022

Public speaking can scare many people, but the Stettler Toastmasters group provides a supportive framework to help overcome these fears and build self-confidence.

“There used to be a Toastmasters club in Stettler that closed before my time,” said member Mike Bertin.

“The current club was my initiative. I was already a Toastmasters member of a club in Red Deer (I’m still a member there) and I was convinced that a Toastmasters club could also be of benefit to Stettler and the region, ”he added. .

“I publicly announced that I intended to start a club and, with the support of Aubrey Brown, then director of the Board of Trade, began to hold meetings in one of the rooms in the office. of the Board of Trade. We had a keen interest at the start and were able to put together a small, enthusiastic group.

Of course, memberships increase and decrease over time and the group has experienced this as well.

“Unfortunately, we have not been able to attract replacements for those who have moved. With the support of the Stettler Library, we moved to the SRC Boardroom in 2019 – a more public place with greater circulation. This is where we meet now.

Bertin noted that he originally joined Toastmasters to strengthen his interpersonal skills.

“I had a hard time being kind and starting or leading a conversation,” he said. “I found help for this. Understanding people and their expectations better allowed me to develop my self-confidence and focus on the other rather than on my own discomfort.

Bertin added that the benefits of registering with Toastmasters are considerable.

“One of the great advantages is that it is available and beneficial to everyone. It is not just for one class of people. And everyone, at one point or another, will be invited to say something in front of a group, ”he said. “Most of us fear this and stumble when we do. But here’s the problem – while there are many skills and techniques involved in communication, it’s not primarily about those things. It’s about building confidence.

“It’s about overcoming fears. And, it is also a safe environment to do so – guided by learning techniques and development skills.

Bertin adds that it is also a great place to practice.

“You won’t spoil anyone’s wedding reception here. Here you will not use the wrong words during a funeral. Here you will not freeze in front of the board, ”he said.

“Some have said that Toastmasters is a great place to fail. Sure, and failure is a great teacher. We work on chess before it matters.

Indeed. There is no doubt that public speaking is scary for a lot of people.

“I think it’s the result of our innate reluctance to be vulnerable,” says Bertin. “It’s not so much public speaking – we do it every day. It’s knowing that everyone’s attention will be on us.

Then there are worries about what people think about our appearances or what to say.

“Are we going to humble ourselves in front of a crowd?” Toastmasters allows us to practice, understand audiences, prepare for those audiences, and deliver meaningful and engaging messages.

Based in Englewood, Colorado, the organization has more than 364,000 international members in more than 16,200 clubs in 145 countries.

According to Toastmasters International, since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators, and leaders.

For Bertin, having obtained “Distinguished Toastmaster” is indeed the pinnacle of success in the Toastmasters program.

“I got my DTM at the start of 2017. So why continue? For me, it’s the pleasure of seeing others grow and develop, ”he said.

“I have also met people from all walks of life, with varying needs, who have come to Toastmasters and learned to move forward in the many facets of their lives,” he noted.

“After all, people use their public speaking skills not only in the boardroom, but at weddings, funerals, graduations, community events, in our churches and service organizations. public, ”he said.

“And let’s not forget that communication skills are essential to leadership. Are you leading any team? These skills are so transferable. We learn to communicate effectively and gain the confidence to lead. I love to see it all happen. And besides… it’s fun!

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