Chance to speak up

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Public speaking comes naturally to some, while for others it can be absolutely terrifying.
If you are in the latter camp, help is at hand thanks to an Oamaru woman who plans to establish a Toastmasters group in Oamaru.
Toastmasters is an international organisation that focuses on providing a platform for people who want to develop their public speaking skills.
There are hundreds of Toastmasters clubs around the world, and several well-established groups in New Zealand.
Oamaru has been without a club for about a decade, which Jolin Liou, the driving force behind the formation of a Toastmasters club in town, wanted to change.
“There’s no club here so I was quite keen to start one. The meeting we had on Wednesday was really to show how a Toastmasters meeting is run; it’s actually quite structured.”She said 20 to 30 people attended the meeting at Waitaki Girls’ High School.
Some of those were from the Dunedin Toastmasters group, who made the trip to Oamaru to help run the meeting.
The meeting featured both prepared and impromptu speeches, which were timed and evaluated.
Ms Liou said the impromptu speeches included people’s impressions of Toastmasters, new products bought recently and why, and if it was hard to teach an old dog new tricks.
As a result of the meeting, she had received six applications from people in Oamaru who confirmed they wanted to join the club.
Ms Liou encouraged people to get involved, and said there were several reasons why they should.
“I think it’s a really good thing for everybody. Obviously, having good communication skills is a great skill and very important to have in life. Public speaking is one of the major fears in life for a lot of people. We give people the chance to practise that skill in a comfortable and fun environment, and let them share their stories with other people.”The club also helped develop leadership skills and self-confidence, she said.
“Many leaders and politicians around the world have all done Toastmasters before … It’s quite a well-known phenomenon in the public speaking field.”It is likely another meeting, at this stage unconfirmed, will be held at Waitaki Girls’ next week.