Taking the first step towards Toastmasters

Juli Martens shares her trepidation at joining Monashee Toastmasters and her joy at finding a place to grow, to learn and to meet people

Juli Martens

Special to The Morning Star

After pondering joining Toastmasters for many years, I decided to finally get up the nerve to give it a try last November.

It is said that public speaking is feared more than death and every ounce of me wanted to stay home. One of my other concerns was the membership dues; however this club’s are quite low at $35 every six months, so it failed to become my reason for procrastinating

The piece of me that wanted to grow pushed me through the doors of the Blue Ox Pub meeting room where Monashee Toastmasters meets every Tuesday at noon. What impressed me the most was the friendly and supportive atmosphere!  Being a perfectionist I was concerned with being criticized for my speaking ability.  But I came to learn that there are many small opportunities during the meetings to practise my speaking skills.  Each week we sign up for roles such as Greeter, Timer, Grammarian, Humourist, Chairperson and more.  During the “Table Topics” segment of the meeting, members are given the opportunity to respond to a question on the spot. A new member might respond in less than 30 seconds but as their confidence grows so does the length of the reply.

Within a few months I completed my first speech, which was the hardest but most exhilarating. The feedback was very positive, yet constructive, and I was motivated to move on to my next speech. The skills we build on are outlined in our manuals but the speech topics themselves are the choice of the speaker.  I am now working on my fourth of 10 primary speeches and will then earn my “Competent Communicator” designation. I am most impressed with how quickly my confidence has grown. This is a huge asset in life, anywhere you go. For me, Toastmasters has become an addiction of sorts although not one I will ever regret. Guests are most welcome and I hope to see you there!

For more information you can contact me at 250-309-7637 and I can tell you more about the benefits of Toastmasters!

Juli Martens is vice-president of membership for Monashee Toastmasters.