Every dog can walk and every horse can gallop but doing it just so and in front of judges is another thing. Similarly, speaking is a task every human learns in their very early infancy but crafting a speech and delivering it in front of an audience, in a contest setting no less, is not for the faint of heart.
That is why Toastmasters was created about a hundred years ago – to help American young men become better public speakers and lead with thoughtfulness. From there, it expanded to include over 345,000 members in close to 16,000 club in 142 countries.
And if you didn’t know already, Nakusp has its own Toastmasters club that meets at the Selkirk College every second and fourth Tuesday of every month. One of its members, Andreea Myhal, was nominated to represent the Nakusp Articulators Club to the Area 81 Contest Fall Contests on Oct. 8 in Winlaw (the Area includes the Nelson Fresh Tracks and the Castlegar Sentinel Speakers club as well). She won the first prize in the Humorous Speech Contest (prepared) and came in second in the Table Topics Contest (impromptu), which allowed her to advance to the Division K Contest in both.
Myhal has been in Toastmasters since May 2011 and has held many leadership positions with her previous club (MDA Toastmasters in Richmond, BC), as well as at district level (as Area then Division Director), which enabled her to get the highest distinction Toastmasters awards – the Distinguished Toastmasters medal, which has requirements in both communication and leadership. But being involved in leadership at the district level means members are barred from competing in speech contests to avoid conflicts of interest, so Myhal was happy to try her hand at competing.
The Division K Contest, held this past Saturday in Penticton, BC, was very intense, as it encompasses 15 clubs from the Okanagan and the Kootenay regions who each sent their very best. Seven Humorous Speeches and eight Table Topics were judged and in the end, one winner for each was selected who will move on to the District Contest that will take place in Parksville, BC, on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. Myhal came in third in the Division K Contest and was very happy with her performance, considering, as one of her fellow Toastmasters put it, she “was the dark horse going in.” After two months of painstaking preparation and practice, Myhal can go back to mentoring new Toastmasters, which is something she very much enjoys.