Public speaking club looks to engage audience

Tyler McNeil

Managing Editor

“Everyone has something to do,” said Public Speaking Club president Joshua Dayter at the club’s first official meeting last week.

Every meeting, members switch their roles in the new club from speakers to evaluators. “There’s a wide scale of exposure,” said club vice president Chad Albright.

Student Senate president Everett McNair has been involved in the club since its first unofficial meeting last month. “You could be a very good [Student Senate] president without public speaking skills but just on a personal level, I would really like to become an excellent public speaker,” said McNair.

The club is loosely based off of Toastmasters International, a non-profit public speaking organization. Dayter mentioned that being involved in Toastmasters International for over a year inspired him to start a club on campus, but made changes to the club’s structure. “I didn’t want to make it too stressful,” he said.

The Student Senate approved the club’s constitution last week. According to Dayter, the club has attracted a consistent following since their first meeting last month. “Everyone’s doing their part,” said club secretary Audrey McKee.

Kevin Lutz, liberal arts student, hopes to take his experience with public speaking beyond the classroom. He believes working with the club in the future could make it easier to fight his nerves. “That’s my biggest thing [about public speaking]. My heart starts racing,” said Lutz.

Speakers shared personal experiences last week from the past to the present. Freshman senator Saydou Bonsa walked in front of the audience without a script, speaking about fearing for his aunt’s life in Paris during the recent attacks. “I wasn’t really ready for a speech but, I didn’t want it empty so I started to give a speech and it really helped give me confidence,” he said.

According to Jordyn Applebaum, individual studies student, the public speaking club has allowed her to open up about her past. “I never really told [my] story which is why I came off kind of shaky but I’m glad I got to,” she said. After nearly exceeding her five-minute time limit, Applebaum felt confident telling her story behind being a student athlete to the classroom audience.

“A lot of the things I’m telling other people not to do is kind of a self reminder,” said Jefri Nazri, human services student. While learning about the speakers, Nazri said last week’s meeting provided him an opportunity to learn about his own faults as an evaluator.

Being involved in years of theatre work at Averill Park High School, Public Speaking club treasurer Samantha St. Germain, saw the club as way to perform for audiences without constraining her schedule. “It’s kind of like theatre but not as much of a time commitment,” she said.

After trying several clubs across campus, the Public Speaking club has been the only club Justin Hunt, business administration student, has stayed with the longest. “It’s just more fun. I feel like in a lot of the clubs I’ve been to so far, there’s a lot of clashing between club members and the leadership,” said Hunt.

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