STEPPING OUT - The Lacombe Toastmasters Sandwich Club is welcoming new members to sign on as a new season of refining one’s speaking and leadership skills kicks off. photo submitted

Community invited to check out local Toastmasters’ group

The group meets twice monthly at Lacombe City Hall

Looking to sharpen up your public speaking skills and build confidence and leadership skills in making presentations?

The Lacombe Toastmasters Sandwich Club runs the second and the fourth Thursday of each month at noon at City Hall. Meetings last one hour.

Originally, the group started out as a means for City employees to work on their public speaking skills, but now they want to broaden the gathering to include anyone in the local community who may be interested, said Sonya Beauclair, an administrative assistant in the City’s Recreation and Culture department and who also serves as president of the Club.

“Toastmasters is a group that was started in order to help people improve their communication and leadership skills,” said Beauclair.

“There are those two components to it, and when you join there are two different manuals that you get, so one focuses on your communication and the other focuses on your leadership skills.”

Each meeting is run by a toastmaster, and then individuals give speeches which are either planned and prepared for or are done ‘on the spot’.

“During the meeting, people have the opportunity to do either a prepared speech or they can do impromptu ones – and the impromptu ones are kind of helping you to learn to better think on your feet. They are also good for when you have an interview, in helping you focus on what you want to say,” she explained.

“With our group, we are very supportive,” she said. “And you do get evaluated when you do a speech.”

After you complete 10 speeches, you land the title of competent communicator as well.

And there is no need to worry – it’s all done in a constructive and supportive manner. “They will tell you what you did well and areas where you can improve. We always wrap up on something you did well, so that’s how we evaluate and that way you can work on those skills.”

Interestingly, during a given speech, someone may count the number of times you utter an ‘um’, a ‘well’ or a ‘so’ – which are known as ‘crutch’ words and are extremely common in everyday speech but can be something of a distraction from your message.

“Becoming aware of the fact that you are saying those can help you reduce the amount that you actually say them,” she said. Beauclair has been part of the Club for about four years now. “I’ve been there since we started the Club.”

As mentioned, it was originally for City workers as a kind of training program.

“We’ve just recently opened our club to the general public to allow new members to come in,” she said. “Now we just want to grow the Club and get some new people.”

According to, “Public speaking is commonly stated as the number one fear above everything else – even death. This notion was popularized by Jerry Seinfeld when he stated that most people at a funeral would prefer to be in the coffin than to be giving the eulogy.”

Meanwhile, Beauclair encourages folks to try it out – you don’t necessarily have to say anything in particular at your first meeting either.

“You can just watch everything and that way you kind of get a feel for it.”

After all, even when mistakes are made during a speech, few will likely notice. And as Beauclair pointed out, she recalls shaking while speaking publicly once, and was later told it wasn’t even noticeable. Ultimately, audiences tend to be supportive and ‘on your side’ anyways.

“They talk about changing your nerves from letting them control you into using them to make your speech even better – kind of using them as energy for your speech.

“I think I’ve improved with my public speaking – I still find it intimidating and I don’t know if that will ever go away. But I will get up and do it. I also started teaching a course on public speaking – so that’s been interesting.

“It’s still a little bit nerve-wracking, but I think the big thing is practice.”

For more information, call or text Beauclair at 403-872-1535 or email her at You can also find them on facebook under ‘Lacombe Toastmasters Sandwich Club’.

Just Posted

WATCH: The public gets a taste of robotics

Lacombe students show off their skills in Red Deer

Details of Mr. Big sting operation discussed in Castor-area triple homicides

Klaus confesses to arranging murders, says Frank pulled the trigger

Red Deer Royals see over 1,000 letters of support for funding

MP Blaine Calkins to make an appeal to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Man who stopped impaired school bus driver honoured

Red Deer’s Kurt Stenberg receives Lieutenant Governor of Alberta’s Award for Bravery

Missing Ontario man may be headed to Red Deer

Police are searching for Tyler Haney, who may be in the area to find work

WATCH: Lacombe voters eager to get to the polls

Lacombe voters are out today to decide who will represent their interests in the community

Nebraska approves TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline

Nebraska’s Public Service Commission approved TransCanada’s Keystone XL route in a close vote

Forecast calls for a snowy Canadian winter

Canadians told to brace for a ‘classic’ Canadian winter with lots of snow

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip celebrate 70th anniversary

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh are celebrating their platinum wedding anniversary

Three-car pile-up on Northstar Drive and 58th Street

No injuries reported at Thursday afternoon incident

Charles Manson, leader of murderous ’60s cult, dead at 83

Charles Manson, whose cult slayings horrified world, dies

VIDEO: The Last Jedi is going to be the longest ‘Star Wars’ movie yet

Newest movie in the franchise will beat Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

Dead boy’s father posts Facebook response after Appeal Court upholds conviction

David, Collet Stephan were found guilty in their son Ezekiel’s 2012 death from bacterial meningitis

Bank of Canada cautious of future rate hikes

The Bank of Canada remains cautious on future rate hikes due to low- inflation risk

Most Read