Local Toastmasters celebrate 29 years

Club President, Barbara Keogh joined to gain confidence speaking in public. Her greatest achievement has been overcoming her fear of getting up in front of an audience and can now deliver her message with confidence and quite a bit of humor, especially when talking about her favorite sports team, The Yankees.

Cazenovia Veterinarian, Marco Coronado, has been a long-standing member and serves as group historian. Recently he was scheduled to present at a medical seminar in South America. Prior to leaving for his trip, he practiced his presentation before the group and was provided with feedback. He incorporated some of the suggestions and felt more confident delivering the speech to the medical professionals at the seminar, and the group learned about recent developments in veterinarian medicine.

At the last meeting, new member Greg Wilt delivered his second speech, "Conquering Fear in Your Life." Greg decided to give Toastmasters a try at the urging of his business partner Mario Bottoni, CPA, who has been a member of Empire Statesmen Toastmasters for two and a half years.

"I joined Toastmasters specifically to gain confidence in my public speaking skills. I work as a self-employed CPA and financial planner and I frequently get asked to present lectures on tax and financial planning topics and never had the courage to accept those speaking engagements," Wilt said. "I have only been a member of Toastmasters for two months and now I have the confidence to speak in front of a crowd." Greg pointed out that Toastmasters is also focused on the development of leadership skills and organization, offering workshops and competitions in which a participant can hone their speaking and leadership skills.

One of the more entertaining and useful practices at every meeting is known as "Table Topics." This is an exercise during which members have an opportunity to speak in front of the group at the podium. What makes this more fun is that just prior to being introduced, the speaker has no idea what topic he will be asked to address. "If they don't know much or anything about the topic, they are free to make something up," explained Cal Suarez. "But primarily, they should introduce the topic, give supporting details, and then conclude it. All in the span 1.5 to 2.5 minutes. Any times shorter or longer will disqualify the speaker." A timer prompts the speaker with cards to let her know when she is in the acceptable range. It is an exercise designed to help people think on their feet.

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