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Hixson Toastmasters offering speech class

Sign up by Jan. 31

For those who get sweaty palms at the thought of speaking in front of a group, the Hixson Toastmasters is offering an eight-week speech class that also serves as an introduction to the club. The class will be held at Burks United Methodist Church Thursdays starting Feb. 6 from 6:15-7:30 p.m. and the deadline to register is Jan. 31.

“It gives a taste of what Toastmasters is about without the commitment of a longtime membership,” said Carolyn Crider, vice president of communications for Hixson Toastmasters.

Crider explained that Toastmasters is a club dedicated to teaching leadership and speech skills as well as professional and personal development. It focuses on helping participants feel more confident when speaking, whether that be to a large audience or a small group of co-workers.

“I’ve seen people do a 180-degree turn as far as confidence in speaking in front of a group,” she said.

Helping people organize and present their ideas logically and convincingly is an important goal for the Toastmasters, Crider said, as is helping participants better their listening skills.

“It even helps in a marriage,” she said. “You learn better communication skills.”

Participants have the opportunity to offer advice to others as well as receive constructive feedback that will help them improve, said Crider. Club members often practice presentations at meetings that they have to give at work, she said.

“In eight weeks there should be significant improvement if someone takes this class,” said Crider.

She noted that the club rarely offers the class.

“We thought there were a number of people who said they would like an overview,” Crider said. “It’s interesting how it’s done such work for people personally and professionally in their relationships. We have a lot of people in our club who have done well and been promoted.”

The club is also great training for job interviews, she said.

The cost for the class is $10, which covers the required workbook.