Elk County Toastmasters is pleased to welcome its new member, Josh Gorman. He was aware of Toastmasters International but did not realize that a club existed in his own community.
He discovered the local group through an Internet search and was quick to join. An engineer by trade, some of Gorman’s friends suggested that he put his talents to use in other activities as well, perhaps in lecturing or politics.
“I’m pretty good at one-on-one debates, but public speaking is not one of my strong points. I’m actually terrified of it,” he shared. “But I have never been one to stay in my comfort zone, so I decided to give Toastmasters a try.”
Elk County Toastmasters soon got Gorman on his feet to speak by participating in Table Topics – a Toastmasters tradition that provides an opportunity to practice impromptu speaking skills.
The Table Topics master chooses three members to respond to questions with a one to two-minute response. The audience votes on the winner who becomes the Table Topics Master for the next meeting.
The purpose of the exercise is to develop the ability to organize your thoughts quickly and communicate them with clarity – a skill that is valuable in many real-life situations.
“Was I nervous? You bet! I felt like a deer in the headlights. But if you want to improve your speaking abilities, you just have to dive in and swim for it. I realize I need a lot of practice to become a good public speaker, but I am sure Toastmasters will get me there,” Gorman explained with good humor.
Toastmasters International is a U.S.-headquartered non-profit educational organization that operates clubs worldwide for the purpose of helping members improve their communication, public speaking and leadership skills. Founded in 1924, the organization now serves more than 352,000 members in 141 countries.
Elk County Toastmasters holds meetings on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at the Shiloh Presbyterian Church Annex on Washington Street in St. Marys at 7 p.m. Visitors are always welcome. Their diverse membership has included individuals from Elk, Clearfield and Cameron counties.