Speaking Up

The fear of public speaking, also known as glossophobia, is one of the most common fears among people today. Enter Del Mar and North Coast Toastmasters Clubs, both part of the worldwide network of Toastmasters International clubs, which are helping local residents overcome their fears, gain confidence, and develop leadership and communication skills. Both clubs serve the Del Mar, Solana Beach, and surrounding communities, offering a safe and supportive environment for members to learn and grow. Join our conversations with Del Mar Toastmasters Club President Nate McCay and North Coast Toastmasters Club VP of Membership Stefanie Blue to learn more.

Q&A with Nate McCay, Del Mar Toastmasters Club President

What is Toastmasters International?
Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs.

Please give us a brief history of the Del Mar Toastmasters Club. When was the club founded and by whom?
Del Mar Toastmasters was founded September 1, 1987 by Mary Ellen Drummond.

What is the club’s mission and how do you go about fulfilling it?
We are one of the network of clubs where people come to learn public speaking and leadership skills. We meet each Friday morning from 7:30 to 9 a.m. where several of our members speak in various capacities.

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How has the club changed or developed since it was founded?
The club changes continuously as the membership changes. Occasionally we alter our agenda as well. We remain focused on the mission of developing public speaking and leadership skills. We are one of the larger Toastmaster clubs in this area with a membership currently around 45.

Can you tell us about your club members?
Three of our members have been members since the 1990s. Many have more than 10 years’ experience in the club. It is clear from this that some of us enjoy the experience beyond merely developing our skills of public speaking. There is a strong social element and the enjoyment of watching other people develop. We have social events and sometimes develop strong relationships with one another apart from the group.

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Please explain how club leadership is organized.
We have a group of officers elected that keep the club going. The president oversees the Board, which is composed of positions which track education, assist membership, utilize publicity, manage our finances, and ensure meeting space is ready each week. These positions often change each year. Toastmasters International has undergone a change whereby more functions are done online. Many of the speakers at meetings are recorded and the recording emailed to the individual members who spoke.

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Can you tell us a bit about any other key players in the club?
The key players in the club are those that show up. We learn from everybody.

Interaction at Del Mar Toastmasters goes in directions beyond what one might expect. Any Toastmaster group is attended by people interested in improving themselves, and these are a fun kind of people to be around. Our meetings are filled with jocularity and people with interesting stories. We have had, for example, a poet, an Olympic medalist, and an Emmy Award winner.

The benefits people have experienced are perhaps more interesting. One of our members wanted to learn to be funny, did so, and has doubled his sales at work. This is just one example of employment benefits people have had. One talented scientist improved her presentation skills to the point where she could finally convey her ideas to others, and now comfortably presents to large groups of colleagues. We form friendships with our fellow Toastmasters and some have found new life partners. We learn to listen, so cocktail conversations become interesting rather than intimidating. The new relationships we find are many because we talk and listen to people. Toastmaster parties might start at 6, but by 6:01 the air is filled with cacophony.

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When and where does the club meet?
We meet in the Parish Hall at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Del Mar. We are an open club and visitors are welcome.

What does a typical meeting look like?
A typical meeting has a theme and starts with an inspiration followed by a joke. Several members are given a couple minutes each to answer a question by creating what could be called a mini speech. There are typically three prepared speeches followed by individual evaluations. There are additional evaluators who speak on vocal quality, grammar, and use of unnecessary filler words. There is a general evaluation of the meeting, a prepared educational tip, and finally, comments from guests and awards. The meetings are precisely timed and generally end at 9 a.m.

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How would somebody go about joining the Del Mar Toastmasters Club? What are the criteria for membership?
It is easy to join. There is a simple application and payment of dues which recur every six months. Some of this goes to International and some is retained to pay club expenses.

Are there any exciting events or activities coming up that the community should know about?
We occasionally have special events. There are annual contests for club members in the categories of impromptu speaking, humorous speaking, serious speaking, and evaluation. These can take winners through contest levels of area, division, and district.

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Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?
When one gives a speech, you will learn things about them that even they are unaware of themselves. In our supportive environment, we are willing to say things we tell very few people. This results in an intimacy and trust we usually only get to experience with our family and close friends, if at all. It is one of the things that keeps people coming back to Del Mar Toastmasters for years and years. We are never the same person leaving at 9 a.m. that arrived at 7:30.

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At A Glance | Del Mar Toastmasters Club

Name: Del Mar Toastmasters Club
President: Nate McCay
Year Founded: 1987
Website: www.delmartm.org
Facebook: Del Mar Toastmasters
Email: nmccay@mac.com
Phone: 858-794-9405


Q&A with Stefanie Blue, North Coast Toastmasters Club Vice President of Membership

North Coast Toastmasters Club President James Conole

North Coast Toastmasters Club President James Conole

What is Toastmasters International?
Established over 80 years ago, Toastmasters is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping members learn vital public speaking and leadership skills.

Please give us a brief history of the North Coast Toastmasters Club. When was the club founded and by whom?
North Coast Toastmasters was founded by Mary Ellen Drummond in 1980.

What is the club’s mission and how do you go about fulfilling it?
Public speaking is one of the key factors for career advancement, and by learning proven techniques for better public speaking, listening, and leadership, our club is a great place for personal growth and being a better business person or leader.

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How has the club changed or developed since it was founded?
It has changed members and locations over the years, but the heart of it remains the same – a supportive environment to hone your public speaking skills. Our founder is an active member, and there is a mix of long-term, experienced Toastmasters and brand new members.

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How did you personally become involved with Toastmasters?
I chose to become a member because public speaking has always been a challenge. I wanted to find my voice.

What is your current role within the organization and what duties does it entail?
I’m VP of Membership, and guide new members through the enrollment process.

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What is the most rewarding aspect of being involved with Toastmasters? The most challenging?
Most rewarding? Feeling comfortable to speak at other organizations. It’s great to be able to rehearse bits of a presentation and get constructive feedback from fellow Toastmasters. Most challenging? Continuing to push yourself out of your comfort zone.

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Can you tell us a bit about the other current officers, and any other key players in the club?
Our officers bring various strengths to the club – humor, organization, warmth – and have various backgrounds: financial planning, real estate, branding, business coaching, engineering, etc.

When and where does the club meet?
We meet Wednesday mornings at The Center for Spiritual Living (1613 Lake Dr.) in Cardiff from 7:30 to 9 a.m.

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What does a typical meeting look like?
Our meetings are comprised of three main parts: introductions and extemporaneous speaking, prepared speeches, and evaluation. Our club is warm, welcoming, nurturing, and supportive, and it’s great to see the members’ skills grow as they continue.

How would somebody go about joining the North Coast Toastmasters Club? What are the criteria for membership?
Visitors may attend as a guest. Members are voted in, give an icebreaker speech, and pay bi-annual dues.

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Are there any exciting events or activities coming up that the community should know about?
We host open houses occasionally, although guests are welcome at any meeting.

What are the club’s short-term and long-term goals?
To continue providing a safe space for members to grow as public speakers.

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At A Glance | North Coast Toastmasters Club

Name: North Coast Toastmasters Club
President: James Conole
Year Founded: 1980
Website: www.4356.toastmastersclubs.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/NorthCoastToastmasters
Email: james.conole@gmail.com
Phone: 760-300-5103