Presenting a topic before a group of people can feel like a daunting task. That’s where Toastmasters International steps in. It’s a non-profit organization founded in 1924 that has helped thousands worldwide build speaking and leadership skills.
There are a handful of toastmasters clubs in Puyallup, including Talk of the Town, based at Puyallup City Hall. It meets from 12:05 to 1 p.m. each Wednesday in conference room 504.
Club members will celebrate Toastmasters Week through Saturday. The Talk of the Town club will host an open house during its regular timeframe on Feb. 12.
“Our open house will showcase a demo meeting,” said club treasurer Ellen Mak, who is employed as a human resources manager for the City of Puyallup.
The event will incorporate the three main elements from every Toastmasters meeting: formal speaking, impromptu speaking and evaluations of formal speeches.
District Gov. Sherrie Kenyon will visit next week and give a speech, and one other Talk of the Town member will speak.
Kenyon represents District 32, which encompasses southern parts of King County down to Chehalis and Centralia in Lewis County, and all of the Olympic Peninsula up to Port Angeles. The district represents 65 clubs, including Talk of the Town.
Mak, who joined Talk of the Town in March 2012, said the club is open to the public and strives “to provide a mutually supportive, positive learning environment.”
“Communication is not just presenting before other people but also developing a discerning ear to conduct constructive evaluations,” Mak said.
She said a huge part of Toastmasters is when members learn how to evaluate the performances of their peers.
“Learning how to give evaluations in Toastmasters has helped some managers give better performance evaluations of their employees,” Mak said.
She added she enjoys watching others in the group grow.
“For me, personally, it gives me the opportunity to try speaking on different topics, and I like it for the camaraderie,” she said. “The whole idea of being a supportive environment could not be more truthful.”Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.