Raising a toast and their confidence: Butler Toastmasters

Butler Toastmasters members Peter Harrison, Helen Axton, Laura Vivien Brandt, Almarie Meyer and Suzanne Clanton at the club’s first meeting.
Butler Toastmasters members Peter Harrison, Helen Axton, Laura Vivien Brandt, Almarie Meyer and Suzanne Clanton at the club’s first meeting.

A GROUP of people keen to develop public speaking skills started holding meetings in Butler this month.

Butler Toastmasters held its first meeting on November 9 at the Butler Community Centre, and president Almarie Meyer said it was a successful start with a dozen attendees.

“Ian Pickens, the district director for WA was there to open the meeting and shared the three secrets of Toastmasters with us – leadership, confidence and listening,” she said.

“We had speakers, evaluators and table topics (short impromptu speeches) in a way that was fun and educational.

Mrs Meyer said for example, once people became aware of filler words they used when speaking, they could start to eliminate them.

“The right body language to use to appear more confident was also discussed and demonstrated,” she said.

“The meeting ended with a question and answer session before we finished with some refreshments where attendees could get to know each other through networking and casual conversation.”

Sponsored by Currambine Toastmasters, the Butler group is part of Toastmasters International, a non-profit organisation that teaches communication and leadership skills.

“Members meet in a safe environment to practise speaking in public and receive feedback on how they can improve,” Mrs Meyer said.

“It is a self-paced program where no one is forced to progress to the next level before they are ready.

“Many toastmasters go on to become professional public speakers while others are content to be able to speak up in meetings at work or to learn how to persuade their teenagers to clean up their rooms.

“Members will learn how to create structured speeches, use body language, vocal variety and movement.

“The first 10 projects go from novice speaker to a confident speaker who can use persuasive and motivational speaking techniques.

“Members also learn leadership skills such as delegation, mentoring, planning, time management, facilitation and constructive feedback techniques.

“Every meeting also has a section where impromptu speaking is practised as members have to learn how to think on their feet – this is handy in occasion from job interviews through to question time in parliament.”

The Butler club will meet every second and fourth Monday from 7pm-9pm at the Butler Community Centre, with the next meeting on November 23.

Membership is open to all adults and guests can attend meetings at no cost.

For more call 0438 949 720.