Mar 31, 2009

Addressing the crowd: toastmasters seeks liberty chapter

by Josh Swanson

 While some people may think a Toastmasters club might have something to do with French toast, bagel creations or how to avoid burning something in a toaster, that is not the case. Toastmasters International is a group whose goal is to provide a supportive and positive learning environment, so that its members can practice their communications skills and build self- confidence.

Everyone at some point during their college and professional career has to make a speech in front of a group of people. Public speaking is the number one fear in America according to The Wall Street Journal.
Shaun Skow is the area governor of the Toastmasters organization and this past Thursday he led an introductory meeting for the possibility of a Toastmasters club at Liberty. The club will meet either weekly or bi-weekly for an hour or two to develop and practice communication and leadership skills according to Skow.

Skow said that students and faculty are eligible for the Toastmasters if they have a desire to grow in those areas.

“New members pay a one time $20 fee for their materials. Aside from that, there is only the requirement to pay $27 for membership dues every six months. Attending a Toastmaster meeting as a guest is free,” Skow said.

Malcolm Miles spoke after Skow made opening remarks. He said that he signed up for Toastmasters three different times because of his failure at public speaking.

“Don’t let failure pave your way to speaking . . .come to Toastmasters where we can come help you deal with failure,” Miles said.

After Miles spoke, the table topics part of the meeting began. This is where several ideas for an impromptu speech are given, and one of the topics was what to do on a Friday night in Lynchburg.

Following Miles, Clair Smith, a freshman majoring in family and childhood development, went to the front of the room and made a speech on what she and her friends like to do.

“Every Friday night, we call it the restaurant tour of Lynchburg . . . you cant go wrong on a Friday night with going to White Hart, Texas Inn and Macado’s,” she said.

After Smith spoke, David Kacinski, a freshman majoring in engineering spoke about what his dream job would be. He heard about the Toastmasters meeting through a teacher. “This is a good place to mess up so you don’t do it when it matters,” he said.

While it is not yet official that Liberty will have a Toastmasters club, student interest and consent from the proper authorities will get the club going at Liberty according to Skow.

“During the early 1900s the word ‘toastmaster’ referred to a person who proposed the toasts and introduced the speakers at a banquet. The originator of the club, Ralph C. Smedley, named his group ‘The Toastmasters Club’ in 1924 because he thought it suggested a pleasant, social atmosphere appealing to young men,” said Skow.
For more information on Toastmasters, look for announcements regarding a future meeting on the splash page or send an email to Skow at Visit for additional information on Toastmasters.

Contact Josh Swanson at


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