Many readers and people who hang out at libraries consider themselves introverts. Often, introverts don’t clamor for opportunities to speak to groups. However, at some point we all have to speak at least briefly at work, church, or other events. The idea to offer activities at the public library that would give people the opportunity to learn and practice public speaking in an uplifting, non-threatening environment was born to help make participants more comfortable and excited about public speaking.
In early summer, the Rockdale Public Library System and Toastmasters entered into a community partnership designed to work with the library’s patrons on public speaking through fun, high-energy educational activities. Teresa Totten, Assistant Director of the Nancy Guinn Memorial Library, and Denise Powell Williams, past Vice President of Membership of the Toast of Rockdale Toastmasters Club in Rockdale County, who brought the proposal for the idea to the library, acted on a hunch. Given the high quality educational activities that the library makes a priority to place into its programming, a well-organized public speaking education program might be of strong interest to the library patron community. From there, a high-energy “Fun with Public Speaking” Program ensued with three events in April, May and June at the Nancy Guinn Memorial Library on 864 Green Street in Conyers, Georgia.
The first event was a “Poetry Night with Toastmasters” held on Thursday evening, April 28th in honor of National Poetry Month. A crowd of nearly 60 adults and teens enjoyed an impressive lineup of poetic talent including local spoken word artists, Toastmasters members and library patrons in an area first “Poetry Night” event for Toastmasters.
The second event, “Summer Fun with Toastmasters”, was designed to kick off the hot days of summer with cool and educational public speaking fun. This event, held on May 19th, was a fun night of people in colorful leis and beach attire playing public speaking games as they enjoyed the sound of beach party music at a vibrantly decorated indoor beach party. The event was co-hosted by Marie Tichler (5 Star Leaders Toastmasters) and Linda Hannah (Toast of Rockdale Toastmasters), who presented activities that gave adult and teen participants an opportunity to practice and learn to speak on the spot by answering fun and interesting questions.
The grand finale for the season was held on the evening of June 23rd. The June event was a seminar presented by Allegra Manigault (Conyers Rockdale Toastmasters Club) on “Preparing for Your First Speech”. Ms. Manigault’s informative talk and the one-on-one coaching sessions between Toastmasters and guests inspired quite a few attendees to give their first speech.
Toastmasters Clubs are big on recognizing success, so prizes were provided at all events.
Future events are being coordinated between the Rockdale Public Library System and Toastmasters. Stay abreast of future scheduling by visiting http://conyersrockdalelibrary.org/. For more information about Toastmasters and to find a club near you, visit http://www.toastmasters.org/.