Toastmasters: Good leaders are good communicators

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Vernon L. Fowler Jr.
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
The Air Force, and the military as a whole, has always searched for and discovered ways to groom and develop effective leaders. Often times, personnel take the initiative to discover resources to help themselves and others develop better leadership skills.

It is said that one important characteristic of a strong leader is the ability to communicate effectively.

Enter Toastmasters...

Toastmasters, which currently has more than 270,000 members in 116 countries, is a program built to generate effective communicators, and thus, create stronger leaders.

As a result, this program has found its way onto many military installations, including MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

"I joined because I love talking, but I wanted to work on my presentation and organizational skills," said Irina Velanovich, 6th Comptrollers Squadron. "Plus, I want to completely crush any public speaking anxieties I may have."

Individuals are able to come into an interactive environment and receive valuable experience, as well as constructive evaluation, on the art of communicating effectively. People of all levels, from novice to advanced, attend these meetings with the same goal in mind - to become a better communicator.

In a Toastmasters' meeting, attendees practice giving prepared speeches as well as brief impromptu presentations, known as "Table Topics." There is no rush or pressure, and each individual is able to progress at their own pace.

After each prepared speech is given, the evaluator will point out strengths and suggest improvements.

"Toastmasters is all about improving communication and leadership skills through practice and feedback," said Lt. Col. Devin Statham, distinguished toastmaster. "Every base I've seen in the Air Force has a club on base of professional-development minded people working toward a shared goal of self-improvement."

Meetings are held at U.S. Central Command every Wednesday from 1130 a.m. to 1230 p.m. in room N130. For those who may find it difficult to make it to that specific meeting each week, another is now being offered every first and third Thursday of each month in the 6th Comptrollers Squadron conference room.

For more information please contact the president of Toastmasters John Marsh by phone at 813-529-6833 or by email at John.Marsh.ctr@centcom.mil.