Club Spotlight: Washington Park Toastmasters


“Our club is unique because our people are unique. Let me explain this in more detail. Most often you find clubs where the agenda is planned, people are in place, but at times things happen where there has to be some adjustments. Our members take the lead and aren’t afraid to adjust at the very last minute. We are strong, vibrant and welcoming to all who visit. We are a people that believe in morals, values and bringing out the very best of others. Creating that light airy, fun, inviting culture is what we strive to enhance even the club more. This wouldn’t happen unless we have those unique people who are crucial to the weaving of this club. We are better together!” – My’chal Wilkins

“My experience my about the club is interesting and fascinating because of the following:

  1. I am always welcomed regardless of how much time I take off from club activities.  Sometimes, I receive emails from club members inquiring if I am doing fine.
  2. My personal coach is always available to guide me with Toastmaster topics and materials. 
  3. I am inspired by some individuals who have perfected their communication skills but still keep coming to the club.
  4. I am also amazed by the generosity of Audible to allow us to share the food intended for their staff.” – Seku Sannor

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Are You Suffering from Butterfly Effect?

You have been preparing for your speech for days. You rehearsed it many times over your head and you have been waiting for this moment, yet when the Toastmaster announces your name, all of sudden you feel gazillion butterflies swarming in your stomach making you very uncomfortable. You look around nervously. Out of nowhere, you have sweaty palms, your hands are shaking, your heart beats faster than normal, your mouth feels dry, and no word comes out of your mouth when you try to speak. All you want is to run away.

Does this sound familiar to you? I hope not.

However, if you are one of those people who gets nervous before presenting a speech and are suffering from the “butterfly effect,” there are things you can do to calm yourself before you begin to speak. Over time, I have gathered steps from many sources to help calm me when presenting a speech. I am going to share them with you.

Keep in mind sometimes nervous energy can be a good thing because it can be converted into an enthusiastic speech. Therefore, having a little bit of the butterfly effect helps you be more prepared and focused. On the other hand, if the butterfly effect stands in a way of your performance, you can try the steps to calm yourself before speaking.

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Toasting to the Leadership Journey

Featuring Elizabeth Mancuso CC, ALB

The Toastmasters education program is an amazing opportunity to develop into an effective leader and communicator. I sensed this as a guest and joined Red Bank Toastmasters to work on those skills. At first, my goal was to give my Ice Breaker speech and keep on giving speeches until I finished the CC manual. To this day, I believe my Ice Breaker speech was the hardest because of how nervous I felt as a new member in the front of the room. I didn’t think too much about the projects in the CL manual, however my mentor was the VPE and she made sure I was also signing up for leadership roles. After a while, I started taking on roles, like “Mentor a New Member” and “Help Organize a Club Speech Contest”, that expanded my Toastmasters

Congratulating Red Bank Toastmasters member, John Connors on receiving his DTM

horizon. Soon I shifted my focus from participating at meetings to further my own journey to helping others work on their journey. Taking leadership roles gave me an opportunity to better know our members and understand how the club works. Eventually, I was asked to be a Mentor Coordinator, and I gladly accepted the challenge of supporting members on an ongoing basis.

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Mentoring and It’s Benefits

Many new member feel the need for assistance in navigating how the process works and would like help with preparing for their first speech. By partnering an existing member with a newer member to provide support, the mentoring program addresses this need.

At Midtown Toastmasters, a specially curated position of VP Mentorship was created. The VP developed a club Mentoring Program to provide insight and support to all members.  The program partners new and existing members with a veteran member, who helps with preparation of the new member’s first speech or meeting role, navigation of Toastmasters education and leadership opportunities, input on assignments, and anything else the new member may need help with.

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How To Choose A Toastmasters Club

Set Your Goal

Toastmasters can benefit you in many ways. It helps if you know what you want to achieve, and why.

Try to refine your goal down to one sentence, including why you want to achieve it. For example:

“I want to improve my presentation skills so I can communicate efficiently and effectively with my clients and co-workers during meetings.”

Once you know your goal you’ll need to find people and opportunities that will help you.

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Get Ready for the Holly Jolly Holiday Speech!

Don’t give a speech that makes Santa fall asleep!

Holidays are right around the corner. Holiday parties, corporate gatherings, and family events provide an opportunity for you to meet new people and reconnect with old acquaintances. These events are opportunities to put your best foot forward by presenting your ideas and making an impact on your audience.

We are all not born with the gift of confident public speaking but it is an art which we can master. Here are a few tricks to nudge you in the right direction toward public speaking.

1. Join a Toastmasters Club today. Toastmasters provides an informal platform to practice your speech and improve speech delivery, intonation, and presentation styles. This will be helpful in adopting a positive and confident approach to the speech and overcome public speaking anxieties.

2. Overcome stage fright and anxiety by visualizing your speech and the audience. Focus on a friendly face in the audience and draw confidence from positive acknowledgement in the audience. Before delivering your speech, try relaxing breathing exercises, which can be done anywhere, anytime you feel stressed.

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Bryan Shares His Toastmasters Experience

About a year ago a colleague gave advice while I typed notes on my cellphone as fast as I could, “Join Toastmasters.”

That day I made a digital note and a mental commitment. The next week, at 7:00 pm, I walked into a classroom at the Raritan Valley Community College building in Somerville and sat down in my first Toastmasters meeting. I wanted to improve my communication skills. I wanted to get better at public speaking.

I’ve gone to almost every meeting since and I’m working on my fifth speech now. With every speech, I’ve gained more confidence and become more relaxed. Yet for me, it’s been the incredible people that I’ve met along the way that have made the experience.

There’s been inspiration. It never ceases to amaze me how calm and confident Toastmasters can be. It doesn’t matter how many strangers are in the crowd or what topic they’ve chosen that evening. I can only describe the way they choose their words, vary their tone, and gesture, as craftsmanship. Even when given about the most wrenching topics.

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Club Spotlight: Power Talkers Club Toastmasters

Name: Power Talkers Club

Chartered: October 1, 1994

Since joining the Power Talkers Toastmaster’s Club about a year ago, I have increased my confidence level while speaking in front of the public and large groups. I feel I am more relaxed and comfortable while speaking and more conscious of what I am saying and how I am saying it. I don’t feel as anxious or nervous before I say a few words.

I have improved my speaking ability, such as the use of filler words, and it shows in my performance at work on the council or at special events. Toastmasters has also helped me to improve both my listening and writing skills, and I have also made new friendships along the way so the networking is a side benefit!

Some people have asked me, “Why are you doing that? You are so busy! You have enough to do! You are already a good speaker.” My response is, “No, there is always room for improvement, the Club helps me. Toastmasters is Fun! You should join!”

These days, verbal communications is becoming obsolete. People rely on their personal communication devices to do that for them. Effective speaking is a huge asset!- Alison Deeb

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Meet the Area Directors: Michelle Campbell

Name: Michelle M. Campbell

Position: Area Director, District 83, Area Director 71

Club(s): Gold Coast Advanced Toastmasters

Other positions: Secretary and Sergeant at Arms

How long have you been in Toastmasters? 14 years

What are your plans for the district/area/division?
I want to help my clubs and their members to be the best they can be. During the 2017-2018 year my goals are:
          1. Visit all my assigned clubs at least twice
          2. Have at least one club on the path to Distinguished Club
          3. Get coaching access for my clubs that needs coaching

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