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A toast to Toastmasters

Public speaking is a test for even the strongest of characters. Not a strong suite for many with the possibility of an anxiety attack for even more, public speaking remains a challenge to overcome.

But Toastmasters helps take that first step over the obstacle.

“It (Toastmasters) teaches you how to become comfortable with speaking,” said Cindy Hidde, a member of Toastmasters since February 2009 and Vice President of the newly founded Out of Towner’s Toastmasters. “Your first task is to give a four to six minute prepared speech about yourself, because when you talk about something you really know, you relax a little more.

“And then it evolves in to more speeches, looking at grammatical errors, pronunciation as well as building and working towards leadership skills.”

For a bi-yearly fee of $46 — plus a $20 first time joining fee — members of the Out of Towners Toastmasters meet from 8:15-9:15 a.m. on the second and fourth Monday of the month at the Pelican Lake Conservation Club in Breezy Point.

Hidde said each individual and each club has a goal in mind and it’s up to them to achieve it.

“There are varying Toastmaster assignments that you must accomplish to advance to the next level,” said Hidde, who is working towards her advance bronze in leadership. “You can work your way up all the way to distinguished Toastmaster, which takes probably a good 10 years to achieve.

“But the really great thing about Toastmasters is that you get people from all walks of life that attend, all with the same goal to improve on their public speaking.”

From radio and TV personalities to mothers that are simply interested in improving the way they communicate, Hidde said Toastmasters has something for everybody, and offered in a variety of area locations including Little Falls and the Paul Bunyan Toastmasters Club in Brainerd.

Currently hosting eight members, Hidde said the Out of Towner’s Toastmasters Club is just starting up, but with the laid back approach, Hidde said ultimately it is what you make of it.

“Toastmasters is out there to help you improve,” she added. “It’s a very successful program and a great outlet to meet people and learn something new.”

For more information on Out of Towner’s Toastmaster, call Hidde at (218) 232-8046 or Marjorie Harris at (218) 838-8354.

JESSI PIERCE, staff writer, may be reached at 855-5859 or Follow her on Twitter at (@jessi_pierce).