Nelson Fresh Tracks Toastmasters is celebrating its 20th anniversary by moving to a new location in the old Nelson Daily News building at 266 Baker. So now there is even less reason to avoid your fear of public speaking: you can’t use the excuse that the old location at the Selkirk College Silver King campus is too far away.
“We have had people who did not want to go up there in the winter,” says Toastmasters’ Karen Belland. “The new place is beautiful and it’s a great for us.”
Nelson Fresh Tracks Toastmasters is one of 15,400 Toastmasters International clubs with 332,000 members in 135 countries.
Anyone can attend a Fresh Tracks meeting and just observe. But Belland says it is quite common for first time visitors to surprise themselves by getting up during the table topics competition and expounding on the evening’s chosen topic. In Belland’s case, on her first visit, the table topic was “a favourite summer memory.” She got up and told the group about going on holiday in her parents’ Volkswagen bus, listening to music on 8-track.
Meetings also include several prepared seven to 10 minute speeches that are evaluated based what the speaker did well and areas for improvement.
“Public speaking is a huge fear for many people,” says Belland. “Our group is friendly and open. People always say it is very comfortable and feels safe for them. One member said that being in the group makes him wonder what opportunities he has missed in his life because he did not have the confidence to speak up, even in front of a few people.”
Fresh Tracks Toastmasters meets on the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 7 until 9 p.m.