Feeling a bit fidgety about making a toast at your friend’s wedding? Are you uncomfortable and nervous while making presentations to work colleagues?
The Riverspeak Toastmasters Club of Sarnia believes it can make you into a calm, cool and collected public speaker thanks to a virtual workshop being offered to the public beginning on May 19.
For the price of $25, which covers workshop materials, those seeking to hone their speaking skills can enrol in the Riverspeak Toastmasters’ Speechcraft workshop. It promises to provide participants with strategies, ideas and hands-on practice to help them gain confidence with public discourse.
Virtual lessons will take place on Zoom with small, supportive groups so that participants will feel no pressure while they work on their speaking skills, said Riverspeak Toastmasters Club’s Speechcraft co-ordinator Najah Shuqair.
“The Speechcraft workshop is a four-week, Toastmasters International course designed for people who want to develop their public speaking skills,” Shuqair said. “Each weekly session is an hour and a half and participants will learn and practice their speech in a friendly and supportive environment, they’ll learn a variety of speaking skills and they’ll learn from a group of experienced speakers.”
Attendees will learn about how to make impromptu remarks, how best to deliver longer prepared speeches and how to engage whatever audience they are speaking to though humour, gestures, body language and other techniques, Shuqair said.
“You learn at your own pace and it’s up to you what you want to do with it,” she said. “This event will help people, for instance, who are currently out of work – they can practice feeling confident speaking in public and it will also help them to answer questions during a job interview. And it will also help people who are working, people that have to give presentations at work – a lot of people involved in Toastmasters here in Sarnia are engineers or businesspeople, who have to speak quite a lot at their jobs.”
The club decided to hold the program during the pandemic to help those in the community who need to find work, as well as for home-bound folk hoping to do some self-improvement during their time away from the office, Shuqair said.
If participants enjoy the workshop enough, Shuqair said, they can put their $25 fee towards purchasing a Toastmasters membership.
Shuqair, who has been involved in Toastmasters since 2014, said the club is welcoming and the benefits of better public speaking are legion.
“My friend kept asking me for four years to join,” she said. “I finally went one day and honestly, it really helped me out, it made me a much better, much more comfortable speaker. The people are so supportive and it has actually made me a better writer too.”
IF YOU GO
What: Riverspeak Toastmasters Club’s virtual Speechcraft workshop
Where: Virtual (Zoom)
When: Wednesdays on May 19, 26 and June 2, 9, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Cost: $25 for workshop materials
How to register: RSVP with club president Jale Fancey at 519-446-2512 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get the Zoom link. For more information, email Najah Shuqair, vice president of education and Speechcraft coordinator at email@example.com.