The Big Rock Pioneer Toastmasters are hosting an open house next week to give prospective members an idea what the club is all about.
Club president Leonard Quilty called the event, set for Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Okotoks Public Library, an open house demonstration meeting where the club will run through a typical Toastmasters meeting.
"It's a good opportunity for people to see what we do in a meeting and see if it's something that they'd like to join,” Quilty said.
The club, which meets on the first and third Tuesday of the month at the library, offers a setting where members can practice their public speaking and communication skills in a safe environment, all the while receiving constructive feedback from fellow members.
Quilty said communication skills are vitally important in the workplace and elsewhere, so honing those skills can pay dividends in many facets of life.
He said one component of every Toastmasters meeting is what’s called ‘Table Topics’ where members are given a random topic on the spot and asked to speak about it for a minute or two.
“It helps develop those skills, being able to speak on your feet on an impromptu basis. It's part of the meeting and they have fun with that and then, of course, you're evaluated on that too, so you're getting this feedback. You're always getting feedback so you’re always finding ways you can improve.”
A teacher, Quilty said Toastmasters has really helped him in the classroom, including making his daily plans more concise.
He said the local club, which is open to anyone 18 and older, has members from all different walks of life who are able to apply lessons learned at Toastmasters to their profession.
Quilty said what impressed him most when he attended his first meeting nine years ago was how well it was run, a skill he said that is useful to a great many people.
He also speaks highly of the leadership opportunities available to members and how taking on those roles develops another set of skills.
Being part of Toastmasters International, which has more than 14,000 clubs worldwide, members have an opportunity to take part in speech contests that see them compete at progressively higher levels.
Quilty said there will be information packages available at the open house or prospective members can visit toastmasters.org to find out more about the club.