One of NC State’s Toastmasters clubs, Centennial Visioneers Club 3980, is teaching students public speaking skills and boosting confidence with every meeting.
Toastmasters International is a non-profit organization that prepares students for life outside of the University by teaching public speaking and communication skills. The organization has over 15,000 clubs with over 300,000 members in 149 countries, two of which are on campus at NC State.
Roger Magarey, the club’s treasurer and a researcher at the center for IPM, said public speaking is what most people fear most, so the Toastmasters club works to make sure members are prepared for public speaking in any situations where it might be needed.
“We aim to give people skills to help them speak at work or in other situations,” Magarey said. “Members can give prepared speeches and get feedback, so when you give the speech at work you have previous feedback and can kill it.”
Along with giving prepared speeches, the club also hosts table topics to sharpen skills in quick thinking and public speaking on the spot.
“They throw out a topic and you have to get up and, without any preparation, you speak on that topic,” Magarey said. “It’s actually quite hard at first, but it teaches skills that you need to master, like thinking on your feet.”
When a student joins the club, he or she has the option to choose a pathway oriented around his or her career path, offering leadership training and projects that will sharpen the necessary skills for that pathway. Ryan Miller, the president of the club and a master’s student in the instructional design certification program, said he is a part of two different pathways himself.
“Toastmasters has around 20 different pathways to choose from depending on what you are interested in,” Miller said. “Our goal is to help new members through the pathways and coach them through it.”
The organization hosts visitors from all over the world for members to meet, and the Centennial Visioneers Club 3980 just celebrated their 20th anniversary.
“It’s a pretty cool way to get in front of people and speak in a way that is safe,” Miller said. “You’re going to get positive feedback and constructive criticism to make sure you can present information confidently, whether that be in an interview, a big meeting or anything like that.”
The club meets every second and fourth Wednesday of the month and is eager to meet new members. If a student is interested in joining, he or she can contact public relations via email or join a meeting via Zoom.