Travis Toastmasters aids readiness

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – I started attending Toastmasters meetings when I first arrived at Travis Air Force Base, California, a year and a half ago to improve my public speaking skills and get involved with other members of the base.

 When I first started Toastmasters, I felt the usual jitters every time I was asked to speak in front of people. I was asked to brief a group of commanders on base about my unit's mission and could hear my voice shaking and feel my face turning red throughout the short speech.

 Since Toastmasters has been a regular part of my life, I have improved markedly in my confidence in my abilities to speak in public, as well as my ability to listen effectively. For the last year and a half, I have felt the jitters go away, my voice shakes less and I am better equipped for both vertical and lateral communication.

 It is easier now to project confidence in what I am saying, making my messages more clear and effective. This group provides me with a no-threat way to continue to improve my skills and to watch and help others grow through the same pains that everyone feels when public speaking.

 Recently, Lanora Cox, Team Travis Toastmasters vice president of education, shared her experience of coming to a new job at the Mitchell Memorial Library and how Toastmasters helped her through it.

Although Travis is located near my home, working at the base generated a subtle but profound culture shock,” said Cox. “Rank left me tongue tied. Toastmasters introduced me to techniques for how to rise above assumptions and be articulate in a new environment. These are the very skills that Airmen need when they make the reverse transition to work in the world outside of the military. Toastmasters teaches the techniques of good speech not through memorization or theory, but through experience. In each meeting we have the opportunity to practice speaking in formal and informal ways. At our own pace, we present speeches to meet structured goals. We also participate in more extemporaneous speech. We receive and give critiques. Throughout all of this, we have fun.”

Toastmasters provides an opportunity to hone communication skills through a positive team environment. Effective communication is a tool that benefits everyone, whether civilian or military, and is necessary at every level within the Department of Defense, civilian sector and in one’s own personal life. Toastmasters helps its members increase the strength of their toolboxes through feedback and encouragement to continuously improve and grow.

Team Travis Toastmasters is open to anyone with base access and meets from noon to 1 p.m. the first and third Tuesday of every month in the Airman and Family Readiness Center conference room.

For more information and to join the club, visit http://teamtravis.toastmastersclubs.org or contact Staci Warren at staciw38@gmail.com.