The Brick Street Toastmasters will celebrate their fifth anniversary Aug. 1.
Toastmasters is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills. The club meets every Thursday on Zoom and in person from 7 to 8 p.m. at Zionsville Town Hall, 1100 W. Oak St.
The Zionsville club was started in 2018 by Cindy Garloch and Travis Dennison.
Myra Levine, the organization’s vice president of education, said many people join the group because they need better communication skills to advance their careers.
“Toastmasters is a friendly place to get support and constructive feedback,” Levine said. “We learn to give feedback to others, which helps us improve our skills.”
The organization is a good place for people who may have avoided social events because they were uncomfortable talking to others, according to Levine. The club is for people with social anxiety or who struggle to present work projects.
The weekly meetings include table topics where members can practice impromptu speaking. There are one to two prepared speeches each week.
“The table topics are one of my favorite parts of the meeting because it prepares you to talk to people when you don’t have time to prepare a speech or time to come up with an answer to a question,” Levine said.
Levine said the club has grown and had a steady stream of new members each week the last five years.
“We will not be doing a big event for our anniversary, and we tend to welcome new people to each meeting so they can see what an ordinary meeting is like,” Levine said. “It is a more organic way to welcome new members.”
Members must be 18 or older to join the Zionsville club. There is a new member fee of $20, and recurring members pay $45 every six months.
“If my parents had pushed me to join an organization like ours at a young age, I would have been terrified,” Levine said. “There are certain groups within Toastmasters International for younger kids, but we like to target adults or those starting a career.”
According to Levine, Toastmasters is a great way to get over the fear of public speaking and use the resources and phrases learned at the meetings to be more comfortable in a work environment.
“I never felt like I was afraid to speak publicly, but my hands would shake at my first meetings every time I had to stand up and talk,” Levine said. “Eventually, without even realizing it, my hands stopped shaking, and the feedback I received was beneficial and made me want to come back.”
For more information about Brick Street Toastmasters, visit toastmasters.org/Find-a-Club/07080054-07080054.