Try Toastmasters at lunch

An opportunity to learn public speaking can be slotted into your lunch break, with Toastmasters keen to get numbers up at their Orewa Lunchtime club.

Club coach Philip Wrigley says the Orewa Lunchtime Toastmasters was a corporate club for the former Rodney District Council, but it fell on hard times after the councils amalgamated. It re-launched as a community club around 18 months ago and currently has eight members.

Philip, who is charged with more than doubling those numbers by the middle of next year, says this is the only local Toastmasters to have daytime meetings, which can suit a lot of local business people or retirees. The meetings are also half the length of the evening meetings.

“Some of the members come up from the North Shore, but what we are really after is more local members who can use the club for business networking and social connections as well as professional development,” he says.

Toastmasters builds confidence in public speaking but Philip says when you first start, you are not expected to give a speech. “You start as a guest and initially learn from seeing what others are doing,” he says. “A manual is provided to help you with your first few speeches, if you join and everyone gets to talk about themselves for the first speech to make things easier.”

Philip says that Toastmasters is also modernising its educational programme with more online material to replace printed manuals starting next year.

Increasingly, paper notes to jog your memory as you speak will be replaced by notes on a tablet or smartphone.
However, Philip says that thinking on your feet and inter-personal communication will always be at the core of Toastmasters.

“As much as learning and gaining skills it is about helping other people to do the same. The appeal is that so many roles involve speaking to groups and telling a good story is a skill that almost everybody needs these days.”

Orewa Lunchtime Toastmasters meets at St Chad’s Church Hall, 117 Centreway Road, Orewa from 12 noon until 1pm. Anyone over the age of 18 can join.

Info: contact club president Sonley Johnstone, email or phone 428 2424.