BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Every Wednesday afternoon, there is a Toastmasters workshop at the Beale Memorial Library.
“It’s just wonderful. It’s a great experience and you do learn a lot," said Toastmasters District Director Deborah Allmond.
Allmond said they’re a nonprofit teaching public speaking and leadership skills worldwide.
"You learn how to craft your speeches so that they connect with your audience. [It] affects your office, your interpersonal [skills]," she said. "You can be a professional speaker. We have one person in our club that's going to be a TED Talk, so it’s just whatever goal you have, we help you achieve it.”
During the workshops, people take turns presenting prepared speeches and giving each other feedback. Sometimes, they also do improvised work.
Community Outreach and Workforce Librarian Lynne Kemmer has attended herself.
"I've gotten points on my um’s and my talking points, [my] eye contact and my body language," she said. "It helps build confidence. It helps people with their confidence and their ability to be able to speak, make eye contact and really create meaningful presentations.”
Kemmer said it’s a great group to work with each week and the benefits stretch beyond the professional work world.
“It's a super fun group. I'll be in the library and I will hear laughter coming from the room constantly. It's a very robust, comfortable, welcoming group of people, experienced public speakers, and the feedback that you receive is helpful for not only your professional life but your personal life," said Kemmer. "Just about any type of speaking engagement that you may have, it would help with being able to handle those situations with grace.”
The workshops are free and walk ins are welcome They happen every Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Beale Memorial Library.