When most people think of Toastmasters, they picture people getting up and giving speeches in front of a small group—and this is true. But it is just a part of our meetings.
Another part is being able to meet people from various walks of life and developing friendships. To illustrate this: We have members who are self-employed photographers, bank administrators, people in the insurance/retirement planning industry, technologists, barbers, secretaries, housewives. These are people from all walks of life getting together to develop their ability to better communicate their ideas and opinions.
To aid in this, the various clubs take turns meeting with other Toastmaster clubs to stretch themselves and make more new friends. Baer Field Toastmasters also took a field trip to the History Center in August to listen to a noted astronomy speaker, Marvin Bolt.
We also have fun… In August, we held a picnic and invited our spouses to get a taste of what our meetings are like. In October, we held an auction with members bringing in new or gently used items to sell. This January, we will be celebrating our 25th Anniversary with a banquet.
As for speeches—they vary anywhere from talks on World War II to how to use computer programs to improve or refurbish old pictures to telling up-dated fairy tales to giving a toast for a particular occasion. Some speeches make you laugh—some make you cry, but all work together to improve your ability to communicate verbally.
To further stretch us, there are several competitions that go statewide and even international if we wish to participate. This fall, we had a Humorous Speech Contest, the local winner of which had the chance to participate at the district level in Louisville, KY.
This spring we will have two contests. One is an Evaluation Contest. You see, a part of giving speeches is learning how to improve our writing and delivery. Each speech is evaluated—not critiqued. Our purpose is to grow a person—not tear them down!
The other contest is called an International Speech Contest. These are speeches with themes of general interest to motivate or inspire. The winners locally could end up speaking at our International Conference.
So you see, we truly are MORE THAN SPEECHES. We at Baer Field Toastmasters are also about making new friends, learning to communicate better, and being exposed to more professional speakers—or simply said—WE ARE ABOUT GROWTH!