Hastings Morning Talkers Toastmasters International Club aims to provide a friendly, supportive, fun, professional environment for members to grow and develop. Ivana Agapiou gives us an insight into how it works.
Hi Ivana. Could you please give us a bit of background information about yourself and where you work …
I’m the General Manager at Eather Recruitment and have been with Eather Recruitment since its inception in 2007. EATHER Recruitment’s focus is sourcing the best permanent and temporary employees, within varying jobs across diverse industry sectors.
Not only do we provide quality staff, we also offer payroll, labour hire and compliance, plus outplacement services. An integral component of my role is to establish solid links with many businesses and to remain a consistent supporter of community organisations and local charities. I strongly believe that advanced communication and interpersonal skills are the most highly sought after traits in any employee.
My qualifications include a Grad Cert in Management, along with BA in Teaching and Vocational Education; however, even with my formal education, it’s imperative that my communications skills are always fine-tuned and that I regularly practice! I’m often called upon to present to corporates and to groups, and Toastmasters assists me in ensuring that I present in a professional and personable manner.
If you are required to formally present in your job, or even if you are asked to act as an MC or facilitate a meeting, then Toastmasters will be able to help you gain the necessary experience and skills.
How and why did you become involved with the Hastings Morning Talkers?
The Hastings Morning Talkers Toastmasters International Club has been established for 6 months and is going strong. It was specifically set up to meet the needs of busy, business professionals: people who are keen on accelerating their careers; taking lead roles; people keen to develop their ability to present to diverse audiences in a confident and competent way. I became involved because
I believe that Toastmasters is not only great for self-development, but also for career improvement. To be able to speak quickly on your feet and be articulate, to be able to present a structured and professional speech, and most importantly, to be able to provide others with helpful feedback and evaluations – these are highly valued skills!
There are many reasons to join Toastmasters … here are a just a few: become a better public speaker; overcome public speaking fears; ‘practice’ presentations for other audiences; gain the confidence and courage to lead.
What are the aims of the group?
The main aim of the group is to provide a friendly, fun, professional environment where people can come and learn without being judged or criticised. We are a non-for profit voluntary organisation. Learning is by doing, listening and practising, with gentle feedback in the form of evaluations; everyone can grow at their own pace.
When, where and how often does the group meet?
We meet at TG’s, Town Green Inn, Town Green every 2nd Tuesday at 6.45 for a 7am sharp start – all meetings are brisk and action-packed and end right on time at 8.30am. Our next meeting is on 10 July – all guests are very welcome! Please contact – Peter Loveday on Mob: 0417 289 115. Home: (02) 6584 3625.
What costs are involved for potential new members?
The joining fee is $50 and semi-annual dues are $60. This includes the Competent Communicator and Competent Leader manuals, as well as access via the World Wide Web to the vast mostly free educational resources of Toastmasters International.
What are some examples of topics that have been discussed at past meetings?
Members are given opportunities to prepare, rehearse, and deliver their presentations. Some are short 1 to 2 minute presentation such as Word of the day, Making a Toast, Welcoming Guests, Listening then Asking Questions, Grammarian, which includes counting the Ums and Ahs, which provide good opportunities for first timers to have a go.
Impromptu speaking – members practice speaking ‘off the cuff’ for one or two minutes by responding to general topics of interest.
Then we have prepared and rehearsed speeches with specific objectives from the Competent Communicator Manual, such as, how to organise your speech, get to the point, how you say it, persuade with power, or inspire your audience.
Whenever you speak in Toastmasters, you receive helpful evaluations from your peers.
What types of people would benefit from joining the group brackets i.e. is there an age limit? Are there any restrictions on who can join?
Anyone over the age of 18 years can join Toastmasters, provided they have the desire to improve their communication and leadership skills. Most of us fear speaking in public; it can be nerve wracking. However, Toastmasters provides a supportive and nurturing environment where people can practice and improve their speech delivery.
What better way to build confidence than among friends and people with similar fears and needs?
How have you personally benefited by being a member of the group?
I first joined Toastmasters early in my working life and discovered a unique non-pressured, supportive and helpful environment where I could make mistakes, learn through practice, have a laugh, and still feel inspired to continue. I can recommend Toastmasters to all!
What would you say to encourage those who may be a bit shy about public speaking to join?
Come along to one or two of our meetings, see what we do and how we do it, without any obligation − then make your own mind up, if it’s for you or not. It’s a good way to get a free cup of coffee, be inspired by a first timer or experienced speaker, while at the same time picking up some free tips for your next presentation or speech from one of our experienced evaluators.
Interview by Jo Atkins.
For more infomation about Hastings morning talkers?
Contact – Peter Loveday
Mob: 0417 289 115
Home: (02) 6584 3625.