Morning Anchor Alicia Smith talks to the Oak Park Toastmasters about her public speaking journey

OAK PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) - - The Oak Park Toastmasters work to improve their communication and leadership skills every Monday night.

This week the non-profit group – which is part of Toastmasters International -- invited 7 Action News Morning Anchor Alicia Smith to join them as their special guest speaker.

“I told them how I used to get so nervous talking in front of a camera and in front of a live audience,” explained Smith. 

“The more you do it, though, the easier it gets,” she added.  “Preparation is key.  You have to know your material.  And you also have to be open to critique. That’s the only way you get better.”

Toastmaster member Jason Shain extended the invitation to Smith, and he served as Toastmaster of the Day.

The agenda included Table Topics – an exercise where several members are invited to speak on a random topic for 1-2 minutes.

Each speaker is evaluated and timed.

A club member is also designated to be the “Ah Counter” of the night.  Another person reports on grammatical notes pertaining to each speech.   A third member keeps track of how long each person speaks.

Awards are given at the end of the night for Best Table Topics Speaker, Best Evaluator, and Best Speaker.

“Toastmasters makes talking in front of people a fun activity. The meeting is kind of like a game show for speakers,” said Smith.

Toastmasters International is a California-based, non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills via a worldwide network of meetings.

To find a club or meeting near you, click here.

If you’d like more information about the Oak Park Toastmasters click here.

Club 1547 meets every Monday night from 6:30 p.m.– 8:00 p.m. at the Oak Park Community Center at 14300 Oak Park Boulevard in Oak Park, Michigan.

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