RANCHO SANTA FE — On Jan. 20, the day that President Obama delivered his inaugural speech and demonstrated to the world the power and importance of good speaking skills, the Rancho Santa Fe Community Center sponsored the inaugural meeting of a new Toastmasters Club, helping those who wish to hone their speaking and leadership skills.
Under the guidance of Erin Leahey, director of development at the Rancho Santa Fe Community Center, and with support from surrounding chartered Toastmasters Clubs, the first meeting kicked off with a sampling of what will be expected every week. Holly Kinnear, a Distinguished Toastmaster from a club in Del Mar, presented an “Ice Breaker” speech, typical of a first speech given by a new member. Only five minutes long, the speech shares information about the speaker and what they hope to accomplish in their Toastmaster journey.
Dorothy Mann, a Toastmaster from a club in Solana Beach, presented “Table Topics,” whereby she asked questions and selected members were given one minute to stand and speak extemporaneously on the subject.
“If you’re looking for a club where you can sit back and not participate – this is not a club for you,” David Bernardin, a Distinguished Toastmaster from Chula Vista, said to prospects. He explained that each week members take turns fulfilling various roles, including speaking, evaluating, timing the speeches, asking Table Topics, and even counting the ballots and announcing the “Best Speaker” of the evening.
The new club needs 20 members to charter and a typical club needs 25 members to remain active and vital. Toastmasters offer programs to help both speaking and leadership skills. Members looking to hone their presentation skills for work or to prepare for an upcoming speech at a wedding will find programs available to them.
The next meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 3 at the Rancho Santa Fe Community Center. To be a member you must be 18 years of age and either live or work in Rancho Santa Fe. For more information or to join, contact Morgan Whalen, vice president of membership, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (858) 756-2461.
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