Local Toastmasters speak up for their 40th anniversary

Do you fear public speaking? Do you get all sweaty? Do you get the shakes? Do you grow weak in the knees? Does your stomach start flipping? Does your voice tremble? Can you even get a word out?If so, you’re not alone.Statistics show that three out of every four people suffer from a speech anxiety. A fear of public speaking, or glossophobia, is rated up there with a fear of snakes and death.But for 40 years, Chilliwack Toastmasters has been working to change that.On March 16, Chilliwack Toastmasters is celebrating its 40th anniversary in Chilliwack at Mt. Cheam Lions Club Hall from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.Toastmasters is a worldwide, member-driven organization that helps people improve their communication, public speaking and leadership skills.“It is absolutely amazing what Toastmasters has done for me,” said Bernie Constable who’s been a member for five years.Following a missions trip to Africa, Constable was asked by his church to relay his experience to the congregation“I froze,” he said. “I couldn’t even get my name out of my mouth.”A friend suggested Toastmasters.“Now I love getting in front of people,” he said. “I still get the butterflies, but I’ve learned how to control them and how to use them to help express myself.”Toastmasters meetings are designed in a way that encourages members to perform speeches every week.The 90-minute meetings include a talking tables segment, where members are given two minutes to speak on a topic provided to them at the meeting. There are also tips provided on public speaking, such as making eye contact and eliminating filler words like “uhm” and “ah.” Some members also perform a prepared speech, which is then evaluated with positive feedback as well as recommendations for things to work on.“You get over your fear of public speaking by actually doing it,” said Constable. “A lot of people worry about what the audience is thinking, but we can’t control how they think. We just have to express ourselves openly to the best of our ability.”And that, said Constable, is what Toastmasters teaches.The Toastmasters 40th anniversary celebration is on March 16 at the Lions Club Hall from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. All are welcomed.For more information on Toastmasters visit www.toastmasters.bc.ca.kbartel@theprogress.com -: CLEANED :-

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