Member Raves

Toastmasters and the Transition to Professional Speaker

“The structure of Ballard Toastmasters in Seattle and the expertise of this group combine to make for a fabulous experience in learning what I thought would be a complicated skill – and for so little money. When I walked through the door a couple of months ago, I was a roughshod speaker. Already I’ve taken steps to be more comfortable and competent. In six months’ time, I’m confident that I’ll be prepared for my book’s speaking tour.”

– Dean Adams (UW Press published author)


By:  Conor MacEvilly, Member

Speaker fright

Speaker fright

Two years ago I joined the Tuesday 7am (yup, in the morning) Ballard Toastmasters club and have been going ever since. This has been one of the few new year’s resolutions that I have (1) actually started and (2) actually stuck with.

As with most mere mortals, the mere thought of having to give a speech in public results in immediate sweating, light-headedness and grasping for excuses as to why this pursuit should be avoided at all costs. But sometimes, you have no choice…..

I remember the first time I was forced to give a speech way back when I was a biochemist working on my thesis in London. That was in the days before Power Point and we had to use low-tech transparencies and over-head projectors. I was presenting at a medical school with an audience full of high profile medical practitioners, all with super-power brains.

To say I was nervous would be an understatement. My hands were sweaty as I placed the first transparency on the hot projector. As I drew my hand back, there up on wall, was a giant version of my sweaty hand, superimposed on some graphs. Over the course of about 20 seconds, my giant virtual hand slowly shrank, evaporated and eventually disappeared under the heat of the lamp. THE longest 20 seconds of my young life! Yes, it was just like that airline commercial “Wanna get away?”.

So, my fellow early morning Ballardites, if you would like to slay your public-speaking-fear dragon or would like to improve your current skills, just drop in any Tuesday morning at 7am at Ballard Baptist Church at 2004 NW 63rd Street in Ballard (entrance at north side of building, no “religious” connection with building, just renting the room). Also, we are having an open house on Tuesday January 10th 2012 if you would like to see how Toastmasters works. Don’t worry, you won’t be dragged up to speak, can just sit and watch.

Testimonial: Lathrop Douglass, Member

Speaker happiness

Speaker happiness

I started out in Ballard Speakeasy feeling real paranoid about getting up in front of a group of people and talking for one minute…not to mention 5, 7 or 10 minutes! The “butterflies” were swirling like crazy. I’m also easily distracted when listening to others. But upon joining Ballard Speakeasy and following the program’s guidelines, my speaking abilities have really improved. I have experienced such positive and sensitive support from my fellow club members, that I quickly learned to control my fears, better organize my thoughts, and speak to a group of people with way more confidence and poise than before. I’m managing to listen with more focus and improving still. Another benefit is that I’m becoming more socially confident.

Ballard Speakeasy is truly a fantastic value. I love the people. We share similar challenges, goals, ‘stumblings’ as well as personal successes! We carefully listen to each other and provide each other with suggestions that really help us learn. The Ballard Speakeasy experience is tops! It’s educational, it’s challenging and rewarding.

It really works!