Toastmasters: More than just public speaking

Toastmasters International is known for helping people become better public speakers, but did you know the organization’s activities can help you develop other professional skills?
Misako Yoke from Tumwater Talkers, a local organization of Toastmaster’s International was one of several members of the group who gave a presentation at the ICSEW’s general membership meeting in March. Yoke told her personal story of how mentors with the organization helped her “punch fear in the face,” when it comes to public speaking. Other members of the group highlighted professional skills they acquired from participating in the group, such as confidence-building, time management and thinking quickly and critically.
Members of the group meet Thursdays from 12:05 p.m. to 12:55 p.m. in room S-216 at the Department of Labor and Industries Building on Linderson Way in Tumwater. Membership is open to everyone. Fees may vary from club to club. Tumwater Talkers has a membership fee of $54 every six months and new members pay a one-time $20 fee, according to their website. State employees may be able to get their agency to pay for the fee. Contact your supervisor and training development unit of your agency to find out if you are eligible.
Toastmasters members say participating in the organization often helps people succeed in lots of professional situations, such as giving presentations, pitching ideas to clients or your boss, acing job interviews, giving evaluations and simply becoming more confident at social functions. Members are also paired with a mentor to help them with activities.
By regularly giving speeches, gaining feedback, leading teams and guiding others to achieve their goals in a supportive atmosphere, Toastmasters participants often emerge as leaders, members say.
Toastmasters International has more than 332,000 members in 142 countries. To find a club near you, visit