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Vogt's Notes: 10 good reasons to check out a Toastmasters open house

I’m pretty comfortable talking to people I don’t know. I have to be, considering a reporter’s job is to talk to people — sometimes strangers — to get their story, or to ask people of all walks of life all sorts of questions.

As anyone who may have received a voicemail from me knows, however, I certainly can ramble and take too long to get to the point.

And, like many of you, get me in front of a group of people and not only do I ramble and forget half of what I planned to say, I feel my face heat up as it turns beat red and my voice starts to quiver.

When I heard about a Toastmasters club forming in the Pequot Lakes-Breezy Point area, I was immediately interested. Other service clubs in the area have piqued my interest, but just didn’t seem to work for me for some reason or another.

I’m not exactly sure why I felt such a strong tug to Toastmasters, but I decided to check it out. And I liked what I found.

The Out of Towners Toastmasters Club formed last April with veterans Cindy Hidde and Marjorie Harris of the Paul Bunyan Toastmasters Club as our leaders. The club meets from 8:15-9:30 a.m. the second and fourth Mondays of the month at the Pelican Lakes Conservation Club in Breezy Point.

We named ourselves the Out of Towners because none of the dozen or so of us is originally from the Brainerd lakes area. We’re all transplants.

Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean a Brainerd lakes native can’t join us. We welcome anyone with open arms.

That’s part of what I enjoy most about this group — the people I’ve met or gotten to know better. We’re all pretty apprehensive when it’s our turn to give a speech, but at the same time very comfortable with each other.

Even though the format of our meetings and the roles we undertake have become more familiar as our one-year anniversary approaches, we newbies still have a lot of questions. Anyone new who may join us has no need to feel behind. You’ll find a comforting group with us.

We all have our reasons for joining the club and goals we hope to reach. I don’t have a problem writing a speech; I can whip one up on notecards in no time. But when it comes to getting up in front of people and reciting my speech, that’s another story.

My goals are to become a more succinct and better public speaker, as well as to learn leadership skills.

Conversely, a fellow club member is already an excellent public speaker who speaks well off the top of her head. Her goal is to learn how to write a speech and then share it out loud.

No matter what your goals are, you’ll fit in with us.

So here are 10 reasons you should join the Out of Towners Toastmasters Club at an open house Monday, Jan. 14. Come join us from 8:15-9:30 a.m. at the Pelican Lakes Conservation Club in Breezy Point.

1. Meet a great group of welcoming people.

2. Try something new; go out of your box.

3. Find out how you can learn lifelong leadership skills.

4. Learn how you can become a more confident public speaker.

5. Discover how you can set ongoing goals to better yourself.

6. Find out various ways you can satisfy a competitive drive within yourself.

7. Learn how to gain overall confidence in yourself.

8. Learn how to find your voice.

9. Learn how to become a better communicator.

10. Start a winter week in a different way by getting out, meeting new people and challenging yourself.

I can’t wait to see you Monday at the Pelican Lakes Conservation Club.