A group of Yellowknifers is working to set up a new Toastmasters club in the capital, giving residents a space to practise speaking in public.
Toastmasters is a social club where members are able to practise their presenting, leadership, and communication skills. Meetings consist of participants making prepared or impromptu speeches and receiving feedback from the group. There are Toastmasters clubs across the globe, with the international headquarters in Colorado.
Heather Love is a part of the team looking to start a club in Yellowknife. She first joined Toastmasters in university to help with presenting in front of peers.
“I felt it was really helpful to continue that path of keeping in practice but, beyond that, I’ve developed a lot of leadership skills,” she said.
“I’ve just really enjoyed watching the growth of other people. It’s a chance to say what you mean to in a credible way. I think we as a whole community can do much better if we all have a fair platform and the skills to speak.”
Love recently moved to Yellowknife from Nelson, BC. She hopes a Toastmasters club will serve as an opportunity to get to know other residents.
“It’s an excellent opportunity for networking,” she said. “I really appreciate getting to know the community and being able to hear their stories through their speeches.”
Fellow group member and new Yellowknifer Camille Blake-McDonald shares Love’s enthusiasm.
“Being a newcomer, I want to be able to meet the persons who share similar interests,” Blake-McDonald said.
“I want to have that comfortable setting and support to be able to practise my speeches or practise these skills, and to help build a better community.”
Yellowknife previously had a Toastmasters club, but that club appears to have been inactive since 2015. Love said the new club would be a separate endeavour.
There are currently seven members registered. The group needs 20 to be able to charter.
Those interested in joining can email Blake-McDonald for information about meetings and membership. The club plans to meet on the first and third Tuesday of each month, according to Love.
Blake-McDonald encouraged Yellowknifers to give Toastmasters a try.
“You will, some time in your life, be the one to do a speech,” she said, “or even chat in person socially to someone, and sometimes nerves get in the way. This is a fun setting to help you to work on those communication skills.
“I do believe, wherever you are, that Toastmasters is very valuable.”