National Press Club

TONIGHT: Want to speak like a pro? Come to tonight's 7 p.m. meeting of the Toastmasters group

November 27, 2017 | By Leslie Kingsley |

If you came to hear World Bank President Jim Yong Kim speak at the National Press Club Headliners Luncheon last Monday, you heard a pro deliver a 25-minute message confidently and smoothly, with no obvious use of notes and none of those distracting "ums" and "ahs."

Because I want to speak like a pro, I hone my skills at our twice-monthly Toastmasters meetings. There I am challenged to speak extemporaneously on any subject, familiar or otherwise. Members also have the opportunity to deliver a prepared speech, policy paper, or do a dry run for any other facilitating event. Members work from a variety of manuals to build a variety of skills –- ones that use props and gestures, persuasion, etc. And, of course, we occasionally rehearse an actual toast.

Toastmaster members also have a chance to develop leadership skills that range from facilitating meetings to offering that valuable critical feedback to organizing contests.

If you want to hone your style and speak like a pro, Toastmasters offers a fun and supportive environment for testing your public persona. Meetings are open to Club members and the public. Guests are always welcome, no advance registration required.

The Toastmasters meets the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month; no meeting on Dec. 25.