Speaking out about glossophobia

Eastland Toastmasters are holding an open night on Monday

Eastland Toastmasters are holding an open night on Monday

FEEL THE FEAR AND TALK ANYWAY: Eastland Toastmasters encourages anyone who has anxiety about speaking to a group to come along to its open night this Monday. The club has about 18 members and is looking for more. President Barry Foster (right) says developing interpersonal skills is even more important in this digital age. With him are Michael Thorpe and Fiona Shivnan, who each have their own story about what made them join. The open night is free to attend and Mrs Shivnan has promised a big batch of homemade scones. Picture by Liam Clayton

Gisborne business owner Barry Foster says conquering his fear of public speaking has opened doors for him he would never have believed.

When appointed to a position in the National Beekeepers Association, he knew the role required public speaking skills, “which I did not have”.

“I contacted Eastland Toastmasters and it has been fantastic.”

It is a common anxiety and even has its own name — glossophobia, the fear of public speaking.

After eight years with the club, Mr Foster is now its president and chairman of a science and research focus group for Apiculture New Zealand.

Mr Foster believes that in today’s digital age, interpersonal skills are not advancing as much as they should.

“Especially with the younger generation. Screen time often takes precedence over the development of effective communication skills.”

Toastmasters has so much to offer in business and personal life, he says.

Eastland Toastmasters has an open night this Monday. The welcoming group of around 18 people encourage others to take the first step, like they did, by coming along to see what it is about.

You won’t have to speak publicly on your first time.

Columbine’s production manager Michael Thorpe said he was studying for a Master of Business Administration when a lecturer suggested he join Toastmasters to help with his presentations.

Three years later he is presenting to 100 people at business start-up weekends.

“It’s increased my confidence at work and my self-confidence,” he said.

Gisborne business owner Fiona Shivnan said she joined after her three children left home.

“I thought, ‘right, it’s time to face my life’s greatest challenge -- public speaking’.”

Mrs Shivnan found the club was a great group of people who created a supportive environment for all those facing their fear of speaking in public.

It helped her speak at the annual Titirangi Mt Everest Challenge, she said.

n The Eastland Toastmasters open night is on Monday, July 23, from 5.30pm at Arohaina Centre, Aberdeen Road. Eastland Toastmasters is part of the international and long-standing organisation Toastmasters International.

Gisborne business owner Barry Foster says conquering his fear of public speaking has opened doors for him he would never have believed.

When appointed to a position in the National Beekeepers Association, he knew the role required public speaking skills, “which I did not have”.

“I contacted Eastland Toastmasters and it has been fantastic.”

It is a common anxiety and even has its own name — glossophobia, the fear of public speaking.

After eight years with the club, Mr Foster is now its president and chairman of a science and research focus group for Apiculture New Zealand.

Mr Foster believes that in today’s digital age, interpersonal skills are not advancing as much as they should.

“Especially with the younger generation. Screen time often takes precedence over the development of effective communication skills.”

Toastmasters has so much to offer in business and personal life, he says.

Eastland Toastmasters has an open night this Monday. The welcoming group of around 18 people encourage others to take the first step, like they did, by coming along to see what it is about.

You won’t have to speak publicly on your first time.

Columbine’s production manager Michael Thorpe said he was studying for a Master of Business Administration when a lecturer suggested he join Toastmasters to help with his presentations.

Three years later he is presenting to 100 people at business start-up weekends.

“It’s increased my confidence at work and my self-confidence,” he said.

Gisborne business owner Fiona Shivnan said she joined after her three children left home.

“I thought, ‘right, it’s time to face my life’s greatest challenge -- public speaking’.”

Mrs Shivnan found the club was a great group of people who created a supportive environment for all those facing their fear of speaking in public.

It helped her speak at the annual Titirangi Mt Everest Challenge, she said.

n The Eastland Toastmasters open night is on Monday, July 23, from 5.30pm at Arohaina Centre, Aberdeen Road. Eastland Toastmasters is part of the international and long-standing organisation Toastmasters International.

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