Grow speech skills with Toastmasters

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Devin Boyer
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The fear of standing in front of a crowd and addressing any topic can be daunting, especially for those with little experience in public speaking. Toastmasters’ Ramstein Speakers Association remedies that by preparing individuals for these situations.

Whether it’s for an upcoming brief or getting ready for speech-heavy professional military education, RSA is designed to shape members into communicators.

“Our goal is to mold and build strong communicators yet continuously provide feedback and opportunities for growth through a support system of experienced Toastmaster personnel,” said Senior Master Sgt. Hugo Caballero, RSA senior mentor.

Toastmasters focuses on highlighting individuals’ strengths while pointing out their weaknesses so they can grow as speakers.

“We ask them to work their way through a set of handbooks that has 10 different agendas inside of it, and we give them evaluations and critiques on how they can improve their speaking,” said David Sears, RSA mentor. “We try to allow this area to be a place where they can practice what they are going to do in public, what they are going to state in front of a large squadron, and what they’re going to tell their commander. Whatever it may be, this is the place they come practice their sales techniques, their pitch, their story, and have people listen to them.”

One of the training methods they use in Toastmasters is table topics.

“Ideally, we give them a short topic that they know a little bit about and they come up and tell us what they’re thinking,” said Sears.

After receiving the random topic, the students have one to two minutes to present an on-the-spot speech.

“Once you become accustomed to that, you are essentially able to adapt to virtually any atmosphere regardless of the situation,” said Caballero. “Here within Toastmasters you’ll be set for outside experiences away from the speaking association.”

In the RSA, members have the ability to advance through tiers of competence.

“After you accomplish the very first 10 speeches out of the initial handbook you become titled as a competent communicator,” said Sears. “After that, we have accomplished communicator bronze, accomplished communicator silver, and accomplished communicator gold. Each one of those are 10 speeches out of more advanced books.”

Members can also move forward in leadership paths and potentially become sergeant of arms, vice president of education, and president of toastmasters.

“We need those leadership positions filled in order for us to continue to grow and operate effectively,” added Caballero.

Toastmasters RSA meets on the first, second, and third Tuesday of every month at the Southside Chapel at noon. For more information about RSA, email or contact Caballero at 478-5989.