“What we call our destiny is truly our character and that character can be altered. The knowledge that we are responsible for our actions and attitudes does not need to be discouraging, because it also means that we are free to change this destiny.” – Anaïs Nin
Have you ever been put in a position where you have to speak in front of a large group of people? Does your heart beat quickly, do your palms begin to sweat? If you’re like most people and the idea of public speaking makes you nervous or anxious, there’s a local North Country group that will surely help you with that.
The organization is called North Country Toastmasters, and North Country Local had the opportunity to sit down with Club President, Dayna Flumerfelt.
North Country Toastmaster’s 7 year anniversary is coming up on March 22nd of this year, and Dayna initially joined in 2012, becoming President in 2015. She joined Toastmasters because she heard about it and was intrigued; public speaking has always been “moderately terrifying” for Dayna, and whenever she’s seen someone giving a workshop or conference, she’s always had this feeling of “I wish I could do that.” As she’s gained confidence from Toastmasters, she realized that she does have a message, wanting to help people build their leadership skills, helping people with whatever they need motivation for. Communication skills are “not only for public speaking, but help with most other aspects of your life.”
According to the Toastmasters International Website, “Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs.” And essentially that’s what North Country Toastmasters is all about as well. Club President Dayna Flumerfelt defines the club as being “focused on public speaking and communication skills, along with building leadership skills and qualities.”
The Club offers the chance for people of all skill levels and abilities to come together in a supportive group in order to receive positive feedback from other Toastmasters. Not only is it actually like having a coach to help you with these skills, it’s like having an entire room full!
“We meet regularly and work on our own outside-of-the-club meetings to develop our own skills. It’s a mutually-supportive environment where we’re all learning from each other and keeping each other motivated,” Dayna says. The Club doesn’t require much of a commitment, either, though you can certainly put in as much effort as you want, in order to get out of the experience as much as you need. “The Club meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month, meeting at Bailiwicks on Main in Littleton for our club meetings. However, there are events beyond the club level, at the area level and the district level, where there are competitions and speech contests.”
Who’s the ideal Toastmasters candidate? Dayna share with us: “Really, anyone 18 or older that’s interested in working on leadership and communication skills. Anyone can benefit from communication skills, no matter how advanced you are, there’s always something to learn. Communication is something that we not only do in our professional roles and in our careers, but we communicate with our families, with our clients, with our friends. Anyone looking to improve those skills and abilities is a candidate. Anyone who has a management role or anyone looking to advance their professional career can benefit from learning about interview skills, being able to think on your feet. On the leadership front you learn a lot about organization, motivating your team, delegating tasks. It’s pretty widespread as to who it could be for.”
The cost is $45 for a 6 month membership, and as a new member there’s a one-time fee of $20, covering the cost of the first two manuals that you work from.
The structure of Toastmasters is set up to work at your own pace, within your own skill level. It’s important for anyone interested in learning more about Toastmasters is that you’ll get out of it what you put in. You can let it take over all your free time or you can just show up, participate at your own pace, and get positive feedback from other club members. There’s no pressure to take on more than you can handle...it’s really self-driven.”
There’s always room for improvement in our personal and professional lives, and it’s great that we have a fantastic option like North Country Toastmasters in our neck of the woods. They meet next on Thursday, March 9th, and again on Thursday, March 22nd, from 6 PM to 7:30 PM. If you’re interested in attending a meeting, just show up to Bailiwicks on Main in Littleton, reach out to them on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/northcountryTM or email their VP of Membership at Jill Kimball at firstname.lastname@example.org! Find their website at northcountrynh.toastmastersclubs.org!