Toastmasters teaches public speaking skills to students

by Libby Thornton

For Troy university students who stutter and stumble through their presentations, speeches, and interviews, Toastmasters International is here to help. 

“Toastmasters is not designed to be stressful,” said Mithzi Bharucha, a senior economics major from India and an original charter member of the club. “Our meetings are a place for people to calm down and be family. 

“We look to our advisor as our friend, and we can share all our opinions in our speeches, whether they’re controversial or simple.” 

The club introduces multiple ways for members to practice their public speaking skills, including  Table Topics, an exercise where a question is put on the board and members volunteer to answer in front of the group. The level can range from casual and fun to slightly philosophical, a variety that allows students to practice on all levels.

“I found out about the meeting from a tent on the quad,” said Sarah Bai, a graduate student from China, who participated in a Table Topic question even though it was her first meeting. “I love talking to people and sharing my opinions.

“Language is everything. I wanted to find a place to practice and become a better English speaker.” 

After each exercise , a Timer’s Report is given to the speakers. The meetings’ Timer changes, but their responsibility is to complement the speaker on their strengths, and as the name suggests, to time the speaker.  

Each meeting also includes a longer form speech that can be given by any member of the club following a Pathway, which is an outline that guides members through different speech topics and lengths. 

“I’m not the best at public speaking, but since joining I’m not as anxious or overwhelmed as I used to be presenting,” said Erica Kercher, a senior data analyst major from Fairhope, Alabama, and the club’s Sergeant at Arms. 

Toastmasters International meets on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. in John Robert Lewis Hall, and is open to anyone interested in joining. 

For more information on how to get involved, students can find the Toastmasters on Instagram, @toastmasterstroy. 

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