The Art of Speaking  

Champions at talking

Reen Rose and Wade Paterson are Toastmasters Area champions.

The two will represent Area 83, which covers part of the Central Okanagan, and their club, Kelowna AM Toastmasters at the division championships in Penticton April 1 at Okanagan College, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

They will compete against the best Toastmasters in the Okanagan and the Kootenays, but have the added burden of representing the club that won all four contests  – international, humour, impromptu speaking and evaluations — at the division level last year.

(The humour and impromptu speaking contests are held in the fall.)

And they both have something to prove for themselves — Rose want to win the international division contest again, and Paterson simply wants to compete at that level.

Last fall, he won the area humorous speech competition, but a scheduling conflict forced him to concede his spot to club mate Gary Johnston, who had been second in the area contest.

"It's much easier for me when I can prepare a five-seven-minute speech," said Paterson. "Evaluations are done on the fly, and that scares me a bit."

Paterson, RE/MAX of Western Canada social media/communications coordinator, said Toastmasters has given him an incredible level of confidence that has helped personally and professionally.

"Toastmasters has taken away a lot of the anxiety that I used to feel before delivering presentations for work.

"It has also helped me become a better listener, something my girlfriend probably appreciates."

This is the third time Rose has represented Area 83 in the international speech competition.

 “This is the only Toastmasters contest that continues all the way to the international level," Rose said. "The international convention is in Vancouver this year, so getting to that stage would be an even more incredible experience than usual.”

She made it to the division level the first year, and district last year.

“I joined Toastmasters to hone my speaking skills,” said Rose, an educator, speaker and author. “I am an experienced speaker, but I believe there is always room for improvement.”

She had planned to join Toastmasters for only six months more than two years ago, but made friends in the Kelowna AM group and stayed.

“If you want to be a better speaker, the key to success is stage time, stage time, stage time. This is true whether you are a novice, or a veteran.

“Every time I give a presentation in my professional life, I feel comfortable and confident, because I am constantly getting opportunities to practise and try new things at Toastmasters.”

Melody Bailey and Darci Ritchie, both from the Kelowna club, which meets on Monday nights, were second, respectively in the international and evaluation contests

“I am always uplifted, inspired and motivated by a good speaker and strive to be one myself by providing not only food for thought, but ways to improve our lives,” said Bailey.  

“This is my goal whenever I create a speech and I think this is working.  

“I get great feedback on my speeches and feel I am being of service to those present. I really enjoy it when I get asked questions after and can provide further food for thought.”

Ritchie could not be reached for comment.  

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About the Author

The mission of a Toastmaster Club is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment that offers every member the opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth.

There are eight Toastmasters clubs in the Central Okanagan.

For more information and/or to find a club near you, check http://www.toastmasters.org.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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