Speak for Yourself

At this DBEDT for Business Toastmasters Club meeting, Cameron Black evaluates a speech given earlier by another club member. A Toastmaster of the Day chooses a theme for each meeting’s speeches. At this meeting, the TMOD was Mark Ambler and the topic was “The Power of the Internet.” The club meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month.


Dean Masai was petrified when he gave his first presentation for work.

“I forgot what I was going to say. I was sweating all over and all the muscles in my body were tense. It was terrible,” Masai recounts, with a big smile. An analyst at the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, he must frequently give presentations. No longer petrified of the podium, Masai is now the spokesman for Hawaii Toastmasters, a club that builds public-speaking ability.

Anyone, in any business, must sometimes communicate ideas effectively in front of a group. Those skills can make or break an idea, a sales pitch or a promotion, but few people spend time developing them.

For less than $100 a year, Toastmasters coaches its members at meetings and uses a text called “Competent Communication,” which gives tips and a syllabus of speeches. But the real secret to Toastmasters is simple: practice, practice, practice.

At their bimonthly meetings, most people at the DBEDT branch of Toastmasters are asked to speak. There are preassigned speeches, icebreakers for new members and off-the-cuff critiques – all of which are timed and evaluated.

“It’s immediate feedback. It gives us a chance to let speakers know what they’ve done right and wrong, right then,” says Richard Fassler, who retired from DBEDT, but has stayed active in the club for years.

Each of Hawaii’s 66 clubs has its own unique camaraderie and personality. There are business groups, groups for running enthusiasts, a group at the Battleship Missouri Memorial and even one in prison – the Waiawa Correctional Facility’s club began in 1998. The range of clubs gives everyone a chance to get their point across.

Want to Join?

Go to www.district49.org or www.toastmasters.org to find a local Toastmasters club that’s right for you.

For more help, contact Dean Masai at 225-0243 or deanm2030@gmail.com.

Categories: Education