Congratulating the Toastmasters

October 18, 2018

Congratulating the Toastmasters

We spend a lot of time talking in this place, and most of us don't seem to mind that too much—in fact, some of us clearly love the sound of our own voices. But not everyone is as comfortable with public speaking as the average politician, and I want to talk about the work of Toastmasters in my electorate of Macquarie.

We all know that fear of public speaking is up there in the top fears people express, although one American researcher has found that since Donald Trump became President, it's been pushed down to No. 52, with fear of mass shootings now at No. 35. I know from my days as a trainer that the fear of speaking can impact on people's careers, and, at the very least, ruin their enjoyment of sharing their knowledge. That's where Toastmasters—volunteer run—is doing great work building people's skills and confidence in standing up and speaking.

My experience of visiting Toastmasters is that our groups—under the regional leadership of people like Louise McMahon in the Hawkesbury, who was kind enough to invite me to the Toastmasters meetings that she was overseeing when she was president of Hawkesbury, and Heike Tye in the Blue Mountains—are very supportive environments to make mistakes. They're working hard to make sure that it's okay to not be perfect. I'd like particularly to note John Wayland, whose ability to entertain us on the subject of nothing is legendary. The sense of support that comes from Toastmasters comes from every single member of the groups that I've had contact with, from Hawkesbury Valley to Springwood and Glenbrook to Katoomba. They all know they can work together more effectively than struggling on their own. Congratulations to them all.