Wednesday, October 01, 2014
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Improve your confidence and speech, Toastmasters offers Lincoln opportunity

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[October 01, 2014]  LINCOLN - Toastmasters International wants to make you a better speaker, someone who feels confident in giving a well crafted speech.

Mike Starasta, a librarian at the McKinstry Library at Lincoln College, wants to bring this opportunity to Lincoln by forming a local Toastmasters club at Lincoln College. It will be open to everyone in the community.

Mike and his wife Leslie were members of the Springfield Toastmasters before moving to Lincoln in 2008. Mike speaks highly of the organization.

Toastmasters International was formed in 1924 and currently has over 300,000 members in 126 countries.

In order to form a club in Lincoln, Starasta needs to recruit a minimum of twenty people to become members. A onetime initiation fee of $25 is required along with dues of $36 every six months. Once the required number of members is met to form the local club, application is made to Toastmasters International headquarters in California. An area club then would be assigned to help start the Lincoln chapter.

Toastmasters meet weekly with Lincoln College providing the space for the local club. The members would decide when to meet, either over the noon hour or in the evening, depending on busy schedules.

Each meeting starts with a word of the day, and members are recognized if they use it in an extemporaneous speech, called “table topics.” Each member has two minutes to craft a speech on current news, community events, or personal experiences.

The next levels of speeches are more formal. Each member starts out at the beginning level known as a “competent communicator.” Members receive a manual from Toastmasters that guides them on how to craft ten different types of speeches such as humorous or persuasive. Once these are mastered, then one can move up to the “advanced communicator” level, and finally to the “distinguished toastmaster.” Guidance is provided for each level.

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Mike Starasta points out that the feedback to speeches is very non-judgmental and always polite. A person is encouraged to develop speaking skills at their own pace, but Toastmasters provides the path to improve speaking ability, a path to self-confidence and organizational skills when writing and presenting a speech.

Mike speaks highly of the Toastmasters’ method. “I saw people in our Springfield club go from shy to confident speakers, and I developed many new friends in the club. It was a great experience,” he said.

If you are interested in forming a Lincoln Toastmasters club, contact Mike Starasta at the McKinstry Library on the Lincoln College campus. His phone number is 217-732-3155 extension 7290.

Visit the website for the international organization

[Curt Fox]


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