You’ve probably heard the oft-stated “fact” that people fear public speaking more than death. That may or may not be true, but whether you want to learn to speak professionally or gain tips to articulate on any topic, Toastmasters can help.
In May, the St. Pete Beach branch of the nationally recognized club resumed live meetings on at the Suntan Art Center on St. Pete Beach, while also continuing the Zoom format started in the pandemic.
“Every week someone different is the toastmaster and their job is to come up with the theme of the club that week,” Michael Carraba said. “It’s really just a way of describing a mood for the evening.”
Speakers choose topics, formulate their speech for a given time frame – all with an attentive audience.
Each speaker is evaluated on their quality of speech, language and grammar. The “Ah” counter notes each filler word – a no-no for precise speech.
Carraba was introduced to the St. Pete Beach Toastmasters by his friend Monica Cordrey. He attended a meeting on March 19, 2020 via zoom. Despite living in D.C., Carraba is an active member of the local Toastmasters.
Although he is excited in-person meetings have resumed, Carraba says he’s grateful they will also still be live streamed.
“I think it’s great because it gives the chance for people to just reestablish their own comfort level…There’s a different energy live, but the virtual meeting was a great way to keep it going and we’re one of the few clubs – we actually expanded our membership during virtual meetings. We have members all across the country now.”
Carraba said members participate from as far away as Massachusetts, Arizona and Canada.
“It’s not just learning to speak,” said Carraba, “it’s learning to listen.”
For more on the group, visit stpetebeachtoastmasters.com.