Campus Toastmasters Club Hosts Open House Sept. 23

By April Dudash, via Duke Today

When Danielle Lester was invited by a friend to attend a campus PRATTically Speaking Toastmasters meeting, she felt a little intimidated. The club, which meets in the Pratt School of Engineering and helps individuals develop public speaking and leadership skills, has its members give speeches and then the group critiques their form.

Soon after, Lester became a member, giving her first speech over the summer about growing up in an immigrant home, where her family speaks Italian and Sundays are about coming together for family meals.

“It benefits me for work, as far as speaking in meetings, and just has helped me overall in building my confidence,” said Lester, a staff specialist in the Duke School of Medicine’s Office of the Registrar, about Toastmasters. “The members help you. They really are mentoring you through developing your skills to be a better speaker.”

PRATTically Speaking Toastmasters is hosting an open house from noon to 1 p.m., Sept. 23, in room 125 of Hudson Hall. Guests, who do not need to be members to attend, will be able to enjoy cupcakes and pizza while meeting Toastmasters members. The club, which is open to the public, meets on the first and third Tuesday of the month.

“We have a supportive club environment and specific activities that will help you speak and present compellingly, think quickly and clearly on your feet, listen effectively and offer others constructive feedback, become a strong leader, and build self-confidence,” said Jessica Bolton, a Ph.D. student in Duke’s Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and the club’s vice president for public relations.

Duke is home to two other Toastmasters groups – the Duke Toastmasters Club and Blue Devil Toastmasters.

The Duke Toastmasters Club meets in the Board Meeting Room of the Duke Credit Union on the second, third and fourth Wednesdays of each month at 7 a.m.

Blue Devil Toastmasters meets in the Duke Human Resources Building, 705 Broad St., on the first and third Friday of every month. Both clubs welcome visitors and are open to the public.