Talk of the Town Toastmasters, held weekly on the fifth floor of Puyallup City Hall, has 16 members, and it’s looking for more.
Geri Hibben, one of the group’s founding members and a past officer, said new members bring in fresh perspectives.
“The more diverse the group, the better it is,” Hibben said. “It makes for a more interesting meeting.”
The club will have an open house from noon to 1 p.m. Jan. 30 in the fifth floor city council chambers. Those who attend will learn about the benefits of being in the club and be informed on how a typical meeting is structured.
Toastmasters is part of the international organization, and clubs are located in 86 countries. Across the spectrum are 10 regions with five to eight districts in each region. And within each district, there are anywhere from 75 to 125 clubs.
“It’s a really big organization,” said Ellen Mak, president of the Toastmasters club at city hall.
Talk of the Town Toastmasters, which is Chapter 32, was charted in 2009 as a tool to train city employees with public speaking and presentation skills. It has since branched out and welcomed community members.
Today, about two-thirds of the group are city employees, Mak said.
Mak has been involved in Toastmasters for 17 years. She first joined when she was a trainer at the state Department of Transportation.
“I’ve learned great techniques for time management and organization,” Mak said. “There is such good training in Toastmasters. I really like watching people grow and develop into public speakers.
“It’s amazing. It’s transformation right in front of your eyes.”
Those who join practice public speaking and can take on officer roles. There are seven officer positions in the club.
Hibben started in the group in 2009 as the vice president of education. The role is tasked with organizing each meeting’s agenda and lining up speakers for each meeting.
That same year, Hibben said, the club excelled so well that it received the President’s Distinguished Club award from the international Toastmasters organization.
“I think we have a very professional club,” Hibben said. “It’s a very good club in that everyone is supportive of each other.”
In addition to growing as a public speaker, Hibben said she is fond of the opportunity to get to know people and hear their stories.
“You have the leadership aspect but also that entertainment value as well,” she said.Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.