MORNING Talkers is a daytime Toastmaster group in Ipswich which has been meeting fortnightly at the Croquet Club premises at Queens Park for the past 15 years.
The club supports many people from all ages and all walks of life in gaining public speaking skills, confidence and leadership ability.
Janet Findlay, the club’s entry in the humorous speech category of the annual district and divisional Toastmaster competitions, joined Morning Talkers at the beginning of 2020.
“I saw an ad in the paper and had a strong feeling I wanted to come and see what it was all about,” she said.
“The fact that it was a daytime group and everybody looked relaxed and informal appealed to me. I also saw it as a chance to keep up my interests in writing and performing.
“I have to say the conventions of giving a speech and acting do differ, though obviously there are crossovers – like feeling at ease in front of a group of people helps greatly!”
One group activity that Janet and most other speakers really enjoy is the impromptu speaking.
People are given a random topic and required to speak for up to two or three minutes “off the cuff” in segments called Warm Up and Table Topics.
According to Janet, this is always either entertaining, impressive and hilarious – or all of the above!
Meetings also provide a chance for members to develop public speaking skills by giving longer speeches.
These can be on any topic of your choice – except sex, religion and politics.
In addition, members can represent the club at the District and Divisional contests – and beyond.
Candidates for the international speech section of the contests for example, can end up competing internationally!
At the recent Western Division Toastmaster contest held at the Railway Workshops Ipswich, Janet competed against other speakers from as far away as St George and Armidale to win the humorous section with a speech entitled “My New False Tooth”.
Janet now goes on to compete at the District Contest to be held at Eaton’s Hotel Brisbane at the end of April.
Morning Talkers meet every second Monday at 9.30am at the Croquet Hall at Queen’s Park.