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Toastmasters is a matter of speaking

Mickey Starling: Greene Publishing, Inc.

If you've ever wanted to improve your public speaking skills or improve general communication with others, Toastmasters may be what you're looking for. Toastmasters is an international organization devoted to improving communication skills, grammar and vocabulary, time management and listening skills. Members give speeches which are timed and then evaluated in a positive and constructive manner by fellow Toastmasters.

Though this may sound stressful to some, the atmosphere is actually relaxed, encouraging and often lively. To make things more interesting, impromptu speeches are given from random topics at a moments notice, requiring speakers to generate a meaningful speech with no preparation. Anyone from this group who is ever required to give a toast to someone will be well prepared.

There have been plenty of famous politicians and television personalities who have gained experience and leadership skills as members of Toastmasters, including Tim Allen, from "Last Man Standing." The local Toastmasters meet every second and fourth Friday, at Cucinella's Brick Oven Pizzeria, located at 202 SW Rutledge St., in Madison, at 12 p.m. At the Friday, Dec. 14 meeting, three members gave excellent speeches. Julius Hackett gave an informative speech about the wasting of food in America. Kaitlyn Culpepper gave a humorous account of the many rewards of managing a parade. During her speech, Culpepper gave her description of the perfect career. "I wanted a job requiring a briefcase and that avoided math," said Culpepper. Jeff Brewer was awarded the best speech of the day for his offering on how to turn failure into success.

Anyone interested in joining the Toastmasters is encouraged to attend their next meeting, on Friday, Jan. 11.

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